Symphonies
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Creation Date: 1757· Instrumentation: 2 Ob Fg 2 Hr – Str · Duration: 13’ · Created as Symphony #1.
Symphony No. 1 in D major
This most familiar of all Haydn's early symphonies begins, unusually, with a rising crescendo (not to be confused with the much longer and less unstable 'Mannheim crescendo'). The opening Presto, for all its unceasing rhythmic drive, includes many different motivic ideas — they are not really 'themes' — and changes of texture: for example, early in the second group in the dominant, the sudden breaking off and contrasting piano texture just when we expect a strong cadence; or the brief, agitated minore episode in contrasting one-and-one-half bar phrases. The brief development fragments and recombines the motives; striking are the horn fanfares that announce the impending recapitulation, which is considerably shortened but otherwise proceeds regularly.
The slow movement establishes once and for all the inimitable sprightly profundity that is so characteristic of Haydn's interior Andantes. It is in sonata form, with a 'surprise' turn to the minor mode and denser counterpoint for the reprise of the opening theme. The concluding Presto similarly exemplifies Haydn's 'brief 3/8' finale style; but the phrasing is irregular and unpredictable throughout.
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I. Presto
II. Andante
III. Presto
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