Symphonies
icon   SYMPHONY 'LA CHASSE' NR.73 IN D-MAJOR   info

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Creation Date: ca. 1781· Instrumentation: Fl 2 Ob 2 Fg – 2 Hr (2 Trp Pk im 4. Satz) – Str · Duration: 24’ · Created as Symphony #77.
Symphony No. 73 in D major ('La Chasse')
This, the latest symphony in this volume, most resembles Haydn's more familiar works from 1782 on. In the massive slow introduction the repeated wind band chords in quavers that accompany the slowly moving initial idea eventually lead to a discrete four note upbeat-downbeat motive, which 'takes over' during the final dominant pedal, ff then piano. The main Allegro theme begins with the identical motive, accompanied by an upbeat variant of the original wind quavers. In a densely argued thematische Arbeit of the sort associated with the contemporaneous String Quartets, op.33, these related motives dominate the entire movement, which thus grows out of its introduction more organically than any other in Haydn until the 'Oxford' Symphony of 1789. However, the Allegro theme begins tentatively: on the subdomin-ant, working round to the tonic only in its fourth bar; and in the violins alone, the full band not entering until the counterstatement. The result is a structural dynamism: the initial instability 'forces' the music ahead, by the time the full band states the tonic we are already in the transition to the second group — and so forth. The consequences continue throughout, most obviously in the development, where Haydn's inimitable silences combine with remarkable harmonic reinterpretations of the three-note upbeat motive (C.F. Cramer, in a laudatory review from 1783, referred to 'difficulties and unexpected progressions that require trained and correct players, and cannot be entrusted merely to good luck'). In a Beethovenian stroke, the recapitulation enters not tentatively, but as a ff climax.
The Andante is based on Haydn's own Lied Gegenliebe, Hob.XXVIa:16, composed in the spring or summer of 1781 but not published until 1784. Except for the arrangement of the keyboard accompaniment for strings, the initial statement is a literal transcription, including the interpolations and postlude for keyboard alone.
The 'motivically' organised minuet resembles that of the String Quartet, op. 33 no. 6, in the same key. It is based on a theme in 1 + 1+2 rhythm, with a characteristic offbeat, lower-neighbour motive in the first two bars that seems derived from a short—short—long motive in the slow introduction(!).The retransition to the reprise lengthens the phrasing to 5+5, while in the reprise proper the chromatic lower neighbours are transferred into the bass, providing an even clearer reminiscence of the introduction. The trio is a duet for oboe and bassoon (the flute eventually joining in); the apparently regular eight-bar phrases are subdivided in unpredictable ways.
The finale is based on the overture to Haydn's La fedeltá premiata, premiered in February 1781; it included trumpets and timpani (omitted in the primary symphony dissemination) and had no repeat of the exposition, which Haydn added later in the autograph. A key character in the opera is Diana, goddess of the hunt; Haydn accordingly based his overture on the standard hunting 'topic' (fast 6/8 with predominantly triadic 'horn' motives, as in Mozart's 'Hunt' Quartet, K458 and Haydn's own 'Hunting' Chorus in The Seasons). Indeed, a theme for the winds (entering late in the first group, after a pause on the dominant) quotes a well-known traditional hunting call, used in various chasse compositions through the century; in hunting manuals it figures as I'ancienne Vue; that is, the first sighting of the stag.3
For the rest, the movement is one of Haydn's most exhilarating: the relentless quaver motion and continual variety of 'topics' yield only occasionally to more relaxed harmonies and piano (still with the quavers underneath). At the end, when I'ancienne Vue returns as a sort of coda (it was withheld from the recapitulation), we expect a grandiose wind-up in the same style; what a surprise when, at the first cadence thereafter, the music suddenly becomes even softer (perden-dosi) and, following a subdominant colouring over a tonic pedal, expires — like the stag? — in peace.
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I. Adagio - Allegro
II. Andante
III. Menuetto e Trio, Allegretto
IV. La Chasse, Presto
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