Haydn: London Symphony & Harmoniemesse

Haydn: ‘London’ Symphony 99 & Harmoniemesse
Handel and Haydn Society, Harry Christophers
Coro 6176. 68’24

Haydn’s Symphony No. 99 in E major is one of his twelve ‘London’ symphonies. Although it was composed in Vienna in 1793, its first performance was in London in 1794 at the Hanover Square Rooms during Haydn’s second London visit. It is his first use of clarinets in a symphony. The woodwind plays a key role, as they do in the Harmoniemesse, the Mass in B-flat major. That name, given after Haydn’s death, refers not to any idea of harmony, but to the use of the Harmonie, the German name for a wind band. With similar instrumentation, these two pieces make for an obvious pairing on the recording from the Boston based Handel and Haydn Society. Continue reading