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In Search Of Haydn

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DVD: Available Now
Run Time:
102 minutes



Phil Grabsky


Franz Joseph Haydn (1732 - 1809)




Also from Phil Grabsky - In Search of Beethoven and In Search of Mozart



From Phil Grabsky, the award-winning maker of In Search Of Mozart and In Search Of Beethoven, comes In Search Of Haydn.

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) was one of the world’s greatest musical innovators. His close friend Mozart and his student Beethoven were inspired by him. As the finest composer of the day Haydn changed the world of music forever. By speaking to the world's foremost exponents of Haydn’s music this film sheds light on the master and his work.

As with the two previous international hits, Grabsky’s biographical account of the life of Haydn is a visual and aural extravaganza, including breath-taking performances by some of the world’s most celebrated and contemporary musicians: Gianandrea Noseda, Sir Roger Norrington, The Orchestra of the 18th Century with Frans Brüggen, The Endellion String Quartet, Christophe Rousset and Les Talens Lyriques, Ian Page and the Classical Opera Company, Ronald Brautigam, Sophie Bevan and Emmanuel Ax, and many, many more.

Through intimate and revealing interviews with experts, and detailed extracts from Haydn’s personal letters, the audience gains tremendous insight not only into Haydn’s music, but an appreciation of the artist himself. The emphasis of the film, as with the previous films, is on the performance – and interpretation – of Haydn’s music, with performances from the world’s greatest musicians and orchestras.


4 STARS! 'Joyous, thrilling, informative & accessible' Empire

4 STARS! 'Quietly inspiring' The Times

4 STARS! 'Sweeps away preconceptions' The Standard

4 STARS! Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

Here is a film that argues for a greater appreciation of Joseph Haydn's music; it follows on from Grabsky's previous studies of Mozart and Beethoven, and in its low-key, unpretentious and assuming way, it is very good indeed. With simplicity and lucidity, Grabsky takes us through Haydn's life and work and reminds the audience that Mozart and Beethoven considered themselves his pupils. Then he strives to give the non-specialist a sense of why we should still care about him. Haydn's music had a democratic openness, an audience-pleasing quality, a feeling of sensitivity and refinement, though without grandiloquent pain. Part of the success of the film lies in just talking to very intelligent and authoritative people – musicians, conductors, historians – and letting them have their say, simple as that. These commentators give the film a real IQ-vitamin boost; it's a bracing and refreshing experience.

4 STARS! Philip French, The Observer
Following his excellent films on Mozart and Beethoven, the British documentarist Phil Grabsky completes an admirable trilogy with this riveting study of Haydn. As with the earlier films there are no phoney reconstructions and dramatisations, just a lucid chronological account of a life using contemporary prints and new film of the places where he worked; some beautiful music by a variety of performers; informative, unpretentious contributions from musicians, critics and historians; and a commentary nicely spoken by Juliet Stevenson. It's a quieter, less dramatic career than Mozart's and Beethoven's, but longer, no less significant, and one of great dedication and probity. I learned much about this likable man (including the fact that there's only one picture of him without a wig and that he never appeared with his head uncovered), and I intend to hear more of his music.

Sarah Dawes, Camden New Journal
The film is a wonderful journey through 18th-century European musical and cultural history.

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Also by Filmmaker Phil Grabsky

In Search of Mozart

In Search of Beethoven

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