Creation Date: 1758/60· Instrumentation: 2 Ob Fg 2 Hr – Str · Duration: 18’ · Created as Symphony #8.
Symphony No. 20 in C major
This is one of the two festive C major symphonies in this volume. As in many of these works, the opening Allegro molto is in the otherwise unusual 'finale' metre of 2/4; it is more regular and 'predictable' in form than most Haydn symphonic allegros. The slow movement is in an unusual serenade style, Andante cantabile alla breve, with a uniform texture (regular melodic phrases, crotchet accompaniment, and pizzicato bass), and only a slight broadening and quickening towards
the end of each half. To paraphrase Tovey, there is no fault in the movement, but one is grateful that Haydn did not often adopt this style. The minuet, with an upbeat, implies a relatively fast tempo for this period; the trio is in the subdominant. The finale, another 3/8 Presto, is an unusually long da capo structure of 244 bars (admittedly with written-out repeats); again, unusually, both the 'A' and the minore 'B' sections execute miniature sonata-forms, including complete tiny 'developments'.