Haydn’s “Farewell” Symphony : March 26, 2012
On March 31, we’ll celebrate the 280th birthday of Joseph Haydn (1732-1809), among the most important composers of the Classical era, and called “Papa” Haydn by virtue of his key role in introducing the working principles of “sonata form” and the conventions of such genres as the symphony, the sonata, and the string quartet. In honor of this anniversary, we are pleased to present a charming and unusual video of among Haydn’s most famous movements: the Finale of his Symphony No.45 in F#-. This symphony is subtitled “Farewell”, by virtue of the famous story whereby Haydn slyly convinced his patron, Prince Nicolas Esterházy, to end his extended summer stay at the remote summer palace Esterháza, in Fertöd (modern day Hungary) – thereby keeping the musicians away from their families: for the Finale, Haydn wrote in such a manner that toward the end, the musicians would one-by-one stop playing, snuff out their candles, and walk off stage, leaving only Haydn and his concertmaster playing at the work’s conclusion. Apparently, Esterházy got the hint, and ordered his retinue to return to Vienna the next day! In this video, we see a performance not unlike the original – taking place in same beautiful and ornate hall at Esterháza, where the musicians indeed get up and walk away one-by-one. Here Adam Fischer leads the Haydnphilarmonie. Enjoy, and Happy Birthday, Papa Haydn!
Haydn’s “Farewell Symphony” at the Esterháza Palace