Symphony No. 90 (Haydn)

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Symphony No. 90 in C major, Hoboken I/90, was written by Joseph Haydn in 1788 as part of a three-symphony commission by Comte d'Ogny for the Concerts de la Loge Olympique.[1] It is occasionally referred to as The Letter R – referring to an older method of cataloguing Haydn's symphonic output.[citation needed]


The symphony is in standard four-movement form and scored for flute, two oboes, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, timpani, continuo (harpsichord) and strings.

  1. AdagioAllegro assai, 3
  2. Andante, 2
  3. Menuetto: Allegretto, 3
  4. Finale: Allegro assai, 2

The second movement is in double variation form.

The finale contains one of Haydn's more famous jokes. Soon after the recapitulation starts, the music arrives at a rousing and unexpected "ending" in C major followed by four measures of silence which leads the audience to believe the symphony may have actually finished. Instead, the first theme quietly resumes in the remote key of D major.[2]


  1. ^ Brown, A. Peter, The Symphonic Repertoire (Volume 2). Indiana University Press (ISBN 0-253-33487-X), pp. 232–233 (2002).
  2. ^ The Cambridge Companion to Haydn, edited by Caryl Leslie Clark. Cambridge University Press, 2005 ISBN 0-521-83347-7.


  • Robbins Landon, H. C. (1963) Joseph Haydn: Critical Edition of the Complete Symphonies, Universal Edition, Vienna