Creation Date: 1768· Instrumentation: Fl 2 Ob Fg 2 Hr – Str · Duration: 26’ · Created as Symphony #47.
Symphony No. 41 in C major
In distinction to No. 38 (in the same key), this work eschews all staginess in favour of unmediatedly symphonic style. The opening Allegro con spirito in 3/4 moves from cantabile phrases initiated by short, isolated forte attacks to a grand continuation; the second group recalls that of No. 35 in its rushing, tremolo, rhythmically unstable character. The development is one of Haydn's first to make an aesthetic point of the 'immediate reprise' ( a statement of the main theme in the tonic towards the beginning of the development, before the real action gets under way); this was a precursor of his better-known 'false recapitulations'. The movement ends with a brief, climactic codetta; another example of Haydn's increasing tendency, during these years, to expand the normal symmetry of the sonata-like forms.
The delicate and subtly expressive Andante features an elaborate flute solo, supported for much of its course by the other winds (the first oboe also has real melodic stature). It is one of Haydn's first slow movements to include the horns, and to mute the violins (both soon became standard practice). The minuet adopts a deliberate, galant, downbeat-oriented style, with (again) paired oboes and horns in the trio. The finale is a winning perpetuum mobile on a jig-motive (2/4 metre, but with constant triplets as if in 6/8), with a rhythmically intricate second phrase and an occasional pretence at counterpoint; like the opening movement, it closes with a fortissimo codetta extension not heard in the exposition.