Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

PBS Celebrates the Classics Music Specials Range from Haydn to Opera

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

PBS Celebrates the Classics Music Specials Range from Haydn to Opera

Article excerpt

IF "Good King Wenceslas," "Silent Night" and "The Little Drummer Boy" aren't quite your idea of classical music, PBS offers musical cheer with a roster of programs that should satisfy even the most discriminating music lover.

By Monday night, all the goodies should be unwrapped, the dinners concluded, and the bulk of the guests should be on their way home. Then exhausted revelers in need of spiritual uplift and musical refreshment can check out "Celebrating Haydn With Peter Ustinov" (8 p.m. Monday on Channel 9).

Mozart's contemporary and mentor, Franz Joseph Haydn was one of the masters of the classical style dominant in the 18th and early 19th centuries. His music looked both backward to earlier masters and forward to the romantic styles of the later 19th century.

Haydn's early works show the influence of baroque while moving beyond it. As the program, which is part biography and part musical appreciation course, reveals, Haydn's first youthful ventures into composition were a result of his studies of C.P.E. Bach, the baroque master's son.

After a period of genteel poverty and reputation-building, Haydn was awarded the post of Kappelmeister to the Hungarian Prince Esterhazy, one of the most influential and celebrated noble families of the age.

Lavish-living arts patrons, the Esterhazys allowed Haydn to create, over a 30-year period, one of the largest bodies of work in classical music.

Later in his life, Haydn went to London for a sustained period, and wrote two large-scale choral works, "The Creation" and "The Seasons," which anticipated Beethoven's later choral and - orchestral works. He spent the final years of his life a venerated musical sage.

Ustinov recounts Haydn's life with trademark wit and erudition, complete with musical excerpts from many of Haydn's works.

As history, the program offers insight into the age when European culture reached its fullest flower. But the program also offers a generous helping of Haydn's music. Some of the biggest names in opera are featured in - two programs later in the week. On Wednesday, "The Metropolitan Opera Presents" features two short operas, Puccini's "Il Tabarro" and Leoncavallo's "Pagliacci" (8 p. …

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