No. 6 – Lamentatione
Giovanni Antonini, conductor
Alpha Classics, 2018
Lamentatione and the Other Symphonies: the Project
As for the other instalments of the project Haydn 2032, also the sixth volume of the collection has its guiding thread. This time it must be sought in a quote from Albert Christoph Dies’s biography, where Haydn explains that «in instrumental music I generally gave entirely free rein to my purely musical imagination. Only one exception occurs to me now, when in the Adagio of a symphony I chose the theme of a conversation between God and a foolish sinner». This Adagio should be that of Symphony No. 26, nicknamed “Lamentatione” and pivotal work of this recording.
As in the fifth volume of Haydn 2032 (L’homme de genie) and differently from the previous ones, the present recording does not associate Haydn’s compositions with those of a contemporary composer, but it is entirely devoted to his symphonies. Apart from the Symphony No. 26, it includes also the symphonies Nos. 3 and 79 and the “Alleluja” Symphony, No. 30.
If the Adagio of the “Lamentatione” Symphony is «a conversation between God and a foolish sinner», the other symphonies borrow from sacred music. The first movement of the Symphony No. 30 quotes the Gregorian Alleluia from the liturgy for Holy Saturday. The counterpoint of the first movement of the Symphony No. 3 reminds of the cantus firmus. As for the Symphony No. 79, it echoes the complexity of the Symphony No. 80 at the end of volume 5 of Haydn 2032, so that that recording make a «musical diptych» with the present one.
Lamentatione and the Other Symphonies: the Performance
After the release of six albums of Haydn 2032 (we already reviewed volumes three and four), it is clearer than ever that this project will be a milestone in Haydn’s discography. Giovanni Antonini and the Kammerorchester Basel are really realizing something that is inspiring for its music, for the execution of the music and also for the illuminating sketches of Haydn’s life in the well researched booklet notes.
Lustrous Tone and Shimmering Colours
A recording entitled Lamentatione could give the idea of a collection of lugubrious music, but this is not the case. First of all, Antonini and his orchestra perform the symphonies with brilliance and lustrous tone, which is considerable especially in the Allegro of the Symphony No. 3, in the Allegro of the Symphony No. 30 and in the Allegro con spirito of the Symphony No. 79. This work is actually very exuberant – perhaps the one that more closely reminds of Mozart among the present ones – and even in the delicate Adagio cantabile its amusing character does not fail to appear, though it finds its perfect realization in the Minuet and above all in the sparkling Finale.
The colours are shimmering and, apart from the Symphony No. 26 with its impatient character, this music is usually joyful and lively, though not always carefree. Although the slow movements are as introspective as they should be, they are always more graceful than grave. Even the Adagio of the Symphony No. 26 is more nostalgic than solemn. This work, the central one of this album, is actually a true gem. Beginning with an animated, restless Allegro assai con spirito that Antonini conducts with vigour and holding the listener in suspense, the symphony continues with the Adagio which seems a critical examination of the previous one and ends with a Minuet that seems to find a balance.