1793-1794: Haydn: Symphony No. 100 (MILITARY) in G major

WEDNESDAY, October 21, 2020 – 8:04 AM

Symphony No. 100 (MILITARY) in G major, age 61-62

This is the eighth of the twelve London symphonies written by Joseph Haydn and completed in 1793 or 1794. It is popularly known as the Military Symphony.

  • 0:27 Adagio – Allegro, G major: A slow intro is followed by typical sonata form.
  • 7:37 Allegretto, C major: This is a very unusual movement with trumpet fanfares and unusual percussion which you will see and hear HERE. Then HERE they are again! Now, where are they going HERE? Coffee break? Rest room break? Early flight? Pay attention. They come back later!
  • 12:28 Menuetto: Moderato, G major: Haydn’s minuets tended to speed up as he aged, and you can hear the style getting closer and closer to what Beethoven eventually moved do, fast-paced scherzos.
  • 17:34 Presto, G major: Typical jaunty Haydn seems to be the first thing you notice, another toe-tapper. It’s a rondo, so you keep hearing a theme played again and again with different ideas sandwiched in between. It’s in a very fast 6/8 time signature. And there is more unusual percussion here. Those percussion guys are back!


  • two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons
  • two horns, two trumpets
  • timpani, triangle, cymbals, bass drum
  • strings


The nickname “Military” derives from the second movement and the end of the final. There are important trumpet fanfares, and one reminds me of the beginning of the “Wedding March” by Mendelssohn.

Unusual percussion…

It was typical in this time period and long after to use only timpani in the percussion section, so the addition of triangle, cymbals and a bass drum is quite unusual and a lot of fun to listen to.

2 thoughts on “1793-1794: Haydn: Symphony No. 100 (MILITARY) in G major

  1. I like this one. I shouldn’t listen when I’m driving — this one makes me go fast.

    2nd movement is some of my favorite Haydn.

    One possibility for the cymbal and triangle and bass drum is that while this was being written, Turkish things were the rage in Vienna. It sure rubbed off on Mozart, The Abduction from the Seraglio is set in Turkey and is replete with Turkish “flair” which shows up in the form of cymbals and triangles.

    Beethoven wrote, that I know of, two “Turkish” marches* — one is a standalone, the ohter one’s right before they start singing in the last movement in the 9th. The one that Gardiner plays so fast no army on earth could march to it.

    * That standalone is notorious in Latin countries as the basis for the theme to the TV show “El Chavo del Ocho” “The Kid from #8”

    Chances are Haydn was just following then-current fashion?

    (Note that Beethoven also used bass drum in the Turkish March section of the 9th)

Leave a Reply