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HAYDN, F.J.: Applausus (A. Spering)

Composer(s):Haydn, Franz Joseph
Period(s) Classical (1750-1830)
Genre Classical Music
Category Vocal Ensemble
Catalogue C5036
Label Capriccio
Quality   320kbps
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Review By James H. North ,Fanfare,September 2010

Because Haydn could not attend the premiere of his 1768 cantata Applausus, he wrote a detailed letter covering many details of how it should be performed. This unique document has served as instruction for all Haydn performances, and those of other 18th-century works. All well and good, but the letter has diverted attention from the work itself. Composed to celebrate a monk’s 70th birthday, it is a happy, upbeat piece despite its Latin text. In the words of H. C. Robbins Landon, “the music is fully up to date, with echoes of the composer’s symphonies and operas, though the widespread use of da capo structures checks the natural impetus of the music.”...The four Cardinal Virtues (Temperance, Prudence, Justice, Fortitude) sing of the joys of life at

My first exposure to Applausus was at Tanglewood in 1964, by the Boston Symphony under Erich Leinsdorf (of which there also seems to be a pirate recording); it was less than an hour long, but I didn’t know it well enough to decide how it got that way—missing arias or reduced da capos. There have been at least three commercial recordings, one of which (on Koch) I have not heard. A 1991 modern-instrument recording led by Patrick Fournillier on Opus 111 was consistent and reliable, but this period-instrument performance is its superior in energy and fire. Vocal soloists are satisfactory in both cases, the basses on these discs standing head and shoulders above all others. The gorgeous final chorus makes a greater impact with Spering’s five soloists, firmly anchored by those basses, than with Fournillier’s distantly recorded chorus...Capriccio supplies texts in Latin and German only



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