Symphonies
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Creation Date: 1778/79· Instrumentation: Fl 2 Ob 2 Fg 2 Hr – Str · Duration: 33’ · Created as Symphony #70.
Symphony No. 71 in B flat major
The brief slow introduction masterfully juxtaposes the contrasting topics of 'majesty' (forte unison dotted figures) and 'tenderness' (piano trilled suspensions) — on the identical melodic figure. Its musical content is subtly repeated during the course of the opening Allegro con brio theme. When the vigorous transition paragraph reaches the dominant of the dominant, it suddenly pauses for a ruminative passage that builds up in even crotchets, instrument by instrument and bar by bar. This air of hesitation spills over into the second group proper, Haydn's characteristic vigour not returning until the closing theme. The development soon reaches a stopping point on vigorous bare octaves on D; there follows Haydn's last extended symphonic 'false recapitulation' in the tonic (later examples are always in a different key), veiled by a subtle change in the initial two bars. By way of compensation, the 'true' recapitulation of the first group and transition is much shortened.
The Adagio is a theme and variations movement on an elaborate binary theme consisting entirely of complex five-bar phrases, (5 + 5) + (5 + 5) with each half repeated; at the beginning of the fourth and final strain the winds usher in longer notes and more complex harmonies, to magical effect. Three variations feature, in turn, the first violins in faster note values, solo flute and bassoon against a demisemiquaver countermelody, and basses in triplets. The theme then returns literally, except that at the 'magical' passage the harmonies expand out into a six-four chord on the dominant and fermata, which intro duces a very long written-out cadenza for the full band, followed by a very brief coda.
The minuet contrasts a striding forte theme with a piano answer featuring chromatic neighbours in parallel tenths, which 'take over' in the long second part; in the trio, the oddly phrased seven-bar melody is played by two solo violins in octaves, including a prominent turn figure (which becomes almost too prominent in the second part). The Vivace finale in sonata form features an irregularly developing theme over a constant quaver but harmonically slow-moving bass; it returns (in a variant) for the second group, which closes with a fanfare-like theme for the winds and a witty decrescendo. The development begins abruptly in the remote key of D flat major, with both violin parts in unison (both marked 'per licentiam' in one early source, a type of comment occasionally found in Haydn's autographs); after some 'mystifying' modulations D flat turns itself into C sharp; that is, the third of the dominant of the dominant in G minor, the relative minor. The recapitulation is prepared by one of Haydn's less subtle jokes.
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I. Allegro
II. Adagio
III. Menuet e Trio
IV. Finale, Vivace
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