Symphony No. 85 (Haydn)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Marie Antoinette, the queen for whom the 85th Symphony is nicknamed

The Symphony No. 85 in B flat major, Hoboken 1/85, is the fourth of the six "Paris" symphonies (numbers 82-87) written by Joseph Haydn. It is popularly known as La Reine (The Queen).


Main article: Paris symphonies

The 85th Symphony was completed in either 1785 or 1786.[1] It made its way to America early on, at first through a keyboard arrangement such as one played by Nelly Custis at the White House.[2]

Nickname (La Reine)[edit]

The nickname La Reine originated because the work was a favorite of Marie Antoinette, at the time Queen of France.[3] It is the only one of the Paris symphonies whose nickname is of 18th-century origin.[4]


The symphony is in standard four movement form and is scored for flute, two oboes, two bassoons, two horns, and strings.

  1. AdagioVivace
  2. Romance: Allegretto
  3. Menuetto: Allegretto
  4. Finale: Presto

The first movement contains a reference to Symphony No. 45.[5] The second movement is described by H. C. Robbins Landon as "a set of variations on the old French folk-song 'La gentille et jeune Lisette';[6] see Haydn and folk music.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Robbins Landon 1963, xv
  2. ^ Kirk, 1986, 18
  3. ^ Steinberg (1995, 204)
  4. ^ Bernard Harrison, Haydn: The 'Paris' Symphonies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (1998): 101
  5. ^ Harrison, 88
  6. ^ Robbins Landon 1963, xvii


  • Robbins Landon, H. C. (1963) Joseph Haydn: Critical Edition of the Complete Symphonies, Universal Edition, Vienna
  • Steinberg, Michael (1995) The Symphony: A Listeners Guide. Oxford University Press.
  • Harrison, Bernard Haydn: The "Paris" Symphonies (Cambridge University Press, 1998)
  • Kirk, Elise K. Music at the White House: A History of the American Spirit (University of Illinois Press, 1986)