Cork 2020s Haydn Symphonies Series

Cork 2020s Haydn Symphonies Series

Cork 2020s Haydn Symphonies Series


Curtis Auditorium

CIT Cork School of Music


Sun 8 March 2020 - 3:30 pm


€10 (All concessions: €5)

The ascent of music’s Everest continues in Cork! The third of this ten-year, fifty-concert series provides you with the opportunity to hear Symphony No. 49 (“La Passione”) – a dark-hued, sombre work in the minor mode – and the second of three symphonies he wrote for London in 1782: No. 77 in B flat. The orchestra is led by Liz Charleson and conducted by Geoff Spratt.


Haydn Symphony No. 49 in F minor, “La Passione”
Haydn Symphony No. 77 in B flat major

Cork2020sHaydnSymphoniesSeries will present all of Haydn’s 106 symphonies (+ the Sinfonia concertante) performed in 50 concerts (2020-2029). To download the complete concert schedule for this series, please click here.

Symphony No. 49 in F major, “La passione” (1768)

The main genres feeding into the Austrian symphony in its formative years included the Italian operatic overture (a tripartite work consisting of a fast opening movement, a lyrical slow central movement and concluding with another fast movement), the Parthie [partita] (a five-movement structure two minuets either side of a central slow movement), and the sinfonia da chiesa [church symphony]. The sinfonia da chiesa was slightly different in that it opened with a whole slow movement and usually proceeded with an Allegro, a minuet and a concluding fast movement. It is a form to which Haydn would turn on a number of occasions, including Symphonies Nos. 5, 11, 18, 21 & 22, and No. 49, “La Passione” in which Haydn brings his work in this style to its apotheosis. The key of F minor is dark, and the major key is permitted to cast a brief ray of sunlight only in the trio.

Haydn composed nine symphonies (Nos. 41-49) within five years (1768-72) of each other and, despite its number in Haydn’s Entwurf-Katalog, this one [No. 49] was the first to be composed. When you hear No. 44 in E minor (March 2029) and No. 45 in F sharp minor (“Farewell”) in the last concert (October 2029), you will appreciate both the significance of the minor mode and the qualities of intensity and nervous energy – at times all but overwhelming – that this work presages.

Symphony No. 77 in B flat major (1782)

After Haydn completed Symphony No. 75 (between 1779-81), the next six were conceived in two groups of three: Nos. 76–78 and Nos. 79–81. Nos. 76–78 appear to have been composed for a proposed journey to London in 1782 or 1783. Partly at the suggestion of Charles Burney, Sir John Galliani of the Italian Opera Company in London contacted Haydn and persuaded him to compose the three symphonies and bring them to London. The symphonies were duly written, but the journey never materialized. Not wishing to waste the symphonies, however, Haydn soon offered them to Boyer, a French publisher. He wrote to Boyer in July 1783: ‘Last year I composed three beautiful, elegant and by no means over-lengthy symphonies, scored for two violins, viola, basso, two horns, two oboes, two flutes and one [actually two] bassoon[s]. But they are all very easy, and without too much concertante’. He went on to inquire about the best terms for the manuscripts, ‘for I am confident that these three pieces will enjoy a tremendous sale’. The three symphonies are a consolidation of Haydn’s combination of popular and academic styles. In No. 77 for example, Haydn deemed a sonata-structure finale too weighty, and instead combined sonata with a rondo form, a recent invention notably used by Mozart in his Quintet for Piano and Winds, KV 452. The slow movement of this symphony is the sort of hymn-like tune to which Haydn would return in later symphonies, notably No. 88 half a decade later.