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Creation Date: Ende 1765 (Wende 1765/66)· Instrumentation: 2 Ob Fg 2 Hr – Str · Duration: 23’ · Created as Symphony #40.
Symphony No. 28 in A major
One of the features that distinguishes Haydn, even in this comparatively early stage in his career, from Ordonez, Gassmann, Dittersdorf and other contemporaries is his ability to create a focussed musical argument with the minimum of material. At the end of his life the composer told his biographer, Griesinger: 'Once I had seized upon an idea, my whole endeavour was to develop and sustain it in keeping with the rules of art'. The first movement of this A major symphony from 1765 provides a perfect early example of Haydn's approach; hardly a bar in the movement does not feature the four-note anacrusic figure heard at the beginning. There are some harmonic surprises too, when, in the recapitulation, a solo oboe leads the music into a digression into the minor key. The Poco Adagio is scored for muted strings alone with the melody played by first and second violins in a low register, except for some punctuating phrases played in thirds in a higher register. Different orchestral colours catch the ear in the Menuet: bariolage, that is the oscillation of the same pitch on two different strings, and in the Trio, a severe sounding A minor as the music moves around a restricted range of chords in an almost aimless way. The last movement is a hectic 6/8 scamper.
I. Allegro di molto
II. Poco adagio
III. Menuetto e Trio, Allegro molto
IV. Presto assai
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