The Farewell Symphony
Product Code: 14072
Binding Information: Paperback
Ages: 5 - 9
Grade Highest: 4th
Grade Lowest: K
Availability: Out of stock Backorder policy
Anna Harwell Celenza's engaging fictionalized telling of the story behind Franz Joseph Haydn's famous symphony is a perfect introduction to classical music and its power. The Farewell Symphony brings to life a long summer spent at Esterháza, the summer palace of Prince Nicholas of Esterházy.
The blustering, bellowing prince entertained hundreds of guests at his rural retreat and demanded music for every occasion. As the months passed, Haydn was kept very busy writing and performing music for parties, balls, dinners, and even walks in the gardens. His orchestra members became homesick and missed their families. The anger, frustration, and longing of the musicians is expressed beautifully in the symphony born of the clever mind of Joseph Haydn who used it to convince Prince Nicholas that it was time to go home.
Wonderfully expressive illustrations by JoAnn E. Kitchel capture all the comedy and pathos of this unique symphony. Beautifully interpretive motifs and borders convey the setting and emotion of the story mirroring the structure of the symphony with the repetitive use of sets of four. Making classical music and history come alive with color and character, The Farewell Symphony ensures a place for the arts in the hearts and minds of children.
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Kirkus Reviews - June 30, 2000The life of a musician has never been easy. When Prince Nicholas takes 22 musicians on an extended visit to his summer palace to provide non-stop music for his guests, he refuses the request of his royal music director, Joseph Haydn, to allow the musician's families to visit. Dejected after many weeks of separation, Haydn writes a composition called "The Farewell Symphony" (Symphony No. 45) to express the musicians' longing for home and family and their contempt for being treated so callously. To ensure that his message will be driven home, Haydn writes an ending in which the musicians are to abruptly leave one by one, until the stage is devoid of life. The author's note describes Haydn's work in the court of Prince Nicholas, utilizing interesting information from archival documents. Written by a classical musician, the personal details of Haydn's life and thoughts surrounding the creation of this piece are solidly grounded in music history and an understanding of this profession. A CD recording of Haydn's symphony is included; performed by the orchestra of St. Luke's, it should bring to life these visual images. The type of instruments used during the 18th century are nicely explained and pictured. Kitchel's watercolor and ink illustrations capture Haydn's dilemma and the Prince's reluctant change of heart most eloquently.
Publishers Weekly - June 30, 2000In this intriguing history lesson for music lovers, Prince Nicholas of Austria forbids his musicians from bringing their families to Esterhaza, his summer palace in the Hungarian countryside. The court musicians under composer and royal music director Joseph Haydn's care grow increasingly homesick and restless, particularly when the prince extends his stay well into the autumn of 1772. "It will take a great deal of cleverness and tact to influence the prince," says Haydn. His solution: to compose a new symphony as a way of conveying the musicians' emotions to his employer. The real story behind Haydn's famous Symphony No. 45 (in F minor)--tracing the underlying moods that accompany each movement and ending with the musicians leaving the stage one by one--will likely make attentive listeners of its readers, as they gain a newfound appreciation for music's simultaneous subtlety and power (a CD recording is included). And if Celenza tweaks history by investing the characters with thoughts and emotions of her own devising (e.g., upon hearing the "explosive chords" and "surging melodies" of the "angry" first movement, the prince senses "the musicians' frustration over having to remain at Esterhaza"), her interpretation of the events is plausible. Kitchel's (The Heart of a Friendship) brightly bordered watercolors verge on the simplistic, particularly the cartoonish features of the characters, but include plenty of historical detail.
The Horn Book Guide - July 31, 2000Haydn's "Farewell" symphony, composed as a protest to his employer, directs the orchestra members to stop playing one by one and leave the stage. Celenza, a musician, convincingly represents what the main characters' emotions and musical motivations might have been. Large watercolors reminiscent of Tomie dePaola's flesh out the story. (The accompanying CD includes the "Farewell" as well as the "Hornsignal" symphonies.)
Parade Magazine - July 31, 2000One of the most famous of musical stories is the tale of the first performance of Joseph Haydn's "Farewell" Symphony--in which the composer had his musicians walk out one by one during the last movement to convince their boss, Prince Esterhazy, that it was time to end their summer season and go home. Anna Harwell Celenza describes the event charmingly in The Farewell Symphony (Talewinds-Charlesbridge,$19.95), with colorful illustrations by JoAnn E. Kitchel. Best of all, the book is accompanied by an excellent CD containing the music of the full symphony played by the Orchestra of St. Luke's in a performance that may be even better than the one heard by the Prince himself long ago.
School Library Journal - August 31, 2000Celenza's story is a delightful introduction to Joseph Haydn, his "Farewell Symphony," and 18th-century court life. The composer asks Prince Nicholas if the homesick musicians might invite their families to join them at the summer palace in Hungary, and the answer is an emphatic and angry no. When the stay extends into late fall, the musicians again appeal to their royal music director, this time to convince the prince to return to Austria. Since words again fail to persuade him, Haydn decides to try music. His Symphony in F-sharp minor reflects the musicians' anger, sadness, and frustration, and finally moves Nicholas to return home. Based on true events, the story is well told and suitably illustrated with striking watercolor-and-ink cartoons with simple lines and exaggerated characterizations that convincingly convey a sense of the excess and finery of the period. The white-wigged musicians are bathed in fiery crimson as they play the angry first movement and the tearful prince is covered in a wash of blue during the sorrowful second passage. There are notes on both 18th-century symphonic form and instruments as well as on the events and personalities in the story. An entertaining musical history and a well-produced package.
Christian Library Journal - November 30, 2004This series about the lives of famous composers is written by Anna Harwell Celenza. She takes an anecdote from the life of each, and using primary source material and a fanciful imagination, she weaves stories, fiction based on history.
The illustrations of JoAnn E. Kitchel feature artistic elements from the time period or the geographic location of the individual composer. For instance, in The Heroic Symphony, Kitchel uses toile, a French fabric design of everyday life that was also used as wallpaper. Hence, the pages of this story are "wallpapered."
The Farewell Symphony describes an incident in the life of Joseph Haydn. His benefactor, Prince Nicholas, has moved his court to the summer palace Esterhaza. The families of the court musicians are not invited. Some eight months later, Papa Haydn writes and performs The Farewell Symphony, to remind the Prince that it is time to go home.
The Heroic Symphony was composed by Ludwig van Beethoven in the early 1800's. His inspiration was initially the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte, but over time, Napoleon exhibits less than exemplary behavior. Beethoven realizes that courage is a universal theme which applies even to his own struggle with hearing loss.
How do you face the untimely death of a dear friend? Pictures at an Exhibition borrows its title from the tribute of a composer, Modest Mussorgsky, to an architect. The suite, originally written for piano, traces a stroll through an art show, featuring the work of the departed Victor Hartmann.