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Classical Notes

Haydn's Protest Music

Posted at 1:26 AM on May 19, 2010 by Ward Jacobson
Filed under: Programs

Haydn mixing it up with the likes of Bob Dylan, Peter Paul & Mary, and Springsteen? Well, yeah - when you consider his own brand of protest music, the Symphony No. 45, known as the "Farewell" Symphony.

Haydn composed #45 with the intent to get his musicians at Esterhaza some much-deserved time-off to be with their wives. The "protest" would come in the symphony's finale, where the players would blow out their candles and leave, one at a time, until there were just two violinists left playing at the very end, Haydn and his first chair, Luigi Tomasini.

Tonight's Euro Classic (12:05am, Thursday) features the Barcelona Symphony, the National Orchestra of Catalonia, in a performance recorded live last October at L'Auditori in Barcelona.

The 2009-10 concert season began (as it always does) with the Mozart Festival. The Haydn Symphony was intened to bid farewell to Christian Zacharias as the Director of the Festival. Mr. Zacharias leads the orchestra in tonight's performance. Hope you can stay up late with Classical MPR.