Comparison Recordings in the Michael
Haydn Symphony Series:
Vox Turnabout PVT 7124: #ís P.20, P.32,
Vox Box CDX 5020 #ís P.10, P.12, P.19,
P.28, P.30, P.32 P.43.
All these recordings
of symphonies by Joseph Haydnís younger
brother Michael were made in the 1980s,
but have been released a few at a time
on various labels. The market for music
by Michael Haydn is perceived to be
small, even though he is the man who
wrote "Mozartís 37th Symphony;"
Mozart borrowed the work (with permission),
wrote a few bars of introduction to
it and it was passed off as his own
for many years. Itís a fine work, but
now that itís known not to be by Mozart
it just isnít played any more. Itís
sort of like Bachís Cantata #53; that
used to be one of Bachís most popular
and frequently played works, but now
that we know itís really by Stölzel,
itís not played at all! What kind of
silliness is this? Doesnít anyone actually
listen to the music? Can someone make
sense of this to me?
Michael Haydnís works
sound generally like those of his brother
Franz Joseph, but are more daring rhythmically
and harmonically ó perhaps "quirky"
is the right word. Itís as though Joseph
Haydn got really drunk and had a dream
wherein he met Prokofiev and Liszt and
next morning tried to write down what
he had heard. These performances capture
all the energy, humour, and surprise
that is in the music and the recordings
have a sweet, natural, well-balanced
The last movement of
P.44 quotes a tune that Mozart twenty
years later gave to Papageno in the
Magic Flute. The first movement
of P.15 suggests a motif Joseph Haydn
used in the first movement of his 45th
The "P" numbers
refer to the catalogue compiled in 1907
by Lothar Perger. It was careless work,
and included many symphonies by other
composers, but much of that has been
straightened out by now, by Farbermann
in his preparations for these recordings.
There are now thought to be a total
of 41 authentic J. M. Haydn Symphonies
(instead of Pergerís total of 52). Farbermann
and the Bournemouth Sinfonietta seemed
committed to recording them all, but
disappointing disk sales have aborted
the project at about half way through.
The notes to this recording hint that
Regis have a second CDís worth to release
this coming year, IF the sales of this
disk warrant it.
Consider this disk
a blessing of great music. Buy it that
ye may be further blest.