Thomas Hengelbrock is conducting Haydn’s stormy Symphony No. 52. The work is preceded by an exciting combination of musico-dramatic works from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: music from Purcell’s semi-opera King Arthur and a pastiche of excerpts from operas by Handel.
Father of the Classical style, Joseph Haydn wrote no fewer than 104 symphonies. Right at the halfway mark is his Symphony No. 52. The symphony comes straight to the point with an ominous first theme. With its stormy drama, Haydn’s Symphony No. 52 foreshadows Romanticism. The work is called ‘the grandfather of Beethoven’s Fifth’ – and for good reason.
Thomas Hengelbrock is known for his exciting concert programmes based on historical sources. And this one is no exception. The German conductor precedes Haydn’s Symphony No. 52 with hybrid musico-dramatic works by two seventeenth-century masters, both of whom made a big impression on Haydn in London. The programme features music from Purcell’s King Arthur, his most popular semi-opera (half play, half opera). Hengelbrock has compiled a pastiche consisting of various excerpts from Handel’s operas, very much in keeping with the practice employed in Handel’s day.