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Creation Date: Aug.-Dez. 1763· Instrumentation: Fl 2 Ob Fg 4 Hr – Str · Duration: 23’ · Created as Symphony #31.
Symphony No. 13 in D major
This remarkable symphony is scored for four horns (rather than two), and also includes an independent flute part and a solo cello in the slow movement. The unforgettable opening, with its seven-part wind chords sustained over the driving, upward-striving string osti-nato, all in very slow harmonic rhythm, is one of the most impressively massive sounds in Haydn's entire output. Nevertheless, this Allegro molto is surprisingly short. The transition, with its violin/flute imitations, leads seamlessly to a second group which is only one phrase long, prolonged by a single deceptive, syncopated continuation. The reprise, though scored as massively as ever, unexpectedly begins piano; but it soon leads to an astonishing climax in which all four horns intone the ostinato motive three times running, each time at a higher pitch.
The Adagio cantabile, a beautiful 'aria' for solo cello and string accompaniment, demands (and rewards) concentrated listening. The vigorous minuet, based on a descending triadic motive, employs sophisticated rhythmic and motivic contrasts often thought characteristic only of late Haydn; the trio, based on a different descending triadic motive, gives the flute its chance to shine. The finale, for those not already familiar with it, begins with a shock: the violins intone the same four-note 'cantus-firmus' motive that dominates the finale of Mozart's much later 'Jupiter' Symphony. Like Mozart's finale, this movement blends sonata form with multiple contrapuntal elaborations of the 'cantus' and its various countersubjects, although Haydn, working here on a smaller scale, uses more rapid-fire alternations between contrapuntal and homophonic textures. Such movements were common; Haydn himself composed related finales in Symphonies Nos. 3 and 25.
I. Allegro Molto
II. Adagio Cantabile
III. Menuet e Trio
IV. Finale, Allegro Molto
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