Symphony No. 93 (Haydn)

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The Symphony No. 93 in D major, Hoboken I/93, one of the twelve so-called London symphonies (numbers 93-104) written by Joseph Haydn.

It was completed in 1791 as one of the set of symphonies completed for his first trip to London. It was first performed at the Hanover Square Rooms in London on 17 February 1792.

Background[edit]

Of the twelve London symphonies, the No. 93 appears first in the Hoboken-Verzeichnis catalogue. However, it was likely the third to be composed of the set, after the No. 96 in D major and the No. 95 in C minor.[1][2]

Movements[edit]

The work is in standard four-movement form and scored for two flutes, two oboes, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, timpani and strings.[3]

  1. AdagioAllegro assai, 3/4
  2. Largo cantabile, cut time in G major
  3. Menuetto. Allegro, 3/4
  4. Finale: Presto ma non troppo, 2/4

First movement[edit]

The first movement is in sonata form: after an introduction follows an exposition that ends with a repeat sign, a development, a recapitulation and a coda.

The introduction is twenty measures long and marked "Adagio". It opens with the orchestra playing the tonic note, D, in unison, avoiding the establishment of the home key of D major with root-position harmony. The introduction then proceeds on an harmonic excursion, through the dominant (A major), a Neapolitan chord (E-flat major, built on G), a diminished seventh, the parallel minor (D minor), and the subdominant minor (G minor), before concluding with a dominant seventh chord.[4]

The principal theme of the first movement. The theme enters in the 21st measure of the movement, after an Adagio introduction.

After the dominant seventh chord, the main body of the movement, marked "Allegro", commences with the statement of the principal theme. The exposition then continues with a transitional passage before a secondary theme in the dominant, A major. The American musicologist A. Peter Brown compared the secondary theme to a Ländler.[5]

The development involves significant re-working of a motif from the secondary theme. The motif is inverted, and passed through a series of remote keys. Unusually for a late Haydn work, the recapitulation involves few surprises. It reprises the principal and secondary themes in the tonic before a short coda.[6]

Second movement[edit]

Towards the end of the second movement, the music gradually becomes slower and softer until an unexpected fortissimo bassoon "fart"[7] brings the music back for the movement's closing. This shows Haydn's sense of humor—similar to the 2nd movement of the Surprise Symphony. Antony Hodgson identifies George Szell as a conductor who was not afraid to overdo "the vulgarity of this joke". Hodgson argues that "if, in concert, none of the audience laughs, then the episode must have been underplayed."[8]

Third movement[edit]

The minuet proper has a ländler character. The minuet's trio is highly original and juxtaposes timpani-punctated fanfare outbursts with quieter passages scored only for strings.[7]

Fourth movement[edit]

In the fourth movement, the oboe quotes "Viva la libertà" from Mozart's Don Giovanni.[9] Haydn wrote in a letter to Maria Anna von Genzinger that he was not completely satisfied with the finale because he considered it weak compared to the first movement. He stated that he planned to revise it, but there is no evidence that any revision ever took place.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brown, A. Peter (2002). The First Golden Age of the Viennese Symphony: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert. Indiana University Press. pp. 243–244. ISBN 025333487X. 
  2. ^ Steinberg, Michael (1998). The Symphony: A Listener's Guide. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 213. ISBN 978-0195126655. 
  3. ^ Steinberg, Michael. "The Symphony: a listeners guide". p. 213-215. Oxford University Press, 1995.
  4. ^ Brown, A. Peter (2002). The First Golden Age of the Viennese Symphony: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert. Indiana University Press. p. 252. ISBN 025333487X. 
  5. ^ Brown, A. Peter (2002). The First Golden Age of the Viennese Symphony: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert. Indiana University Press. pp. 252–253. ISBN 025333487X. 
  6. ^ Brown, A. Peter (2002). The First Golden Age of the Viennese Symphony: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert. Indiana University Press. p. 253. ISBN 025333487X. 
  7. ^ a b c Brown, A. Peter, The Symphonic Repertoire (Volume 2). Indiana University Press (ISBN 0-253-33487-X), pp. 252-256 (2002).
  8. ^ Antony Hodgson, The Music of Joseph Haydn: The Symphonies. London: The Tantivy Press (1976): 128
  9. ^ Andreas Kluge, liner notes for George Szell's recording with the Cleveland Orchestra for Sony Masterworks, on the Essential Classics series.

External links[edit]