Haydn’s craftsmanship, melodic mastery, and sharp wit inspired generations of composers after him, including Mozart and Beethoven. Haydn’s “Farewell” Symphony was the composer’s way of telling his boss, Prince Nikolaus Esterházy, that the court musicians wanted to return to their families after an unexpectedly long period of employment from which they were not permitted leave—after three bustling movements, it winds down to silence to deliver the message. Haydn’s “children” have their say as well: Beethoven’s concerto bubbles over with wit and high spirits, while Mozart’s melodically splendid concert aria weaves voice and obbligato violin into a pseudo operatic duet.
Orchestra of St. Luke's Bernard Labadie, Principal Conductor Ying Fang, Soprano Paul Lewis, Piano
“Papa” Haydn was stylistic father to his immediate successors and 20th-century masters who adopted a neo-classical style. His inventive “Drumroll” Symphony is one of his finest works and might have inspired Prokofiev’s effervescent “Classical” Symphony. In this delightful work, he cleverly emulates Classical-era scoring and tone, but remains firmly in the 20th century. Ravel’s dazzling concerto also looks back to the Classical era, especially in its tender central movement, but this reverie is framed by bubbly high spirits, flashes of jazz, and sizzling virtuosity.
Orchestra of St. Luke's Pablo Heras-Casado, Conductor Laureate Hélène Grimaud, Piano