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Creation Date: Anfang 1763· Instrumentation: 2 Ob Fg 2 Hr – Str · Duration: 18’ · Created as Symphony #27.
Symphony No. 40 in F major
Not only the differing paper-types (see the note on chronology), but also the different styles, suggest that this symphony may represent an after-the-fact combination of originally separate movements. While the opening Allegro and the minuet are typically sym
phonic, the remaining two movements are unique — each, however, in a very different way. The masterful sonata-form Allegro employs 'neutral' thematic material, compact scoring, and continually forward-driving rhythms (except for one curious incident in the second group). The minuet is in free, irregularly phrased two-part counterpoint; the trio features concertante horns and oboes.
The Andante più tosto Allegretto — Haydn at first wrote merely 'Allegretto' - is written for strings alone in bare two-part harmony, 'sempre stacccato e piano', primarily in short, repeated-note motives and sequences. (It would be a sin to disfigure this unique sound with a keyboard continuo.) Was it intended to suggest 'conspiratorial' goings-on? The finale is the only formal fugue in Haydn's entire symphonic output: of the other two finales often cited in this context, that of No. 3 conflates fugue and sonata form, while the severe triple fugue in No. 70 is framed by extensive homophonic sections at either end. Even this movement includes occasional passages in more or less homophonic texture, but the subject (or at least its descending-skip headmotive) is never lost sight of, so that the entire movement indeed derives, fugue-like, from its theme. Although it bristles with contrapuntal artifices, especially strettos, it maintains a jaunty, forward-driving air that is appropriate to its role as a finale.
I. Allegro
II. Andante piu tosto allegretto
III. Menuet e Trio
IV. Finale, Fuga
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Joseph Haydn
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