Joseph Haydn: Symphony No. 88 in G major, Hob. I:88
George Frideric 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 symphony that opens the concert is closely linked to classical traditions; indeed, it was Haydn himself who established these traditions for his successors. However, he always manages to surprise us with a joke, an unusual turn or a striking detail. In his Symphony No. 88, such memorable moments include the staccato in the slow introduction, the variations of the slow movement, the rustic imitation of bagpipes in the third 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 a cover when it proved difficult to mount opera performances, and he delivered equally dramatic and sensitive pieces. The solemn aria of the Angel, the effect of which is enhanced by brass instruments, will be followed by two excerpts from operas: the rhapsodic, wistful song of Rodelinda and Cleopatra’s passionate aria, respectively. The technically demanding, virtuosic 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 concluded by one of Dvořák’s best-known symphonies. Because of the large-scale orchestra, the composer had difficulty in finding a publisher, so the work was eventually published in London, hence its occasionally used nickname “English”. In this case, the traditional four-movement form is coloured by a number of unusual characteristics. The Czech folklore traceable in the rhythms, the trumpets inviting to dance in the finale, as well as the sounds of the birds– flying here on the flute from Haydn’s garden – all helped Dvořák’s long-neglected music in gradually crossing the borders of Bohemia and conquering the whole world.