Haydn Symphony no. 5

Horns. The fifth in A major has its date between 1760 and 1762. Wikipedia refers to it as a sonata da chiesa and states that this is the reason for its four-movement form, unlike its cousin the third. It also says that because of the very high horn parts, this is some of the most difficult writing for the instrument in Haydn’s oeuvre. And yes, they are high. As a kite. It’s the most striking thing about the symphony at first listen. In the past, the winds (of any kind) had only gotten much smaller kind of background parts, but this is the … Continue reading Haydn Symphony no. 5

Haydn Symphony no. 4

The fourth in D major takes us back perhaps to 1757 up to 1761, as well as back to a three-movement form. Presto, 6/8 Andante in D minor, 2/4 Tempo di Menuetto, 3/8 The finale is marked as a minuet, but in 3/8 not 3/4 and lacks the typical trio section. The first movement sounds somewhat like the contrapuntal passages that stood out in the third symphony, even if this one may have been written earlier. It’s what jumped out about the first movement. It has a darker second subject, but it’s still all relatively crisp and delightful, but there is really … Continue reading Haydn Symphony no. 4

Haydn Symphony no. 3

The third in G major was written (it is believed) between 1760 and 1762. It shares its orchestration with its predecessors, (two oboes, bassoon, two horns, strings, continuo) but is Haydn’s first symphony to be written in four movements, and one of the earliest in general to do so. The winds in this symphony are also absent from the slow movement, as in the previous symphony. This symphony is more ‘complex’ no only for its four-movement structure, but also for the structure of two of the movements: the minuet is a canon between high and low voices, and the finale … Continue reading Haydn Symphony no. 3

Haydn Symphony no. 2

Gonna try to keep this one shorter. The second symphony is believed to have been written between 1757 and 1761. It has the same orchestration as number one from yesterday, and is also in three movements. There’s also something kind of… comforting at the possibility that something this brief (a nine minute symphony!) may have taken him four years to write. Not that he devoted every waking hour (or any regular attention) to the piece, but for any aspiring composer, it’s nice to know that speed isn’t necessarily important. The second is also unique in Haydn’s symphonic repertoire in that … Continue reading Haydn Symphony no. 2

Franz Joseph Haydn: Symphony no. 1

So the thirty-seventh symphony wasn’t the thirty-seventh. The first symphony might also not be. Haydn certainly isn’t the only (or first) composer to switch around the orders of his compositions, or to have begun a piece earlier than another but published it later. As we have also already seen, the cataloguing and numbering and organizing of such a large body of work from so long ago has also proven to be somewhat troublesome. To me, it isn’t terribly important. We’re covering these earliest symphonies together. It’s not like they would be decades apart, so I’m not terribly susceptible to being … Continue reading Franz Joseph Haydn: Symphony no. 1

Haydn Symphony no. 37

again, and as always, for Haydn’s symphonies, we’ll be using the performances by the Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra under Adam Fischer (older brother of the also fantastic Iván Fischer) It’s older than that. As I said in yesterday’s article, there are some cataloguing and numbering issues in Haydn’s works, at least the symphonies. But then again, how could there not be when trying to order and organize works from two and a half centuries ago? Symphony no. 37 is one of the earliest of Haydn’s symphonies, dated 1758, but you might not know it immediately. We’re going to start our more … Continue reading Haydn Symphony no. 37