Joseph Haydn: Symphony No. 88 in G major, Hob. I:88
Georg Friedrich Handel: “Disserratevi, o porte d’Averno” (aria from the oratorio La Resurrezione), HWV 47;
“Ritorna, o caro e dolce mio tesoro” (aria from the opera Rodelinda, regina de’ Longobardi), HWV 19;
“Da tempeste il legno infranto” (aria from the opera Giulio Cesare in Egitto), HWV 17
Antonín Dvořák: Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88
In the most versatile programme during its stay in California, the Budapest Festival Orchestra offers a wide range of music from Baroque to Romanticism, from symphony to opera, from Bohemia to Trinidad and Tobago.
The Haydn symphony opening the concert is closely linked to classical traditions, just like all the pieces of the composer in this genre. However, he always manages to surprise us with a joke, an unusual solution or a conspicuous detail like, in Symphony No. 88, the staccato in the slow introduction, the variations of the slow movement, the imitation of bagpipes in the rustic dance movement, or the bird sounds and firework blasts in the perpetual-motion finale.
Between the two symphonies, the audience can enjoy three Handel arias. The first one is from an oratorio. In fact, the composer used this genre only as an alibi when operas happened to be less popular, writing equally dramatic and sensitive pieces. The solemn aria of the Angel, whose effect is enhanced by brass instruments will be followed by two excerpts from operas by Handel: First, the rhapsodic, wistful song of Rodelinda and then Cleopatra’s passionate aria. The technically demanding, virtuoso arias will be sung by Jeanine De Bique, who was praised in the Washington Post for her “dramatic presence and versatility”.
The concert will be closed by one of Dvořák’s best-known symphonies. Because of the large-scale orchestra, the composer had difficulty finding a publisher, so eventually the work was published in London, hence its occasionally used nickname “English”. The traditional four-movement form includes a number of unique characteristics. The Czech folklore traceable in the rhythms, the trumpets inviting to dance in the finale, as well as the flute’s bird sounds – flying here from Haydn – all contributed to Dvořák’s long-neglected music gradually crossing the borders of Bohemia and conquering the whole world.