The supreme, voluptuary realist of French painting, Jean Ingres, exclaimed that Haydn was music’s alpha and omega: ‘Whoever studies music, let his daily bread be Haydn…the first who created everything, discovered everything, taught everything to the rest!’ While an intervening century or two of musicology might tell us that if Haydn was father to the symphony and string quartet, there were some interesting midwives among his contemporaries, Haydn’s sheer industry remains unequalled; but so too his creative facility and fertility in returning to the well time and time again, and never returning empty. In this first volume of Brilliant Classics’s survey of Haydn’s music, issued to mark the 200th anniversary of his death in 1809, are many of his most famous works: all 104 symphonies, his two oratorios of imperishable power and beauty, The Creation and The Seasons, as well as another with much no less striking music, The Return of Tobit. There are several of the operas he wrote for the court at Eszterhaza, where he was more or less a servant-prisoner for most of his adult life, and – a first on disc – a complete recording of the 126 trios written at the behest of the court’s prince for an obsolete string instrument, the baryton, in which the prince had himself attained a modest accomplishment. Most of the string quartets are here too, in recordings made especially for Brilliant by the Buchberger Quartet, and historically informed interpretations of the complete piano sonatas on instruments of Haydn’s day. This is a significant contribution to the anniversary of one of the great composers, with much new material, and at an unbeatable price.
Bonus CD-ROM contains song texts and a specially commissioned essay exploring Haydn’s music, genre by genre, by the renowned Haydn authority, Richard Wigmore New recordings of bayton fios and other chamber works made especially for this set and not previously released.