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Joseph Haydn Back in the Present

The music world will commemorate the 200th anniversary of Joseph Haydn’s death on 31 May. Many composers claim to have been influenced by Haydn. Even in modern music, his work has left lasting traces.

28 piano sonatas and 68 string quartets, 108 symphonies, concertos, lieder, canons, masses and oratorios like “The Seasons” and “The Creation,” not to mention his operas: Joseph Haydn life’s work is gigantic. Many contemporary composers relate directly to his production.

Alfred Schnittke, for example, with a twinkle in his eye, wrote Moz-Art à la Haydn for 2 violins, 2 small string orchestras, double bass and conductor, referring directly to Haydn’s “Farewell Symphony.” As in Haydn’s work, the musicians leave the stage at the end, one after the other – still playing – whilst the conductor directs a now invisible orchestra. The Metamorphoses on a Sound Field by Joseph Haydn by Peter Ruzicka (1990) refer to a twelve-part wind movement that Haydn inserted into the vocal version of the “Seven Last Words of the Redeemer.” And Edison Denisov wrote variations on the Haydn canon “Death Is a Long Sleep.”

All of these works will be broadcast on a programme dedicated to Haydn of the series “neue musik” on NDR Kultur on 27 May 2009, beginning at 9:00 PM.


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