Symphony No. 98 (Haydn)

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The Symphony No. 98 in B flat major, Hoboken 1/98, is the sixth of the so-called twelve London Symphonies (numbers 93-104) written by Joseph Haydn. It was completed in 1792 as part of the set of symphonies composed on his first trip to London. It was first performed at the Hanover Square Rooms in London on 2 March 1792.


The work is scored for flute, two oboes, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, timpani, strings and keyboard (harpsichord or piano).[1]

The symphony's scoring is singular among Haydn's later symphonies. It requires an obbligato part for harpsichord, which has a prominent eleven-bar solo passage near the end of the finale.[2] Although the harpsichord was often used as a continuo or solo instrument, it was rarely given a prominence of this kind in purely orchestral works. Most likely, Haydn himself played the harpsichord at the premiere.


  1. Adagio - Allegro, 2/2
  2. Adagio, 3/4
  3. Menuetto. Presto, 3/4
  4. Finale. Presto, 6/8

The introduction to the main theme is in B-Flat minor, and consists primarily of an upwards broken chord, followed by a downward motion. This structure is used by Haydn in the primary theme of the movement, although this time in B-Flat Major. The main theme is rather long, consisting of a triumphant tail followed by a recurrence of the head. The music then transposes to the dominant, where the second theme is played, and, as most Haydn works, is very similar to the primary theme. The development circles around the head of the primary theme. In the recapitulation, the head of the theme is boldly stated with most of the orchestra.

The Adagio is alluded to in the Agnus Dei of the Harmoniemesse.[3]


  1. ^ Steinberg, Michael. "The Symphony: a listeners guide". p. 225-229. Oxford University Press, 1995.
  2. ^ Hodgson, Antony, "The Music of Joseph Haydn: The Symphonies", p. 138
  3. ^ p. 662 (2008) Heartz


  • Heartz (2009) Daniel. New York. Mozart, Haydn and Early Beethoven: 1781 — 1802 W. W. Norton & Co.

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