Creation Date: London, 3. März 1794· Instrumentation: 2 Fl 2 Ob 2 Kl 2 Fg – 2 Hr 2 Trp – Pk – Str · Duration: 29’ · Created as Symphony #102.
Hob.I:101 Symphony in D Major
Symphony No. 101, The Clock, is one of Joseph Haydns most played and most popular works. It was performed for the first time during the 1794 concert season. Following a mysterious D-minor introduction which already anticipates the direction of movement of the principal theme the first movement is a light-footed presto in six-eight time. The secondary theme proves to be more a variant than a contrast; the development is a surprisingly contrapuntal. The piece took its sobriquet from the ticking, the movement of a metronome-like ostinato accompaniment on the bassoon and the string pizzicato in the second movement, a grand form of song with elements of variation. The minuet is borrowed from the flute-clock pieces of 1793; the dissonant beginning seems to owe itself to a musical jest on the part of the composer: like musicians who sleep through the harmonic change in the accompaniment (Beethoven also develops his Pastoral with similar effects in the scherzos village musician scene much later). The finale is an extremely elaborate sonata rondo, the developmental sections of which are interspersed with fugati; without exaggerating, this finale can be called one of the summits of Haydns compositional mastery which in this case consists less of demonstrated erudition, but of the unassuming way in which this scholar inserts the presto finale. Haydn composed Symphony No. 101 in the scope of his second trip to England. It emerged in two stages: the second to fourth movements still in Vienna, the first movement in England. Its premiere performance took place on 3 March 1794. The Morning Chronicle reports after its first performance: Nothing can be more original than the subject of the first movement; and having found a happy subject, no one knows like Haydn how to produce incessant variety without once departing from it. Thought extremely simple, the arrangement of the accompaniment in andante was ingenious, and never before had we heard a more delightful effect than the trio in the minuet. - It was Haydn; what can we, what need we say more? The sobriquet The Clock stems from the Vienna publisher Johann Traeg, who published a piano version of the andante as Rondo. The Clock in 1798. To some extent such sobriquets can elicit an exaggerated degree of expectation, however. Thus Jacob (1952) reports of an incident following the performance of the symphony in 1928 in Vienna by the Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini: one of the listeners lamented in the artists room that he did not hear the clock except for in the andante. He had expected to hear tone painting with a persistent clock-related theme, thus a story of the clock, and felt highly disappointed.
I. Adagio - Presto
III. Menuet. Allegretto - Trio
IV. Finale. Vivace
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Philharmonia Hungarica Antal Dorati
33 CDs, aufgenommen 1970 bis 1974, herausgegeben 1996