Wind Music

Eight Notturni

Joseph Haydn

Arranged by Tony Turrill for wind decette


The Eight  Nottuni


A Brief History King Ferdinand IV of Naples (1751 – 1825) was one of Haydn’s less attractive patrons .  The Italian historian Luigi Villari describes him as a ruler who “grew up athletic but ignorant, ill bred, addicted to the lowest amusements, delighting in the company of the lazzaroni (the bawdy, degraded rabble) affecting their dialect and selling fish in the market place”.  The reign of Ferdinand and his wife Maria Carolina was tyrannical, they persecuted, oppressed and often executed their subjects.       “ Few sovereigns have left behind so odious a memory.  His whole career is one long record of perjury, vengeance and meanness, unredeemed by a single generous act” (loc.cit.).   Nevertheless, Ferdinand was also an early example, perhaps more extreme than the most, of rogues who are also accomplished musicians.  He displayed prodigious musical talent but instead of concentrating on something appropriate to his rank, perhaps a cello or flute, he became a virtuoso on the lira organizzata, a type of  Hurdy Gurdy with pipe organ, strings, keyboard and wheel.  Until approached by Hadrava,  Haydn had probably not even heard of the instrument but a Lira was a lira and he readily agreed to provide the King with some music.  In all, between 1786 and 1790 he wrote five concertos and eight nocturnes featuring the instrument.  The nocturnes were written for two lira organizzata,  two  clarinets in C (the rather raw street players instrument),  two horns, two violas, a cello and a bass.  Like most composers of the time, Haydn was not above using the same material more than once.  In 1790, Ferdinand invited him to Naples but the impresario Salomon persuaded Haydn to come to London instead.  Recognising that the Italian street instrument, the lira organnozata,  was unheard of in England, Haydn promptly rescored the nocturnes, replacing the two lira with a flute and an oboe and then  providing alternative violin parts to replace the clarinets. 


Our arrangements. Having  experimented on arranging them for different wind ensembles we have settled on the wind decette (2fl/2ob/2cl/2bsn/2hn) for all eight, with one small exception In no.8 where we have preferred Basset Horns to Clarinets for the slow movement – even here we provide a number of alternatives including two clarinets.

No. 1 has four movements, only two remain for no.6. all the rest have three, a slow central movement with a quick one on either side.

Extracts and complete virtual performances are provided for all eight these and more  details can be accessed by clicking on the numbers below


                No.1                    No.2                     No.3                    No.4



            No.5                    No.6                    No.7                     No.8



Buy any one for 25 (all eight for 175)