In lieu of the usual Tuesday bash of new releases (I didn’t have time … they were mostly re-releases anyway), I’ve restored and refurbished 10 overlooked classical classics on disc. These are great pieces that, for various reasons, we almost never hear in the concert hall, but are well represented on record. I’ve selected the best recordings of each.
Click here to read and see 10 overlooked classics on disc (and MP3)
Interesting recommendations! Hadn’t heard Britten’s Violin Concerto in a long time but had a chance to hear this particular recording by Vengerov with Rostropovich just a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed it very much. It is a wonderful piece and this is an outstanding performance.
Yes, it blew me away when I heard it.
Almost never heard in the concert hall? No kidding. The LA Phil performed Brahm’s Academic Festival Overture three times last year, you’d think they could sneak some Haydn in once in a while.
During Esa-Pekka Salonen’s tenure as the Music Director, LA Phil played Haydn’s Symphonies quite regularly. The current MD is much more of a Mozartean person than a Haydnophile and so there is more Mozart and less Haydn being performed. That’s normal – no one can do everything all the time. Playing lots of Haydn AND Mozart would not leave any room for the following two centuries of great music.
In general, though, I think Haydn is pretty scandalously ignored. Can’t remember the last time I heard one of the “London” symphonies in concert.
I still have fond memories of EPS conducting the Haydn 6th, 7th, and 8th Symphonies (i.e. “Le matin,” “Le midi,” and “Le soir”) something like 10 years ago. I especially remember Chris Hanulik doing some pretty awesome solo bass work.
“In general … Haydn is…scandalously ignored.”
This is a very strong statement, Tim, and it begs the following question:
Assuming you know exactly how much of Haydn’s music IS being performed “in general” (whatever that means), how do you know exactly how much of it SHOULD be performed and what is that magic number?
If there is a sacred book somewhere that says exactly how much music of each composer is supposed to be performed each season by each performing organization, just imagine how much easier it would be for orchestras to plan their programming if they could have access to such an incomparable source of wisdom!
MarK, they do have access to such an incomparable source of wisdom … me.
But unfortunately, in these hard economic times, they are probably unable to afford your services and therefore will continue to exist in the darkness of ignorance for a long while.
Heh, I’m willing to negotiate.
To answer your question a little more seriously … I think Haydn should be performed in some sort of proportion to Mozart. Is he, say, one third the genius of Mozart? Then, for every three Mozart symphonies you perform, you should perform one Haydn symphony. I’m not saying I know the exact ratio (no one does), but, really, the London symphonies are brilliant. We should hear them more often.
Thank you, Tim, for getting serious – this is definitely helpful. Now all Gary has to do is to calculate the total number of Haydns and Mozarts performed by the LA Phil during the 92 years of the orchestra’s existence and see if the desired ratio is being achieved. Meanwhile, those of us who bemoan the perceived neglect of Haydn should take into consideration the fact that by their very nature large symphonic orchestras playing in large halls can’t and shouldn’t devote too much time to music written before 1800. It is not the main core of their repertoire, while there are many smaller ensembles residing in smaller venues for whom eighteenth-century music is in fact their specialty. Therefore, for the big guys, more Mozart during certain seasons usually means less Haydn. And an orchestra that just last week presented a full week of Handel (with a bit of Rameau icing on Handel cake) has now therefore that much less room left in its schedule for pre-1800 music. In other words, if the prescribed Haydn-Mozart ratio is the goal, then the objection may very well be not “too little Haydn” but “too much Mozart”. But i haven’t seen or heard anyone making that accusation yet.
I’d settle for less Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky in trade for more Haydn.
In that case, you would have to fight it out against a substantial majority of concertgoers.
On those rare occasions when i feel in a similar fashion, i remind myself that plenty of smaller ensembles – both “modern” and “period” – can and do perform pre-1800 music quite successfully.
More often though, when i wish for fewer easy crowd-pleasers like Tchaik and Rach, i prefer to replace them with more Prokofiev, Bartok, Hindemith, Britten, Lutoslawski, Berg – in other words, looking slightly forward rather than considerably backward.
I’d say the ratio of three Academic Festival Overtures to zero Haydn is a bad ratio.
“i prefer to replace them with more Prokofiev, Bartok, Hindemith, Britten, Lutoslawski, Berg ”
Hard to argue with that. No Hindemith for the LA Phil this year. As MarK points out, there’s just not enough time for everything.
“I’d say the ratio of three Academic Festival Overtures to zero Haydn is a bad ratio.” -Gary
“i prefer to replace them with more Prokofiev, Bartok, Hindemith, Britten, Lutoslawski, Berg ” – MarK
Here, here!! Add Stravinsky to the mix. Much more Stravinsky. My biggest complaint since GD has taken over for E-PS has been the lack of Igor’s music when the Music Director is in town.
One of you guys, please fix that. Thanks in advance.
Yeah, more Stravinsky. He’s ours, after all.
Definitely. If memory serves, he lived in LA longer than anywhere else in his life.
Love the story that E-PS was going to buy Stravinsky’s house until he saw the indents in the carpet from the composer’s piano were still visible, which spooked him out of the idea.
“Love the story that E-PS was going to buy Stravinsky’s house until he saw the indents in the carpet from the composer’s piano were still visible, which spooked him out of the idea.”
That should have been a plus.
He told me that he was “intimidated” by the evidence of Stravinsky’s presence, not just spooked. So, his decision not to buy the house makes sense, in a way.
Yes, Tim, absolutely – the way EPS liked to tell this story, his decision not to buy that house made perfect sense. My understanding of it always was that Esa-Pekka felt that the great composer’s presence in every room would simply be too much for him to live with, every hour of every day when he was planning to be in LA.
By the way, the only reason i did not include Stravinsky among my partial little “wish list” of examples is that for two decades until 2009 the LA Phil played so much of his music that a couple of dis-Igor-ed years are a natural result of such over-saturation.
You will never find anywhere anything resembling a perfect balance of music when looking at just one season. One must always take into consideration several years of programming as one big unit.