OAE Night Shift

Haydn's 64th symphony is a prime example of how the composer, working in an isolated corner of the Austro-Hungarian empire, created music that transformed the art of listening throughout Europe. Written for private aristocratic entertainment, the music darts, dives and parries, playing melodic and rhythmic tricks that continually defeat the expectations of its audience. He could have been sacked. Instead, Haydn changed the symphony concert from a refined breed of light entertainment into the enlightened and intellectually engaging public event it soon became.

The work was an excellent choice for the 10th instalment in the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment's Night Shift concerts, through which the period band seeks to entice that ever-elusive audience demographic: the young. And they succeed, not simply by selling T-shirts and cocktails, but by allowing the audience to drink, chat and even wander about during performances. Once inside, of course, in a darkened room and faced with electrifying music-making, nobody stirs.

The orchestra had already played the symphony once that evening, together with two others (Nos 7 and 90) and Mozart's second Flute Concerto. They excel in this repertoire and barely glanced at Edward Gardner's attentive direction. Flautist Lisa Beznosiuk made a good case for the infrequently heard concerto, one of many works for flute that only makes sense when played on the trickier but infinitely more expressive instruments of the period. Her second performance was freer, if more fraught in the tricksier moments, but it was with their relaxed and lithe mastery of Haydn's wriggling masterpiece that the orchestra held the overstimulated ears of their young audience. "Tempora mutantur" ran Haydn's Latin subtitle to the score. Times change, and we change with them.

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