Symphony No. 54 (Haydn)
The symphony exists in 3 versions. The first version is scored for 2 oboes, bassoon, 2 horns, and strings. Subsequently the second version included a second bassoon part and a timpani part. H.C. Robbins Landon has speculated that Haydn added flute and trumpet parts for a third version, performed in London. The full ensemble thus can consist of 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani and strings equalled only in scope by the late set of London Symphonies.
The symphony is in four movements:
Following a slow introduction, the opening theme of the first movement is stated in octaves by the first horn and the bassoon against a string accompaniment. Interestingly, it is the string accompaniment which is worked in the development. Although the movement is not formally or thematically one of Haydn's more memorable efforts, it is notable for its advances in orchestration because of the independence of the bassoon from the other bass parts and other sectional specializations such as the use of winds to sustain harmonies while the strings expand on the melodies.
The slow movement is one of Haydn's most memorable. The movement is in sonata form and opens with a section marked messa di voce and builds up to a cadenza cadence which is followed by a cadenza for solo violin. In the recapitulation, the build-up to the cadenza is intensified and the cadenza is lengthened and expanded to two solo violins.
- Brown, A. Peter, The Symphonic Repertoire (Volume 2). Indiana University Press (ISBN 025333487X), pp. 153-154 (2002).
- Robbins Landon, H. C. (1963) Joseph Haydn: Critical Edition of the Complete Symphonies, Universal Edition, Vienna
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