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Creation Date: (Frühjahr) 1763· Instrumentation: 2 Ob Fg 2 Hr – Str · Duration: 14’ · Created as Symphony #28.
Symphony No. 16 in B flat major
The terseness and concentration of this work seem to confirm the hypothesis of its origins c. 1762-63, rather than earlier, The opening Allegro begins technically (if not stylistically) like a fugue, with a formal presentation of two themes in double counterpoint. But the third entry bursts in forte, and Haydn soon abandons the fugal pretence and sets off on a sonata-style exposition. The brief, tonally unstable development reverts to the contrapuntal material and even adds a new counter-subject, but the forte homophonic music interrupts all the sooner.
The Andante features a solo cello, doubling the unison violins an octave below in the tenor range; the ravishing effect comes through only with an appropriately small early-instrument ensemble performing without keyboard continuo. Although the texture and rhythm are uniform, the irregular phrase-lengths anad unexpected cadences of the opening cast a glow of wit over the entire movement. The finale is a rollicking 6/8 romp; humorous indeed is the beginning of the development, when the main theme finally pretends to be 'regular' — but only until the sixth bar. And the recapitulation begins with one of Haydn's earliest overtly 'joking' returns; nor is it by any means his worst.
I. Allegro
II. Andante Ma Non Troppo
III. Finale, Presto
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