SATURDAY, October 31, 2020 – 8:38 AM
Haydn London Symphonies
The first set
The nickname is mine. Nicknames help. They really do. This one is famous for a really loud bassoon note in the 2nd movement that truly sounds like a fart. It is as outrageous and unexpected as the really loud chord in the “Surprise” symphony.
There is a sudden loud chord at the end of the otherwise soft opening theme of the 2nd movement. The music then returns to its original quiet dynamic as if nothing has happened.
There is no nickname for this, so I’m giving one. It was very unusual for Haydn to have written anything with a strongly minor feel, also true of Mozart. So his choice of a minor key here is important. That said, a lot of the 1st movement is in the relative major key of Eb major
A chandelier fell from the ceiling of the concert hall in which it was performed during his 102nd symphony, but this incident wrongfully was attached to this symphony. The audience escaped unharmed, supposedly because they had rushed the stage to get a better view of Haydn. It was long believed that this “miracle” event took place at the premiere of his Symphony No. 96, which had happened in 1791, but in fact it appears to have happened at the premiere of his 102nd symphony.
Beethoven liked this one, enough to play to base a symphony on it. It was used as a model for a symphony in C major he never completed. This confirms my guess that Beethoven was familiar with a lot of these late Haydn symphonies and was impressed by them, as he should have been. It has no nickname.
Mozart died in 1891, and when Haydn used his themes in this and other compositions, it was always a tribute. He was around 24 years older than Mozart, and he was shocked at his early death.
I don’t have a nickname for this yet. I’m working on it.
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. 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.
In the 2nd movement there is a tick-tock theme that is pretty obvious, so that gave this symphony its nickname.
A chandelier fell from the ceiling of the concert hall in which it was performed. The audience escaped unharmed, supposedly because they had rushed the stage to get a better view of Haydn. It was long believed that this “miracle” event took place at the premiere of his Symphony No. 96, which had happened in 1791, but in fact it appears to have happened at the premiere of his 102nd symphony. This is where the real miracle happened.
This symphony is nicknamed The Drumroll after the long roll on the timpani with which it begins.
These are all “London” symphonies, but they gave the name to the last one.