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Creation Date: London, 2. März. 1795· Instrumentation: 2 Fl 2 Ob 2 Kl 2 Fg – 2 Hr 2 Trp – Pk – Str · Duration: 31’ · Created as Symphony #105.
Hob.I:103 Symphony in E-Flat Major The Drumroll
The second of the three symphonies for the Opera Concerts of the 1795 season, Symphony in E-flat Major (No. 103) took its sobriquet from the slow introduction of the first movement, which consists of a timpani drumroll and a mysterious unison statement in the low strings. This introduction is not merely an intrada to the first movement, but dominates its thematic material and, like a memento, returns shortly before the movement’s close, interrupting the merry 6/8 metre of the first movement. The second movement is in the form of a double variation (there are also passages for solo violins here with which the concert master Viotti demonstrated his brilliance), whose two themes as well as the theme of the finale have been identified as Croatian or Dalmatian folk songs, while the minuet is oriented around Alpine melodies. The finale is a highly elaborate formal experiment: the final movement is monothematic, that is, everything that happens during its development is derived from a single theme, which, moreover, is introduced in its accompaniment by the horns. The London Symphonies had an impact on later composers as a result of the formal problems they posed; Symphony No. 103 had far-reaching consequences for music history, particularly in the conception of the slow introduction of the first movement and the monothematic development of the last.
I. Adagio - Allegro con spirito
II. Andante piu tosto Allegretto
III. Menuetto - Trio
IV. Finale. Allegro con spirito
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