1761: Haydn: Symphony No. 5 in A major (ADAGIO HIGH HORN), age 29

Mr. Peabody Says:

This may be a companion to #11, which is also a “church sonata”. In such symphonies all movements are in the same key and alternate between slow and fast for four movements.

Adam Fischer:

  1. Adagio ma non troppo
  2. Allegro
  3. Menuet and Trio
  4. Presto


  • 2 oboes
  • bassoon
  • 2 horns
  • strings
  • continuo

Church sonata:

Haydn composed a few early symphonies that had four movements that went slow – fast – slow – fast. This form is called a “”church sonata”, but by the time of Haydn it was not played in churches. So when you see the first movement marked “adagio”, and it’s long, the symphony is probably a church sonata. Symphony No. 11 is similar.

High horns:

The opening slow movement and the trio in the third movement feature very high horn parts. Such horn parts are incredibly difficult to play, so the horn players who worked for Haydn must have been incredibly good. Since those horn players had to used natural horns – no valves – their skill was off the chart.

Morzin or Esterhazy?

This is believed to have been written between 1760 and 1762, so the time of composition is not exact. So Haydn wrote this either at the end of his time with Morzin or right when he started his new job.

2 thoughts on “1761: Haydn: Symphony No. 5 in A major (ADAGIO HIGH HORN), age 29”

  1. I was particularly interested in hearing the high horn parts, which I did. It would have been interesting to compare it to the horns without valves. I believe, some time ago, you sent some recordings of groups using those horns.

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