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M. Haydn: Symphonies No 21, 30, 31, 32 / Goritzki, Et Al

Haydn / Goritski / Deutsche Kammerakademie
Release Date: 09/17/1996 
Label:  Cpo   Catalog #: 999179   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Michael Haydn
Performer:  Christian WetzelJulia Becker
Conductor:  Johannes Goritzki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  German Chamber Academy Neuss
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 58 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

M. HAYDN Symphonies: No. 21 in D; No. 30 in D; No. 31 in F; No. 32 in D Johannes Goritzki, cond; German Ch Acad Neuss CPO 999 179-2 (57:47)

M. HAYDN Symphonies: No. 34 in E?; No. 35 in G; No. 36 in B?; No. 37 in D; No. 38 in F; No. 39 in C Johannes Goritzki,cond; German Ch Acad Neuss Read more href="album.jsp?album_id=24271">CPO 999 379-2 (54: 02)

M. HAYDN Symphonies: No. 1C in E?; No. 22 in D; No. 23 in F; No. 33 in D Johannes Goritzki,cond; German Ch Acad Neuss CPO 999 380-2 (68:23)

A journey through the development of the symphony in 18th-century Germany and Austria would not be complete without a look at the symphonies of Johann Michael Haydn (1737–1806). Although his contributions to the genre were overshadowed by those of his older brother and Mozart, the symphonies penned by the younger of the Haydn brothers are not without their own merit.

In Fanfare 35:1 I discussed cpo 999 591-2 and 777 137-2, the eight discs holding 28 of the 40-plus extant symphonies of Haydn the Younger. I also noted, “These two collections offer us the majority of Michael Haydn’s symphonic output. Symphonies No. 20–23, 30–32, and 35–39 were released earlier by cpo, but I did not have access to them for this review. I hope to include them at a later date, and I have requested copies of the aforementioned symphonies from cpo’s American distributor.” Well, that later date has arrived, as have the overlooked discs; they hit my doorstep courtesy of Naxos and cpo during the Christmas holidays, so I think the time is right to put this thing to bed.

First of all, there doesn’t appear to be a Symphony No. 13 or a Symphony No. 20. Perhaps they are among the two dozen or so symphonies listed in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians that had been attributed to Haydn and are now believed to have been composed by Wagenseil, Va?hal, or Pokorny, or maybe they are simply lost.

As far as the lion’s share of the symphonies recorded on these three discs is concerned, they follow the plan of the Italian opera overture, a three-movement structure in the sequence of fast-slow-fast, while the others are laid out in four movements with the slow movement and the minuet occasionally being reversed. Most last a quarter hour (give or take a couple of minutes), but some—like No. 23—are more substantial. What I term the “default” orchestra (pairs of oboes and horns with a bassoon to strengthen the bass line) is omnipresent, but there are also symphonies that add a flute, or trumpets and drums. Still others supplement the band with pairs of English horns or even recorders!

The symphonies of Michael Haydn are decidedly below those of his older brother and those of Mozart in the food chain, but like those of Krommer and Va?hal, Michael Haydn’s symphonies are consistently colorful and sprightly, and more often than not the listener is served a generous portion of rock-solid musicianship and adroit compositional technique. The considerable skills that Michael Haydn brings to the table are matched here by the musicians of the German Chamber Academy and conductor Johannes Goritzki. The orchestra plays with enthusiasm and razor-sharp precision, with tempos that are carefully chosen, allowing the younger Haydn’s music to unfold naturally like a flower blossoming on a spring day.

While familiar in style, this music is occasionally memorable, frequently imaginative, and always pleasing. Join me in welcoming the newest inductees to our Classical Hall of Fame!

FANFARE: Michael Carter
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Works on This Recording

Symphony in D major, MH 272 (P 42) by Michael Haydn
Performer:  Christian Wetzel ()
Conductor:  Johannes Goritzki
Orchestra/Ensemble:  German Chamber Academy Neuss
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1772 
Venue:  Zeughaus Neuss 
Length: 17 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Symphony in D major, MH 399 (P 21) by Michael Haydn
Performer:  Christian Wetzel ()
Conductor:  Johannes Goritzki
Period: Classical 
Written: 03/10/1785 
Venue:  Zeughaus Neuss 
Length: 14 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Symphony in F major, MH 405 (P 22) by Michael Haydn
Performer:  Christian Wetzel (), Julia Becker (Violin)
Conductor:  Johannes Goritzki
Period: Classical 
Written: 05/30/1785 
Venue:  Zeughaus Neuss 
Length: 17 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Symphony in D major, MH 420 (P 23) by Michael Haydn
Performer:  Christian Wetzel ()
Conductor:  Johannes Goritzki
Period: Classical 
Written: 05/30/1786 
Venue:  Zeughaus Neuss 
Length: 8 Minutes 14 Secs. 

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