Thursday, October 22, 2009

Death and Life Remembered

I have been cleaning up the instrumental score section of the Music division and stumbled upon a set of Haydn String Quartets in excellent condition. Franz Joseph Haydn was a master and innovator of our classical forms, and especially solidified the string quartet as we know it today. This set is an Edition Peters and contains 30 String Quartets in 4 volumes (M785.74 H415).

This year the world is celebrating the 200th year since Haydn's death in 1809. This Viennese master is perhaps most famous for his "Surprise Symphony" (Symphony No. 94) in which he composed a musical joke. It is believed he intended to wake up the audience, half way through his symphony, with a strikingly loud chord in the middle of a quiet andante section. Haydn claimed he was merely trying to be original and gain more popularity. Either way, the symphony was a hit when it was first premiered in 1792, and it continues to be a favorite today. Hear Conductor George Szell's interpretation of Haydn's Symphonies No. 92, 94, and 96 with the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra (CD 784.2184 H415 No. 92).

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