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Creation Date: 1. Hälfte 1764· Instrumentation: 2 Ob Fg 2 Hr – Str · Duration: 20’ · Created as Symphony #32.
Symphony No. 23 in G major
The more conventional movement pattern of fast, slow, minuet and fast is used in this third symphony from 1764. The opening Allegro, in triple time, has a touch of haughty swagger to its main theme, but Haydn's players as well as Prince Nicolaus, who was a discerning musician, would have taken great delight too in the syntax of the music: a series of three-bar phrases that makes the more regular phrasing that follows seem gauche at first; this whimsicality is intensified in the development section where the music is broken down into one-bar units. The unorthodoxies of the following movement, scored for strings alone, are more obvious, as the quiet progress of the folk-like tune is broken and the scalic flourishes in the bass instruments become more prominent. The Menuet and Trio are both very concentrated movements, the first a canon between treble and bass instruments, the second an imitative discourse on a motif derived from the minuet. Whereas most finale movements in Haydn's symphonies consist of forte passages relieved by piano passages (as in No. 28), in this Finale the composer has the ingenious idea of doing the very opposite; piano is the predominant dynamic and the symphony ends not with a bang but with an apologetic whimper.
I. Allegro
II. Andante
III. Menuetto e Trio
IV. Presto assai
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