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Creation Date: 1.12.1767· Instrumentation: 2 Ob Fg 2 Hr – Str · Duration: 25’ · Created as Symphony #43.
Symphony No. 35 in B flat major
Although by outward criteria this symphony of late 1767 is entirely unexceptional — it employs a common major key, the customary four-movement sequence, and the standard orchestra of two oboes, two horns, and strings (the winds tacent in the slow movement and trio), and it has no nickname, programmatic or theatrical associations, or overt disruptions of generic conventions or stylistic decorum — it exemplifies throughout the high art of which Haydn was capable in his 'entertainment' mode. The Allegro di molto is based entirely on two contrasting ideas presented at the beginning: a graceful cantabile motive in the strings (interrupted by a horn-instigated fanfare), and a powerful unison theme on a 'galloping' motive. The cantabile idea returns in numerous different contexts; as was his wont, Haydn varies it each time (note especially the eccentric continuations in the second group and, at the beginning of the recapitulation, the striking new form of that horn interruption). The development, a model of its type, is in two parts, which fragment and discuss the two themes in turn.
The sonata-form Andante exhibits the sprightly profundity mixed with eccentricity that is typical of Haydn's non-Adagio slow movements. It begins with a delicious example of tonal wit: though it is in the subdominant key of E flat, the five-bar opening phrase begins in such a way as to imply B flat (which is still resounding in our inner ear), with unexpected consequences at each successive appearance — not least at the very end, where the tonal balance is at last restored. (This is perhaps Haydn's earliest large-scale example of what would soon become a familiar structural witticism: that of ending a movement with its opening phrase.) The vigorous minuet is a masterpiece of subtlety, with unexpected changes of register and phrasing (most obviously in association with the trilled motive first heard in the second measure); the most unexpected is the straightforward piano ending. The Presto finale repeats the beginning = ending ploy; the joke is all the more effective because the three opening 'ham-merstrokes' move up from the tonic to the mediant, such that the movement ends melodically 'off the tonic. The violation of convention is all the stronger because we have already heard 'the same' chords at the end of the exposition — where, however, they remained on the keynote as a conventional afterbeat gesture.
I. Allegro di molto
II. Andante
III. Menuetto e Trio, Un poco allegretto
IV. Finale, Presto
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