Giovanni Antonini & Kammerorchester Basel - Haydn 2032, Vol. 7: Gli Impresari - All Music
The Haydn 2032 cycle being recorded by conductor Giovanni Antonini with the period-instrument Kammerorchester Basel undertakes not only to perform all of Haydn’s symphonies, but also to combine them with related works of the period. The resulting programs are grouped by theme and then combined with new photography—the works here, nice enough, are by American photographer Peter van Agtmael, but one wonders why period graphics couldn’t have been used. That’s especially true for this volume, Gli Impresari, which collects three Haydn symphonies and one work by Mozart that are connected with specific theatrical productions. Mozart’s music for Thamos, König in Egypten, K. 345, was established as genuine only recently, and it’s kind of like an undiscovered Mozart symphony. That play’s impresario, Carl Wahr, was also a stage director with whom Haydn worked at the Esterháza estate. The annotations by Christian Moritz-Bauer delve into deep context that until now has been mostly the province of academic musicology. But the works are enjoyable on their own terms, perhaps less intricate than other Haydn symphonies but peppy and colorful, carrying connotations an audience of the time would have known. Sample the “Minuet and Trio” of the Symphony No. 65 in A major, Hob. 1:65 for an idea. An especially intriguing entry in Antonini’s series.