Symphonies
icon   SYMPHONY 'LA ROXELANE', 'ROXOLANA' NR.63 IN C-MAJOR   info

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Creation Date: Ende 1779· Instrumentation: Fl 2 Ob 2 Fg 2 Hr – Str · Duration: 22’ · Created as Symphony #74.
Symphony No. 63 in C major ('La Roxelane')
Of all the symphonies in this volume, this one most clearly exemplifies Haydn's 'entertainment' mode of the late 1770s, offering 'easy', interesting, varied pleasure. All the movements are in the major, instantly apprehensible, lightly textured; they move within familiar styles and conventions and include few moments of expressive intensity. In the beginning of the first movement, the contrasts of dynamics, instrumentation, and texture between the opening theme and its counter-statement are crystal-clear, such that the more rapid and complex contrasts that follow are intelligible as well. The second group, which enters without transition, falls into a series of block-like, again internally contrasting, phrases which occasionally resemble the opening movement of Symphony N0.82 'The Bear', in the same key and metre. The development restricts itself to closely-related keys and avoids remote or 'difficult' modulations; on the other hand it is unusually long in proportion to the exposition, with extensive repetition of thematic blocks; Haydn compensates for this with extensive cuts in the recapitulation.
The Allegretto is a double variation movement (A—B—AI—BI—A2—B2) on a sprightly tune which the sources label 'La Roxelane'; it is not known whether it was drawn from incidental music Haydn composed for Favart's play in 1777 or newly composed in 1779. Although the usual modal organisation is reversed — the 'main' theme is in C minor, the contrasting one in the major — the major predictably wins out in the end. The final minor variation slightly alters the harmonies and phrase rhythm, while the full-band scoring of the repeated final major strains resembles the conclusions of more elaborate variation movements in C major and duple metre in the 'Surprise', 'Military' and 'Drum Roll' Symphonies.
The galant minuet may sound old-fashioned, but there is nothing 'pat' about Haydn's play with the piano 'Scotch snap' motive first heard at the end of the initial strain; the trio is a duet for oboe and bassoon accompanied
by pizzicato strings. The sonata-form finale, by contrast, includes numerous disruptions and stylistic mixtures: outbursts on remote sonorities, an harmonically indirect retrans-ition to the recapitulation, and even some four-part counterpoint in the development. These events might suggest that Haydn was violating his implied generic orientation of 'pure' entertainment, except that they are merely juxtaposed with other 'easy listening' passages, rather than being integrated into the movement as a later aesthetic would have demanded.
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I. Allegro
II. Allegretto (O Piu Tosto Allegro)
III. Menuetto
IV. Finale, Presto
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