Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Haydn year

This year marks the 200th anniversary of Joseph Haydn's death (May 31, 1809). We shall see and hear how the commemoration compares with other recent musical anniversaries, notably the Mozart 250th-birthday bash of 2006.

I'll go out on a pretty sturdy limb and predict that string quartets and choral groups will make more of the Haydn year than other ensembles. A revival of a Haydn opera by any major American company would be a big surprise. In orchestra programming, this season's Richmond Symphony Haydn Festival is unique in this region, and even these programs are heavily garnished with works of Mozart, Beethoven and other composers.

I had a bit to say about the relative neglect of Haydn in reviewing the first concert of the symphony festival . . .

. . . and I expect to expand on those thoughts as the year progresses.

Meanwhile, The Guardian's Stephen Moss starts out his Haydn year with rather muted praise and a road trip to the composer's old haunts:

This blog, by the way, owes its name to Haydn, at least indirectly. "Letter V" is the nickname sometimes attached to his Symphony No. 88 in G major.