Even Musicians Need Vacations

Posted on by on August 2nd, 2018 | Comments Off on Even Musicians Need Vacations

Painting of Joseph Haydn by Ludwig Guttenbrunn (public domain), via Wikimedia Commons.

The story of Joseph Haydn’s “Farewell Symphony” (Symphony No. 45) is a story of musicians in need of a vacation.

It was the summer of 1772, three years before the Battle of Lexington and Concord took place on the western side of the Atlantic. At that time, Haydn’s patron Prince Nikolaus Esterházy was resident, together with all his musicians and retinue, at his favorite summer palace at Eszterháza in rural Hungary. The stay there had been longer than expected, and most of the musicians had been forced to leave their wives back at home in Eisenstadt, about a day’s journey away. Longing to return, the musicians appealed to their Kapellmeister for help. The diplomatic Haydn, instead of making a direct appeal, put his request into the music of the symphony: during the final adagio each musician stops playing, snuffs out the candle on his music stand, and leaves in turn, so that at the end, there are just two muted violins left (played by Haydn himself and his concertmaster, Luigi Tomasini). Esterházy seems to have understood the message: the court returned to Eisenstadt the day following the performance. (Source: Ethan Mordden, A Guide to Orchestral Music: The Handbook for Non-Musicians. New York: Oxford University Press [1980]: 81–82.)

Click here to see a performance of the last movement of Haydn’s “Farewell Symphony” in which the musicians leave the stage one by one.

The Bloomfield Civic Band is enjoying a break for a few weeks. Rehearsals will begin again in September, and we will circulate news about upcoming concerts as soon as the dates are set. Meanwhile, if you enjoyed our music during the 2017–2018 season, why not send us a note via our Facebook page. You can use the “Send Message” button to send a note.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Rehearsals are held at the Bloomfield Middle School on Huck Road from mid-September through mid-June (location may vary). Rehearsals start promptly at 7:30 PM and end at 9:30 PM