1786: Haydn: Symphony No. 85 in Bb major

FRIDAY, November 13, 2020 – 2:18 AM

1786: Haydn: Symphony No. 85 in Bb major, age 54

The Symphony No. 85 in B♭ major, Hoboken I/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).

The 85th Symphony was completed in either 1785 or 1786. 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.

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.


  • flute, two oboes, two bassoons
  • two horns
  • strings

Antal Dorati

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.



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