By his employer Prince Esterházy Joseph Haydn was expected to provide music, and conduct the almost daily performances of operas and plays at the Prince's own opera house and marionette theatre. He must have been highly disciplined in order to be able to cope with such an enormous workload, but he also developed great skill at recycling. The three symphonies recorded here are results of this - all of them featuring music which was first heard as part of stage productions and later reused in purely instrumental works. Symphony No. 60 - the only one of the three known under its theatrical name, 'Il Distratto' ('The Distracted') - contains the incidental music to a play by the French author Jean-François Regnard. At least parts of the other two symphonies, No.12 and No.50, most probably originated in operatic works, namely Acide and Der Götterrat (the prologue to the marionette opera Philemon und Baucis). Neither of these operas has been preserved in a complete state, but reconstructions of them made by Manfred Huss have previously been released in performances by the Haydn Sinfonietta Wien conducted by Huss himself. Both of these, as well as the team's other previous Haydn recordings on BIS, have been highly acclaimed by the reviewers. Diapason accorded Acide (BIS-SACD-1812) top marks, commending the performance's 'blend of elegance and well-judged vivacity', while Philemon und Baucis (BIS-SACD-1813) was described on the website Classics Today as 'exceptionally moving stuff, full of Sturm und Drang, with Haydn taking pains to give his marionettes music of substantial humanity and warmth'. Manfred Huss and his band now return with an orchestral offering which nevertheless hint at the strong connection that existed between Haydn and the world of theatre and opera.
Extra material for download