About the recording
This last year was Florilegium’s 30th anniversary and we had planned a European and UK tour of Haydn’s early symphonies known as Morning, Noon and Night. However, the pandemic put paid to all but one of our performances and we were forced to cancel our planned recording with Channel Classics which was scheduled for the same time.
We were delighted that we managed to salvage one live concert at the Stour Festival in June this year, and with the kind and generous support from the Continuo Foundation we were able to film this live performance and release the video in the summer of this invigorating and joyous concert.
Together with Channel Classics, our record company for the last 29 years, we are now planning to record this programme in March 2022 in St Johns Church, Upper Norwood (London).
What makes our project special
This recording will involve 18 members of Florilegium, the exact same number Haydn had at his disposal when he composed these symphonies shortly after arriving at Esterhazy in 1761. Haydn’s first symphonies for his new employer, Prince Paul Anton Esterházy, form a group of three entitled Morning, Noon and Night. Perhaps these were a result of the Prince’s suggestion that Haydn write something programmatic along the lines of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. As symphonies for a small chamber orchestra, all three exploit the solo skills of each of Florilegium’s principals, from flute to double bass, not to mention heroic horns as well as spectacular violin and cello solos, each vividly characterised in an almost operatic way.
Our last few recordings with Channel Classics have very much been chamber projects (Music for a King CCS 41819 & The Spohr Collection CCS 43020) and we are excited to be embarking on a much bigger and more ambitious project that will showcase our chamber orchestra and the wonderful virtuosi who play such a big part in our success.
There are very few recordings of these three Symphonies on a single CD by period instrument ensembles and only 8 currently exist from the earliest in 1996 (English Concert) to the most recent in 2021 (Il Giardino Armonico). Very few of these are with the small forces we plan to use and after some recent research into 18th century horn playing techniques in Europe our players will perform without hand-stopping, giving this recording a unique orchestral sound.
What we will record
We will be recording three early symphonies by Haydn – Nos. 6 (Morning), 7 (Noon) and 8 (Night).
When and where
The recording is going to take place in London in the resonant and spacious church of St Johns in West Norwood from 14 – 18 March 2022. We have many fond memories of recording two previous CDs in this church. The first was our CD with the soprano Elin Manahan Thomas of music by Vivaldi including his Laudate Pueri and the then recently discovered flute concerto by Vivaldi entitled Il Gran Mogul. The second CD saw the counter tenor Robin Blaze join Elin once again for a disc of Pergolesi which included his emotionally charged Stabat Mater and Salve Regina. Ashley also recorded his flute concerto in G major. We plan to edit this new Haydn CD with Jared Sacks (producer and owner of Channel Classics) almost immediately as we are hoping to release this latest recording at the beginning of September for the start of the new concert season.
Why we need your help
A recording project like this needs a big investment from Florilegium. We are responsible for covering the costs of research, rehearsals, preparation of modern editions of the repertoire, and all player fees for the recording as well as hiring the church for the recording. As always, our partners in this enterprise will be Jared Sacks and Channel Classics who will cover the substantial recording, production and post-production costs for the CD and booklet, delivering, as always, an exceptional product both aurally and visually.
We are looking for people to join our circle of supporters to help us make this project a reality and take the next vital step in Florilegium’s artistic development. It is an expensive undertaking and I appreciate that this is a difficult and challenging time to ask for financial support but having already secured a generous grant from the Continuo Foundation we are encouraged and motivated to meet our remaining target costs to ensure this project goes ahead. We need your help to raise £12,000 between now and the start of the recording sessions in March.
Since its creation in 1991 Florilegium has established itself as one of Britain’s most outstanding period instrument ensembles, gaining a reputation for stylish and exciting interpretations, from intimate chamber works to large-scale orchestral and choral repertoire.
Concert venues include Sydney Opera House, Esplanade (Singapore), Teatro Colon (Buenos Aires), Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Konzerthaus (Vienna), Beethoven-Haus (Bonn), Handel-Haus (Halle) and Frick Collection (New York). Over the years they have performed more than 1,200 live concerts, 75 of these have been at London’s Wigmore Hall. Among the numerous residencies Florilegium have held was Ensemble-in-Residence at London’s Wigmore Hall from 1998 to 2000, and since 2008 they have been Ensemble in Association at the Royal College of Music, working regularly with students in areas of Historical Performance.
Florilegium’s recordings for Channel Classics have been awarded many prizes including two Gramophone Award nominations, most recently in 2016 when their Telemann Concerto and Cantata CD was shortlisted in the category best baroque chamber music CD. Their recordings have also won numerous BBC Music Magazine awards, Editor’s Choice from Gramophone, Edison Award in Holland, Diapasons d’Or and Chocs de la Musique in France.
For more information about Florilegium visit www.florilegium.org.uk