Thursday, February 27, 2020

The Papa's Piano

Franz Joseph Haydn, the great Austrian Classical Era composer, is known as Papa Haydn because he is considered the father of the classical symphony.  Haydn composed 104 classical symphonies.  A characteristic of a Haydn symphony is its bright, happy, playful nature. In fact, so many times did Haydn put in his symphony a surprising moment [for example a surprising forzando in the middle of a soft passage] that the audience looked forward to them in anticipation.  In fact, that anticipation at one of the premiers of a Haydn symphony, conducted by the maestro himself, led to his Miracle Symphony [which legend says literally saved lives].  Audiences of the time loved their Papa Haydn because of the good feeling when listening to a Haydn symphony. 

Franz Joseph Haydn [1732 - 1809]

It wasn't just symphonies that Haydn wrote.  Papa Haydn wrote many great works for the piano.  The best of those concerti [and the most popular] is his D Major Concerto.  This concerto brings back memories for me as the first time I heard it was in a piano concerto competition when my daughter was just beginning her classical piano lessons with a great Russian American teacher, Mrs Kurinets.  One of her students was performing this concerto-it happened to be one of the girls of the famous 5 Browns [2 boys and 3 girls], and if memory serves me correct she was only twelve when performing the first movement of the Haydn D Major concerto. She performed it flawlessly and she won first place in her division.  I still remember how my daughter's piano lessons came after the youngest of the Brown girls' lesson. 

This D Major concerto is just like a typical Haydn symphony with its light, playful nature. I really love this piano concerto. The first movement, Vivace, has a very happy, bright quality.  The second movement, Poco Adagio, which begins at the 8:45 mark, is a pleasant slow movement that switches to the A Major key. The second movement is unusual as it also contains a cadenza [15:05-16:51].  The third movement, Rondo all'Ungarese-Allegro assai, returns to the home key of D Major and this is a very fun "Haydn" playful movement.  It begins at the 17:43 mark.

Yes, while Papa Haydn is known for his many symphonies, I think you will enjoy this Papa's piano.

Please turn up the volume and enjoy "the Papa's" piano concerto in D Major.

F. J.Haydn: Piano Concerto in D Major:

As a Tales bonus, here is Haydn's beautiful Emperor's hymn from his String Quartet in C-Major; and Haydn's Piano Trio in G Major with it's lively "Gypsy" rondo movement 3 beginning at the 11:49 mark of the last video.

F.J. Haydn: String Quartet in C Major, Movement 2, Emperor:

F.J Haydn: Piano Trio in G Major, "Gypsy":


Anonymous said...

Great one big uncle!

Big Mike said...

Thanks big nephew! :-) That makes it worth doing to hear that!

Francine said...

Really enjoyed that!

Big Mike said...

Thanks Francine!