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34. Haydn: 102nd Symphony


[…] I was listening to Haydn’s Symphony #102.
I had enough beer to last the rest of the night.

Excerpt from Nut Ward Just East Of Hollywood by Charles Bukowski


Mahler wrote 9 symphonies. Brahms wrote 4. Haydn wrote one-hundred-and-fucking-six! But then again, he more or less invented them by remodelling existing sinfonia’s and ouvertures from operas. It led to his nickname being Papa Haydn.

His 102nd Symphony also has a nickname. It was almost unoficcialy subtitled “That Fucking Electrician!”, due to an unfortunate event at its premiere in 1795.

Since Haydn conducted the piece himself, the London symphony crowd snuggled up to the orchestra so they could have a close look at the man. During the first notes a massive chandelier dropped down in the back of the concert hall. Any other day the entire last row would have been send to an early grave,  but this evening it merely bruised some people.

Instead of shouting: “That Fucking Electrician!” the crowd shouted: “A Miracle!” Hence Haydn’s 102nd is now unofficaly subtitled “Miracle.”

Recommended recording:
Sir Thomas Beecham & Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Haydn's 102nd is the best 102nd Symphony I know. There’s a vicious rumour that Haydn reincarnated as the British conductor Sir Thomas Beecham. His Haydn recordings are brutal and therefore my pick.

▶︎ PLAY IN SPOTIFY

 

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