Haydn, a genius?
Joseph Haydn was a man of immense wealth: he possessed creativity, grace, happiness, health, humor, good taste, a strong character, a warm heart, tranquility and vitality, originality, a sharp mind, independence, depth, clarity, knowledge, and experience. At least, that’s what Ferdinand Hiller wrote in 1877 when most of that generation’s commentators described Haydn as childish, simplistic, and hollow.
Everyone is free to make up their own minds during Anima Eterna’s live concert on 23 June 2021, in the Concertgebouw in Bruges. Two examples of Haydn’s opulent oeuvre will be performed—the Symphony No. 103 and the Piano Concerto in D major. The Symphony was written in the rather solemn key of E flat major, but it surprises listeners again and again with its “con spirito” and “piu testo Allegretto.” Haydn always managed to combine seriousness with openness and positivism. This Symphony is nicknamed “The Drumroll.” But is that serious or playful?
Lyricism and virtuosity are combined in the popular Piano Concerto in D major. The Flemish Lucas Blondeel, professor in Berlin, will be the soloist, playing a striking facsimile of an Anton Walter fortepiano made by Christopher Clarke. Walter was the Imperial Royal Instrument Maker and tuner for Prince Esterhazy, who was Haydn’s boss in a manner of speaking, so this piano is right at home. The piece is truly a gem among piano concertos, with its sparkling and shimmering first movement, a lovely, lyrical second movement, and an effervescent finale, the Rondo all’Ungarese.
Jos van Immerseel
Translated by E. J. Stevens
This project was made possible with funding support from Tax Shelter by Government of Flanders.