1769: Haydn: Symphony No. 48 in C major (“Maria Theresia”) (BRASS FANFARE), age 37

Mr. Peabody Says:

Apparently trumpets and timpani were added later, and many conductors don’t use trumpets. But I want them. This has the sound and energy of some much later symphonies. But what about tempo? Fischer is very fast, perhaps too fast. I would really like to hear Giovanni Antonini conduct this.

The difference in total times reflect more the inclusion or omission of repeats than tempos.

Adam Fischer

  1. Allegro 7:30
  2. Adagio in F major 10:18
  3. Menuet & Trio: Allegretto (Trio in C minor, and Eb major) 4:22
  4. Finale: Allegro 4:35

Total time: 26:45

I suppose this is controversial. It’s very fast. But I like the accents and energy. The last movement interests because at one points there is only one single player on a string part.


Total time: 33:08: The 1st movement ends at around 8:00 if the repeat of the development section and recap is not repeated, so it’s about 30 seconds slower.

Note that this version starts with horns.


Total time: 22:57

Note that this version starts with horns.


Total time: 28:30

This starts with trumpets, and this is a more conventional tempo, but I don’t like the sound of the strings because the sound is too fat and not crisp enough.


  • two oboes
  • bassoon
  • two horns (first, third and last movement in C alto, second movement in F)
  • trumpets (added later)
  • timpani (added later)
  • strings


  1. Allegro
  2. Adagio in F major
  3. Menuet & Trio: Allegretto (Trio in C minor)
  4. Finale: Allegro


The work has the nickname “Maria Theresia” as it was long thought to have been composed for a visit by the Holy Roman Empress, Maria Theresa of Austria in 1773. An earlier copy dated 1769 was later found, but the nickname has stuck. The symphony composed for the empress’s visit was most likely No. 50, the one with the absolutely insane horn parts.

Opening brass fanfare:

The first thing I noticed was a trumpet fanfare at the beginning, after no slow intro. And this AFTER reading that some think Haydn added them later. So I checked other versions, and none other had the trumpets. This to me seems incredibly stupid, and I’ll leave it there. I like both ideas, so I would have started with one or the other, then I would have either changed to the other on the repeat, and probably have them doubled on the recap.  After listening to all of Haydn’s symphonies I now that he was way more “out of the box” than anyone playing his music, so with him anything would have been possible.

We have a good record of  the music:

It is one of the very few Haydn symphonies of this period to survive throughout the nineteenth century in various editions.

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