Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)



For much of his working life, Haydn lived and breathed opera and some of his best music was written for the stage. But until recently, his operas have suffered from chronic under-exposure. Donald Macleod blows a few layers of dust from these unfairly neglected works and introduces a complete performance of Haydn's very first comic opera, La canterina.

Overture (Lo speziale)

Sachsische Staatskapelle Dresden

Giuseppe Sinopoli (conductor)

La canterina

Ingrid Kertesi (soprano)

Andrea Ulbrich (mezzo-soprano)

Antal Pataki and Jozsef Mukk (tenors)

Capella Savaria

Pal Nemeth (conductor).


Donald Macleod considers how the young Haydn stumbled upon a new instrumental form.

Donald Macleod explores the life of Haydn, who became known as the 'Father of the string quartet. In his first programme, Donald looks at how the young composer stumbled upon a new instrumental form.


Donald Macleod explores the compositions and early life of Joseph Haydn, including his disastrous marriage to his true love's elder sister.

Part of Radio 3's Composers of the Year 2009 season.

Missa Brevis

  • Richard Hickox (conductor)
  • antal dorati (conductor)
  • chan 0734 cd5 t15-20

    l'isola disabitata (excerpt from part 2)

  • collegium musicum 90
  • costanza....norma lerer
  • cpo 7772432 t12

    organ concerto in c, h xviii 1 (largo)

  • enrico....renato bruson
  • gabor lehotka (organ)
  • gernando....luigi alva
  • hungaroton hcd31175 t2.

    Donald Macleod explores the compositions and early life of joseph haydn

  • karoly botvay (director)
  • lausanne chamber orchestra
  • philips 4324272 cd2 t7-9

    piano trio, h xv 38 (finale)

  • silvia....linda zoghby
  • susan gritton, pamela helen stephen (soprano)
  • the budapest strings
  • trio 1790

  • 01Journeyman20060206

    Donald Macleod explores the first half of Haydn's career, beginning with a look at his earliest employers.

    Die Schöpfung, Stimmt an die Saiten

    Balthasar Neumann Ensemble and Choir

    Thomas Hengelbrock (conductor)

    Sonata in G, Menuetto

    Anthony Kooiker (piano)

    String Quartet in B flat, Op 1, No 1

    Hagen Quartet

    Divertimento in E flat

    Haydn Sinfonietta Wien

    Manfred Huss (conductor)

    Symphony No 6 (Le Matin)

    Concentus musicus Wien

    Nikolaus Harnoncourt (conductor).

    01The Father Of The Symphony20101108

    Donald Macleod introduces the life and work of Joseph Haydn, the 'father of the symphony'.

    Donald Macleod introduces Joseph Haydn, a composer who was more famous in his lifetime than Mozart or Beethoven, and who has since become known as the first great master of the string quartet and the so-called 'father of the symphony'.

    Donald investigates many aspects of Haydn's turbulent personality, including commercial opportunism, double dealing, penny pinching and matrimonial misery.

    Each programme also features an important Haydn symphony, beginning today with the Symphony No.

    101, 'Clock', the work of a great composer on top form, written for a rapturous reception in late 18th-century London.


    Donald Macleod continues his exploration of Haydn's neglected operatic masterpieces with two comedies from the 1770s: L'infedelta delusa and L'incontro improvviso. The latter features the same kind of Oriental escape storyline that Mozart was to use a few years later in his Abduction from the Seraglio.

    L'infedelta delusa (Overture; Act I, Sc 1)

    Magda Kalmar, Julia Paszthy (sopranos)

    Istvan Rozsos, Attila Fulop (tenors)

    Jozsef Gregor (bass-baritone)

    Liszt Ferenc Chamber Orchestra, Budapest

    Frigyes Sandor (conductor)

    L'incontro improvviso (Act I, Sc 3)

    Linda Zoghby, Margaret Marshall (sopranos)

    Della Jones (mezzo-soprano)

    Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne

    Antal Dorati (conductor/continuo).


    Donald Macleod follows Haydn to the court of Esterhazy.

    Donald Macleod continues his story of the 'Father of the string quartet'. Today, Donald follows Haydn to the court of Esterhazy where, at first, there seems little opportunity to explore the musical form he has just invented.


    Donald Macleod considers Haydn's relationship with his long-time employers, the aristocratic Esterhazy family, and discovers the composer's loyalty to his boss and the musicians on his staff.

    Part of Radio 3's Composers of the Year 2009 season.

    Qual dubbio ormai

  • amsterdam bach soloists
  • andreas spering (director)
  • calig cal50996 t1-3.

    Donald Macleod looks at haydn's relationship with the aristocratic esterhazy family

  • cappella coloniensis
  • emi cdm7698362 t1-3

    missa cellensis (kyrie)

  • esterhazy baryton trio
  • gerd guglhor (conductor)
  • harmonia mundi hmc901765 t9-12

    violin concerto in c, h viia 1

  • new court orchestra munich
  • olympia ocd428 t4-6

    baryton trio no 64 in d

  • orpheus choir munich
  • rainer kussmaul (violin)
  • sunhae im (soprano)
  • vokalensemble koln

  • 02Esterhazy20101109

    Donald Macleod investigates what working at the court of Esterhazy meant for Haydn.

    "As head of an orchestra I could experiment, observe what heightened the effect and what weakened it, and so could improve, expand, cut, take risks.

    I was cut off from the world, there was no one near me to torment me or make me doubt myself, and so I had to become original." Donald Macleod investigates what working the court of Esterházy meant for Haydn.

    02Master Of The Chapel20060207

    As the new Vice-Kapellmeister to the court of Esterházy, Haydn enjoyed the support of Gregor Werner, the court Kapellmeister, but their relationship cooled as Haydn began to outshine his superior. With Donald Macleod.

    Acide e Galatea, Overture

    Haydn Sinfonietta Wien

    Manfred Huss (director)

    Baryton Trio in A

    Geringas Baryton Trio

    Missa Cellensis, Credo

    Susan Gritton, Pamela Helen Stephen, Mark Padmore, Stephen Varcoe

    Collegium Musicum 90

    Richard Hickox (conductor)

    Symphony No 46

    The English Concert

    Trevor Pinnock (conductor).


    If Haydn's operas have failed to catch on, it's certainly not the fault of the music: Donald Macleod considers the composer's dreadful choice of libretti.

    In terms of textual turkey, La vera costanza is a prime offender, yet it contains some of Haydn's most inspired music.

    Il mondo della luna (Act 2, Finale; Act 3)

    Arleen Auger, Edith Mathis (sopranos)

    Frederica von Stade, Lucia Valentini-Terrani (mezzo-sopranos)

    Luigi Alva, Anthony Rolfe Johnson (tenors)

    Domenico Trimarchi (baritone)

    Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne

    Antal Dorati (conductor/continuo)

    D'una sposa meschinella (insertion aria for Paisiello's La Frascatana)

    Edith Mathis (soprano)

    Armin Jordan (conductor)

    La vera costanza (So che una bestia sei, Act 1)

    La vera costanza (Act 1, Finale)

    Jessye Norman, Helen Donath, Kari Lovaas (sopranos)

    Claes H Ahnsjo, Anthony Rolfe Johnson (tenors)

    Wladimiro Ganzarolli, Domenico Trimarchi (baritones)


    Donald Macleod on how Haydn began to discover the commercial potential of string quartets.

    Donald Macleod continues his story of the 'Father of the string quartet'. Haydn's employer, Prince Esterhazy had no interest in quartets, but Haydn continued to write them purely for himself and he began to discover the commercial potential of this increasingly popular musical form.


    Donald Macleod looks at Haydn's life and work as opera impresario at the Esterhazy summer residence - a glorious palace set in a Hungarian swamp - and tells the story of a tactful musical message to Haydn's employer - the Farewell Symphony.

    Part of Radio 3's Composers of the Year 2009 season.

    Lo Speziale (excerpt)

  • antal dorati (conductor)
  • ferenc liszt chamber orchestra budapest
  • gyorgy lehel (conductor)
  • hanover band
  • harmonia mundi 05472 77316 cd1 t9-11

    symphony no 45 in f sharp minor (farewell)

  • hungaroton hcd119262 t23

    armida (excerpt)

  • hyperion cda66522 t1-5.

    Donald Macleod looks at haydn's life and work at the esterhazy summer residence

  • jessye norman (soprano)
  • la petite bande
  • lausanne chamber orchestra
  • nanni....stephen varcoe
  • philips 4266412 t1

    l'infedelta delusa (excerpt)

  • roy goodman (harpsichord/conductor)
  • sigiswald kuijken (conductor)
  • veronika kincses (soprano)
  • vespina....nancy argenta

  • 03Esterháza20060208

    Donald Macleod explores the glories of Esterháza - home to the wealthy Prince Nikolaus Esterházy and workplace to Haydn for nearly a quarter of a century.

    Sonata in Cm, Finale

    Andreas Staier (fortepiano)

    String Quartet in A, Op 20, No 6

    The Lindsays

    Lo Speziale, Act 1, Scene 1 - Tutto il giorno

    István Rozsos

    Liszt Ferenc Chamber Orchestra, Budapest

    György Lehel (conductor)

    Symphony No 48

    The English Concert

    Trevor Pinnock (conductor).

    3/5. Esterháza

    03In The Name Of The Lord20101110

    Donald Macleod explores Haydn's Catholic faith and religious drama in many of his works.

    Donald Macleod explores Haydn's Catholic faith, including how he was nearly castrated as a choirboy.

    The young composer's sense of mischief curtailed his career as a young singer at St Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, when he cut off another boy's pigtail in a prank.

    His later career, though, demonstrated devout faith, with powerful religious drama conveyed in many works, including a depiction of the earthquake which followed Christ's death on the cross.


    Donald Macleod continues to examine Haydn's neglected operas. He investigates how the composer took a striking new direction in L'isola disabitata and explores La fedelta premiata, which contains arguably the finest operatic finale outside of Mozart's Da Ponte operas.

    L'isola disabitata (Sinfonia)

    Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne

    Antal Dorati (conductor)

    L'isola disabitata (Act 2, finale)

    Linda Zoghby (soprano)

    Norma Lerer (contralto)

    Luigi Alva (tenor)

    Renato Bruson (baritone)

    La fedelta premiata (Act 1, scene 3; Act 2, finale)

    Ileana Cotrubas, Kari Lovaas (sopranos)

    Lucia Valentini-Terrani, Frederica von Stade (mezzo-sopranos)

    Tonny Landy, Luigi Alva (tenors)

    Alan Titus, Maurizio Mazzieri (baritones)


    Donald Macleod focuses on how Haydn was finally lured away from his remote German court.

    Donald Macleod continues his story of the 'Father of the string quartet'. With his quartets becoming huge bestsellers around Europe, Haydn is finally lured away from his remote German court, and makes a wildly successful visit to London.


    Donald Macleod tells the story of Haydn's trip to England, where he won the hearts of everyone from concert-going public to royalty - not to mention one or two ladies of a certain age.

    Part of Radio 3's Composers of the Year 2009 season.

    Sailor's Song

  • arleen auger (soprano)
  • asv gld4012 t5-8

    o tuneful voice

  • berlin classics 0032172bc t13.

    Donald Macleod tells the story of haydn's hugely successful trip to england

  • elly ameling (soprano)
  • frans bruggen (conductor)
  • jorg demus (piano)
  • orchestra of the 18th century
  • philips 4202172 t9

    symphony no 94 (surprise)

  • philips 4685462 cd2 t1-4

    string quartet, op 71, no 2

  • the lindsays
  • walter olbertz (piano)

  • 04Court Politics *20060209

    Donald Macleod shows how Haydn's flair for diplomacy became a vital skill during his years of employment at the court of Esterházy.

    Symphony No 60, Finale

    Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Chamber Orchestra

    Hartmut Haenchen (conductor)

    Horn Concerto No 1

    Michael Thompson

    The Philharmonia Orchestra

    Christopher Warren-green (director)

    Symphony No 45 - The Farewell

    The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra

    Ton Koopman (conductor)

    Missa Sancti Niccolai, Gloria

    Nancy Argenta

    Choir of the English Concert

    The English Concert

    Trevor Pinnock (conductor).

    04The Shakespeare Of Music20101111

    Donald discusses how Haydn became a sought-after celebrity in London.

    Haydn is tempted to London by the impresario Johann Peter Salomon and becomes a sought-after celebrity, composing a dozen symphonies which contain some of his finest music.

    The English capital was much more important in building the composer's fame and legacy than his home of Vienna, as Donald Macleod discovers.

    05 LAST20070525

    Donald Macleod looks at the final chapter of Haydn's operatic career, with excerpts from Armida, a tale of love and sorcery set in the Middle Ages, and Orfeo ed Euridice, a version of the Orpheus myth commissioned for the King's Theatre, Haymarket, at the start of Haydn's first English adventure.

    Armida (Act 3, scene 1)

    Christoph Pregardien (tenor)

    Patricia Petibon (soprano)

    Cecilia Bartoli (mezzo-soprano)

    Concentus Musicus Wien

    Nikolaus Harnoncourt (conductor)

    Orfeo ed Euridice (Act 2, scene 1)

    Jose Fardilha, Uwe Heilmann, James Oxley (tenors)

    Ildebrando d'Arcangelo (bass)

    Academy of Ancient Music

    Christopher Hogwood (conductor)

    Al tuo seno fortunato (Orfeo ed Euridice, Act 3)

    Urli orrendi, disperati (Orfeo ed Euridice, Act 4)

    05 LAST20090123

    Donald Macleod looks at Haydn's late compositions, including his masterpiece The Creation, inspired partly by the music of Handel and also by a visit to the planetary observatory of William Herschel.

    Part of Radio 3's Composers of the Year 2009 season.

    Trumpet Concerto

  • Alban Berg quartet
  • Arnold Schoenberg choir
  • Roger Vignoles (piano)
  • bernarda fink (mezzo-soprano)
  • christian gerhaher (raphael)
  • cologne chamber orchestra
  • concentus musicus wien
  • emi cdc5561662 t6-10.

    Donald Macleod looks at haydn's late compositions, including the creation

  • harmonia mundi 82876583402 cd1 t1-3

    string quartet, op 76, no 3 (emperor) - 2nd mvt

  • helmut muller-bruhl (conductor)
  • hyperion cda67174 t1-4

    the creation (excerpt)

  • jurgen schuster (trumpet)
  • michael schade (uriel)
  • naxos 8.570482 t10-12

    arianna a naxos

  • nikolaus harnoncourt (director)

  • 05 LAST20120608

    Donald Macleod focuses on some of Haydn's later works.

    Donald Macleod continues his story of the 'Father of the string quartet'. As Haydn slipped into retirement, he crowned his career with a series of grand public masterpieces but for his very last musical offering, he returned to his beloved string quartets.

    05 LASTBroadening Horizons20060210

    Donald Macleod looks at the composer's first steps towards the fame and celebrity that would crown his final years.

    Quartet in G, Op 17, No 5, Menuetto

    Kodály Quartet

    Insanae et vanae curae

    Monteverdi Choir

    English Baroque Soloists

    John Eliot Gardiner (conductor)

    Piano Sonata in D

    Ronald Brautigam (fortepiano)

    L'infedeltà delusa: Act 1, Scene 4 - Aria 'Come piglia si bene la mira'

    Nancy Argenta

    La Petite Bande

    Sigiswald Kuijken (conductor)

    Haydn: Symphony No 70

    The Hanover Band

    Roy Goodman (director).

    05 LASTLong Live Papa Haydn20101112

    Donald Macleod discusses why Haydn was not such a Viennese composer.

    Donald Macleod discovers why Haydn was not such a Viennese composer, only living in the city at the beginning and end of his career.

    His relationship with the city was a fitful, troublesome one, from what he described himself as his 'wretched existence' as a student musician, to his last moments in this world, lying on his deathbed, as Napoleon's artillery battalions bombarded the city and cannon shot blasted his neighbourhood.

    "My children," Haydn is said to have told his anxious servants during his final hours, "have no fear, for where Haydn is, no harm can fall.".