In Search of Haydn

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

Sun­day, 3.30pm, Stu­dio Born in March 1732, in a vil­lage not far from Vi­enna, Joseph Haydn was the com­poser adored by Mozart and sought out as a teacher by Beethoven. ‘‘ They bowed be­fore him,’’ says even-toned nar­ra­tor Juliet Steven­son, cor­rect­ing the com­mon as­sump­tion of his­tory that the ad­mi­ra­tion went the other way, in this beau­ti­fully made fea­ture-length film about the Aus­trian mas­ter com­poser. His­to­rian David Wyn Jones, one of many au­thor­i­ta­tive fig­ures in­ter­viewed, says though we tend to think of Haydn as the fa­ther of the sym­phony, of in­stru­men­tal mu­sic, for much of his youth the rit­ual of the Catholic Church dom­i­nated his life. What fol­lows is the en­chant­ing tale of a how a poor Catholic cho­ris­ter went on to be­come one of the most revered com­posers of all time. might have been Lyn­dey’s Craic and Sham­rock Ad­ven­ture. In the se­ries, Mi­lan bravely takes on the food eaten in the coun­try­side and in the city haunts of the emer­ald isle. Things be­gin in Belfast, cap­i­tal and largest city of North­ern Ire­land, with a visit to the ship­yards of Har­land & Wolff, home of the doomed Ti­tanic. Happily, at this point there is no trace of Ce­line Dion go­ing on and on and on. In­stead there’s a lovely Celtic sound­track as guest his­to­rian Colin Cobb lets his Ir­ish brogue roll. ‘‘ This is the last place the Ti­tanic ever rested on dry ground,’’ he says. ‘‘ Just 12 days af­ter leav­ing this dock she was at the bot­tom of the sea.’’ peo­ple she thinks of as her par­ents. The switcheroo is un­cov­ered and mid­dle-class Bay re­alises she is ac­tu­ally from a poor Puerto Ri­can fam­ily. Ay, caramba! When real daugh­ter Daphne (Katie Le­clerc) turns up she is like a clone of her red-haired mum. Then the bomb­shell: Daphne is pro­foundly deaf and ev­ery­one in­volved must learn sign lan­guage as the fam­i­lies awk­wardly blend.

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