“Just like an iceberg—
Only 5 percent is known;
The rest is unknown.”
This is a paraphrase of a comment made by Sir Simon Rattle regarding the work of Haydn during a Berlin Philharmonic concert presenting his montage of “the wittiest, most thoughtful and most eccentric moments in Haydn’s gigantic oeuvre.”1
It was fascinating, with the notable exception of the “slow movement which repeatedly and unexpectedly breaks off,” which in 21st century manner I momentarily attributed to my Bluetooth connection breaking up. Oops.
Excerpts were drawn from Symphonies No. 45, 64, and 90, The Creation, The Seven Last Words, and other works. The links will take you to full performances. If you are a subscriber to the Berlin Philharmonic digital concert hall, you can see the montage. Otherwise, sadly, it is unavailable, but a description may be found in the link.
So how can you get to know more of Haydn’s work?
Got 99 cents?
You can go to Amazon and download the Big Haydn Symphonies Box, over nine hours of music for 99 cents. You can also get the Big Haydn Box, over 14 hours of music for—you guessed it—99 cents. That’s a lot of iceberg for two bucks.
Or, you can go to the delightfully detailed blog Haydn Seek, where you can find a wealth of historical details and recommendations of fine recordings of Haydn’s works.
Or you can go to the extensive YouTube channel PapaHaydn and binge watch symphonies, string quartets, oratorios and more.
Kids can go to the Classics for Kids page on Haydn (adults will enjoy it too).
Check out Classical-music.com’s Haydn page.
I can’t leave today without mentioning Symphony No 94, the “Surprise” symphony (full symphony here). It’s one of Haydn’s better known works, but for those who don’t know…well, you’ll see. Here’s the famous second movement.
I think I have my day’s listening planned out. How about you?
Image attribution: Portrait of Joseph Haydn by Thomas Hardy [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AJoseph_Haydn.jpg