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Tuesday, October 12, 2004
  Symphony No. 56 in C Major, Hob. I:56, Allegro di molto (first movement)
Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music, CD 7 Tracks 47-53

As a teenager I hated Haydn. Still, it is sometimes too easy for me to slip into a derisive mode when I see his name. For instance, my first reaction to seeing him listed in the liner notes of these recordings was to wonder why he got such a large amount of time. The second volume of my NAWM recordings, classic to modern, has a total of 354 minuets and 23 seconds of music. A little over 25 of those minuets are filled up by Mr. Haydn. This seems to suggest that Mr. Haydn is the author of approximately 7% of music written since 1750. Or that he is credited for providing us with 7% of significant music since the start of the classical period. And why is the style he wrote called classical when something as disparate as Berg's Lulu only gets played, if ever, on the classical music radio station? And what were most people, people like little Franz's parents who could never have had smokes with the Esterházy's, what were they listening to? What were they singing? Whose to say that music was not better than the "surprise" symphony?

But eventually we all must get past our adolescent meanness, become friends with our parents, and even listen appreciatively to "Papa" Haydn.

Regarding his Symphony No. 56, his choice to relegate the sharpest dissonance to the softest bars of this triple time Allegro gives evidence of a composer mindful of craft. 
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In January 2004 I starting writing an opinion for each selection in the Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music. Now, more than a year later, I am almost finished. Soon, I will have an archive full of opinions on the music we so carelessly call "classical." And no one can stop me.

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Director of the Contemporary Performer's Workshop... Music Teacher for St. Aloysius Gonzaga School... Principal 'Cellist of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra... Composer

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