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Creation Date: 2. Hälfte 1774· Instrumentation: 2 Ob Fg 2 Hr – Str · Duration: 32’ · Created as Symphony #64.
Symphony No. 57 in D major
Symphony No. 57 begins, unusually, with a slow introduction, by far the longest Haydn had composed up to that time. The ensuing Allegro, unlike the other first movements in this volume, has a quasi-perpetuum mobile texture (in quavers) and a slow harmonic rhythm. It is also very long, especially the exposition; there are not one but two contrasting piano sections, and Haydn is in no hurry (in all these respects it resembles the first movement of No. 42, also in D; see vol.6).
The theme-and-variation Adagio in 6/8 is based on one of Haydn's greatest strokes of genius. The theme comprises two halves; the first half alternates among three contrasting motives: short and pizzicato; short and legato; longer and songlike. In the second half, however, the melodic vein takes over sooner, is extended, and becomes deeper in feeling — until the initial pizzicato returns as the final cadence. The remainder of the movement comprises four variations, which combine gorgeous changes in scoring, filigree figuration for the violins and, towards the end, increased chromatics and thicker textures. But as his final gesture Haydn will repeat the pizzicato cadence one last time.
The minuet, based on a jaunty turn motive, is much extended in its second half, including a distinct coda following the structural cadence. The two last bars skip up through the triad in unison, whereupon, to our surprise, they immediately recur in D minor, as the beginning of the trio — but in such a way that the first four bars sound like a transition, as if the 'real' trio began in its fifth bar and were in B flat. Not until the very end does the form become clear: those first bars in D minor are the beginning of the trio.
The finale is a rollicking Prestissimo; its main theme (featuring another turn motive) seems to be derived from a seventeenth-century Austrian piece titled 'Canzona and Capriccio on the Cackling of Hens and Roosters'.4 The momentum is sustained without interruption, except when Haydn pauses briefly for his trademark fusion of wit and sentiment. About the 'affect' of the ending, however, there can be no doubt.
I. Adagio - Allegro
II. Adagio
III. Menuet e Trio, Allegretto
IV. Finale, Prestissimo
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Joseph Haydn
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