Creation Date: 1760/61· Instrumentation: 2 Ob Fg 2 Hr – Str · Duration: 22’ · Created as Symphony #13.
Symphony No. 11 in E flat major
In distinction to the cyclically similar Symphony No. 5, No. 11 opens with an ornate, triplet-rhythmed Adagio cantabile essentially for the strings alone; it evens begins formally with a trio-sonata-like alternation between second and first violins (No. 18 is similar). The horns have only punctuating notes and harmonic pedals, and the oboes, remarkably, are tacent altogether. They join in for the second movement, Allegro, which begins with a five-note theme that will remind some listeners of the famous four-note 'cantus-firmus' of the finale of Mozart's 'Jupiter' Symphony. Sure enough, it receives overtly contrapuntal treatment in the piano passage of the second group and (especially) at the beginning of the recapitulation. (The same theme appears in three other Haydn symphony finales, always with contrapuntal implications.)
The minuet, in galant, dotted-rhythmed style, features a series of discrete motives in pervasively irregular phrasing; the trio is for strings alone and, unusually, is in the dominant; its three-layered rhythm resembles that in the minor-mode Andante of Symphony N0.4. The finale, like that in No. 5, eschews the usual 3/8 wind-up in favour of a Presto 2/4. It cedes nothing to the 3/8 type in boister-ousness, but unlike them has a full, if hasty sonata-form design.