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Creation Date: 1760/61· Instrumentation: 2 Ob Fg 2 Hr – Str · Duration: 14’ · Created as Symphony #12.
Symphony No. 25 in C major3
This work is almost as unusual as No. 15. It begins with a slow-fast compound movement, followed by a minuet and a fast finale. As in No. 15, the first movement opens with a long Adagio which eventually leads to a fast sonata-form movement. The Adagio is serious, almost 'ecclesiastical' in tone; the opening theme, based on a melody-type common in Austrian mid-century church sonatas, invokes trio-sonata style, unfolding contrapuntally over a 'walking' bass. But as the music proceeds, the topics and textures change constantly, and the Adagio soon proves to be formally and functionally ambiguous as well: like a slow introduction, it heads for the dominant; but unlike any proper introduction, it reaches and prolongs the dominant no fewer than four times, and is altogether much too long for the purpose. It fits no generic pattern.
Not surprisingly, therefore, the cyclic form of the whole symphony is ambiguous. If the Adagio is after all a (long and strange) introduction, the cyclic pattern would be intro/fast-minuet-finale; that is, a 'galant' three-movement form with a minuet in the middle but no slow movement, all three movements in the tonic. If, however, the Adagio were an independent opening slow movement, we would have slow/fast-minuet-finale, as in Nos. 5, 11, 21, 22 and others (see Volumes 1 and 4). But the Adagio is precisely not an independent movement. Symphony No. 25 remains a generic anomaly.
The Allegro molto proper is, like many other C major opening fast movements, in 2/4, with the usual bustling 'festive' air. The minuet in galant style is paired with a concer-tante trio, in which both oboes and horns have their chance to shine. The finale, like that to No. 3, is based on a variant of the four-note 'Jupiter' Symphony motto; here, how
ever, contrapuntal display is at a minimum, with only a single brief imitation (barely audible as such) at the beginning of the development, and a somewhat more elaborate one at the beginning of the recapitulation.
I. Adagio
II. Menuetto e Trio
III. Presto
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Joseph Haydn
The Symphonies

Philharmonia Hungarica
Antal Dorati

33 CDs, aufgenommen 1970 bis 1974, herausgegeben 1996 Decca (Universal)

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Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra
Adam Fischer

33 CDs, aufgenommen 1987 bis 2001, herausgegeben 1996
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Academy of Ancient Music
Christopher Hogwood

10 doppel- und triple-CDs
aufgenommen und herausgegeben 1990 bis 2000
Decca (Universal)

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