In his Sinfonia Concertante for violin, violoncello, oboe, bassoon and orchestra, Haydn combined typical stylistic features of the solo concerto with elements of the classic symphony. As a conductor, he was keenly aware of the extent to which individual orchestral players hankered after recognition as solo performers. Consequently this work, which was first performed in London on 9 March 1792, offers an opportunity for four soloists to demonstrate their virtuosity in competition with the orchestra. By making the violin the most prominent of the solo instruments, Haydn expressed his gratitude to the violinist Johann Peter Salomon, who was also the organizer of the London concerts. Leonard Bernstein began conducting Haydn's orchestral works when he was still Music Director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Since then, his interpretations of the symphonies have consistently met with unreserved critical acclaim. He, of all conductors, possessed precisely the qualities which Haydn's music requires: grace, charm and a generous measure of wit. This production with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra was recorded in 1984.


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