The Converse Symphony Orchestra will present its second performance of the year on Monday November 23, in Daniel Recital Hall on the Converse College campus. The orchestra will be directed by Dr. Seigwart Reichwald, who states, “this concert has a clear, albeit odd theme, as we celebrate Haydn’s and Martin’s music in light of the anniversary of their death years — 1809 and 1959.” He added that there are other exciting musical commonalities as well.
Haydn, regarded as the “father of the symphony,” wrote his Symphony No. 99 in E-flat Major for performance in London as part of a group of the twelve “London Symphonies,” which he wrote on two separate extended stays in London in 1791-93 and 1794-95. These symphonies are the pinnacle of the mature classical style, and their success then and now places them securely within the canon of art music — not to mention that Haydn earned the equivalent of twenty years salary at his previous employment at Esterhaza. The Symphony No. 99 plays a special role in these sets, as it is the first symphony performed on Haydn’s second trip to London. In order to make sure that the London audience and critics would be awed by innovative ideas, Haydn included for the first time a pair of clarinets, creating a rich woodwind sound. Throughout the symphony the woodwind writing is emphasized and new sonorities are explored. As always, each movement shows great imagination and engages the listener.
Martin’s Sinfonietta “La Jolla” was also written as a commission for a specific city; it was commissioned by the Musical Arts Society of La Jolla, CA, and first performed in 1950. Martin greatly admired Haydn, and clearly used Haydn’s symphonies as a model for his own. In fact, the twentieth century minimal instrumentation is almost identical to that of Haydn’s Symphony No. 99. Martin’s modernist, neoclassical style espouses clarity and conciseness expressed through energized motor rhythms, syncopation, and closely spaced harmonies superimposed against a fundamentally tonal background. Each of the three movements follows symmetrical simple formal patterns of the classical symphony. Martin’s Sinfonietta is actually the perfect match to Haydn’s Symphony No. 99, since both composers wrestle with classical ideals and their expressions in the language of the time and within the context of their needs and opportunities as composers, who earn a living through their craft.
The concert is free of charge and open to the public.