Browsing Category



A Soul Soother

An email from a loyal listener (don’t laugh Ian!) reads:

Here’s a good soother for the soul – Haydn Piano Concerto #9 in G major second movement.

BUT THEN … a week later! Ian writes and says, Actually, the one I meant was No. 4, not 9 – my mistake. I like all of them, but it is the No. 4 that’s my favorite slow movement.

So now we have Haydn’s piano concerto #4 in G major second movement.



In Praise of Haydn

This is from a review of Haydn’s piano trios on Amazon.

In a letter Brahms says something to the effect `Nobody seems to understand Haydn nowadays. For years he gave us all our music’. Whatever precisely Brahms meant, it seems to me that the complete transformation in the idiom of music that made the music of Mozart and everyone since so astoundingly different from the music of Bach was Haydn’s achievement, and his alone.

What Brahms wrote – … ‘he gave us all our music’ – seems to imply what a  huge trans-formative influence he had on the great Classical composers who followed.

Here’s a piece I’ve just been listening to. It floats my boat! Hope it does yours too.

Horn Concerto #1 / second movement

Beethoven Devienne Haydn Hummel Its About Time LONG PLAYING SELECTIONS Mozart Schumann, Clara Women!

It’s About Time

About time that I posted some full compositions. You may have noticed that I tend to only present one movement from a Concerto or Symphony or Sonata; rather than all the movements. Invariably it’s the second movement –  due to my preference for slow, melodic, thoughtful, melancholic!, peaceful etc. I suppose in a way it’s not really fair to the composer not to present his/her entire statement.

Recently a person in my town asked if I ever posted entire compositions. He didn’t ask the question in a judgmental fashion, just politely inquired.  It has “niggled” at me ever since. So… Istvan … here’s a post for you!

(* I’ll place this posting in the Long Playing sections)

Francois Devienne (1759 – 1803) was known as “The French Mozart”

Francois Devienne – Bassoon sonata I in C major, Op. 24


Beethoven – Piano Sonata no. 23 Appassionata


Johann Nepomuk Hummel: One of the greatest of the ‘ignored and forgotten’ composers!

Hummel – Sextett Fur Blaser In F Major


Haydn – Symphony No. 104 In D Major (”London”)


Mozart – Piano Sonata No- 13


Clara Schumann, Robert’s wife – who decided late in life she just didn’t have what it takes to be a composer!

Hmmm … I beg to differ!

Clara Schumann Drei Romanzen, Op 22

Haydn Piano

Haydn: A weird and wonderful movement from a piano trio

Haydn is indeed one of, if not the greatest composers of Piano trios and quartets. I’ve started a quest to collect all of the Trios (45) This second movement of the Piano Trio In E Major H15-28 really captured my attention.

It’s hard to believe this is music from the 1700’s. I can see a super hip basement nightclub in Tokyo or L.A. where 3 talented Jazz musicians are jamming! Haydn was so willing to play around, get experimental and bold. Go places no one had gone before.

Piano Trio In E Major H15-28 – 2 Allegretto


Here is more along the same lines. A snippet from an earlier posting titled: “Heeeer’s Haydn”  I just marvel over his willingness to get ‘edgy’ – take chances. I think more so than Mozart or Beethoven. Perhaps it was because he was a well adjusted, happy man! Comfortable in his own skin, unlike so many geniuses!

From the Posting ‘Heeeer’s Haydn’

This first piece is so cool! So Zen. BUT Not for everyone!

The silences are as important as the music … AND you have to wonder: “What’s gonna’ happen next?! Keep in mind this is the 18th century! – not a modern L.A. or Paris jazz pianist.

UPDATE 18 months later: I only heard it now. This is one of those pieces where Glenn Gould would hum along with his piano playing. You can barely hear him in the background (depending on how good your sound system is) I think most recording companies eventually removed the humming!

From the last 6 Sonatas: Hoboken XVI – no. 48 Andante con espressione



Haydn – the string quartet Master?

Someone reviewing a string quartet CD on Amazon wrote: The opus 20 string quarters are utterly sublime; there is a balance, a humanity, a humour, a joie de vivre and utter contentedness of being. All this and more. Haydn was a master of the string quartet and, in my view, he surpasses Mozart and Beethoven. I know this will be heresy for some, but Haydn is a man who is comfortable in his skin and it transmits to the music. Mozarts are a little too studied and serious at times whilst Beethoven appears uncomfortable in his skin and it shows in his great late string quarters….

String Quartet No. 28 in E flat major, Op. 20, No. 1, Hob.III:31 (Sun Quartets)

Haydn Quartet 28 / Affetuoso e sostenuto

Beethoven Haydn Piano

Beethoven and Haydn

Beethoven IS  “The Greatest.” (IMHO)

Did Beethoven ‘inherit'(or use and transform to a higher level): Compositions from Haydn?

Did Beethoven rely on – or come back to Haydn for inspiration? … Haydn’s  humor, spontaneity and Joie de vivre? … and the ability to transform pure ‘sweetness’ into a challenging/deeper probing? This a question for “Scholars”? Let’s just listen!

Well … Beethoven dedicated this piece to Haydn. (*played by Paul Lewis) You be the Judge. How much does Ludwig owe Haydn?!

Beethoven Sonata No. 2 in A major Op. 2 No. 2 III. Scherzo. Allegretto


How about watching a new ‘hot shot’ play the same piece? Rafal Blechacz.

Here’s one comment when Rafal Blechacz won all five first prizes! … at the 15th International Frederick Chopin Piano CompetitionWarsaw According to ABC News, one of the judges, Professor Piotr Paleczny, said that Blechacz “so outclassed the remaining finalists that no second prize could actually be awarded.”

Another judge, the distinguished Irish pianist John O’Conor, said “He is one of the greatest artists I have had a chance to hear in my entire life,” according to PBS. Blechacz was the first Pole to win the prize (given every five years) since 1975, when Krystian Zimerman[1][2][3][4][5] won.

What a sweet, honest and straightforward man he appears to be!

Haydn Hummel LONG PLAYING SELECTIONS Torelli Trumpet


In the post “Trumpet Synaesthesia” I made a half joking attempt to sum up the sound of the trumpet. In this post I’ll admit to being stumped … as to how one could describe the Trumpet’s Beauty in words. (* only an idiot tries to describe music with words!) Anyway here’s the beauty of the trumpet by a few Masters. (the player is darn good too! – Rolf Smedvig)



Haydn: Trumpet Concerto in E-flat major: I.

Haydn: Trumpet Concerto in E-flat major: II.

Haydn: Trumpet Concerto in E-flat major: III. Finale

Hummel: Trumpet Concerto in E-flat major: I.

Hummel: Trumpet Concerto in E-flat major: II.

Hummel: Trumpet Concerto in E-flat major: III. Rondo

Torelli: Trumpet Concerto in D major: I. Allegro

Torelli: Trumpet Concerto in D major: II. Adagio

Torelli: Trumpet Concerto in D major: III. Allegro

Haydn Heeeer's Haydn! LONG PLAYING SELECTIONS Piano

Haydn’s Long Play

These second movements – (the “slow” movements) – in Haydn’s Piano Concertos; are thoughtful, introspective, gentle and seductive! – Just my cuppa tea!  Some of Mozart’s piano concertos are very close in structure and feeling –  almost like ‘twin compositions.’ However, Mozart is usually regarded as the ‘greater’ – for his depth and complexity.

(*** See the Post: “Good Buddies – Mozart and Haydn”***)

Hmmm … I wonder. Sometimes Haydn’s simplicity and directness seem easier on the ears and just as beatific.

This is a LONG long playing selection. First you’ll hear the piano Concerto in F, Hob. XVIII/F2 … followed by the second movements of the following Piano Concertos: 3,4,5,9 and 11

Haydn long play

Good Buddies - Mozart and Haydn Haydn Mozart Piano

Good Buddies – Mozart and Haydn

My most recent “obsession” has been with Haydn (*see the Post, “Heeer’s Haydn) – and in particular his piano concertos – which I wasn’t familiar with when I did the Heeeer’s Haydn post.

In the course of listening and researching I found out about the close relationship between Mozart and Haydn. They seemed to have formed a “mutual admiration society”! There are many quotes where they praised each others work and expressed a high personal regard for each other. Good buddies! (Haydn was crushed by the news of Mozart’s early death)

Regarding their piano concertos, there seems to be a concensus that Mozart went further, deeper and that his were the more accomplished. The elements I love in both of their piano concertos, you could describe as the ‘sublime’ / ‘spiritual’ / ‘lyrical’ or  contemplative. Just love that kind of piano. So here is one movement each from one of their Piano Concertos that express these qualities. Which one do you like most?!

Haydn P.C. #3 in F major. HOB XVIII. Second movement / Largo Cantibile

Haydn piano concerto in F major


Mozart’s P.C. #21 in C major KV 467 / Andante

Sorry! I think I’ve put Haydn at an immediate disadvantage! This piece by Mozart is SO beloved and SO well known, because of the film Elvira Madigan. I didn’t “rig” this in Mozart’s advantage on purpose!


Haydn Heeeer's Haydn!

Heeeeer’s Haydn!

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732 – 1809)

It took me long enough to get around to him! I just had no idea how inovative, spontanous and delightful his music is. I’d only heard a handful of pieces and they brought to mind folks in powdered wigs dancing around stiffly! How wrong I was. Here are a few comments about him and his music:

By one estimate, Haydn produced some 340 hours of music, more than Bach or Handel, Mozart or Beethoven. Few of them lack some unexpected detail or clever solution to a formal problem. …. – In many ways Franz Joseph Haydn, the quintessential composer of the period of eighteenth century Enlightenment, is the father of modern music.

Haydn treated composing more as an exalted craft in which he delighted in endlessly experimenting. A close look at his music reveals many daring gambits of harmony and form. His endless humor and wit are palpable as is the warmth of his humanity. As Haydn once wrote, “Since God has given me a cheerful heart, He will forgive me for serving him cheerfully.”

***I also found a reference to his being the ‘least neurotic’ of the Great composers! ***

Inventive, playful and humorous, not neurotic!, willing to experiment … and a Master composer. What else could you want?!

This first piece is so cool! So Zen. BUT Not for everyone!

The silences are as important as the music … AND you have to wonder: “What’s gonna’ happen next?! Keep in mind this is the 18th century! – not a modern L.A. or Paris jazz pianist! UPDATE 18 months later: I only just heard it now. This is one of those pieces where Glenn Gould would hum along with his piano playing! You can just hear him in the background. I think most recording companies removed the humming!

From the last 6 Sonatas: Hoboken XVI – no. 48 Andante con espressione



One of his famous Symphonies: “The London” / Finale

Symphony-no104-London op180 finale spiritoso


Symphony #3 in G major / second movement Just “kick back”!

Symphony 3 g-major 2nd movement


Haydn is often called the father of the symphony: in fact Haydn is more literally the father of the string quartet … Re: The following “Sun Quartets” – The music is broader and richer than in Haydn’s earlier, simpler quartets, with more interesting interplay (interesting for both listeners and performers) among the instruments.



String Quartet 28 third movement affetuoso-e-sostenuto




And finally – here is a fascinating look into the man himself.