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Creation Date: - 8. Nov. 1784· Instrumentation: Fl 2 Ob 2 Fg 2 Hr – Str · Duration: 25’ · Created as Symphony #81.
Hob.I:81 Symphony in G Major
Although it is easy “to explain” in the framework of harmonic theory, for listeners at that time the beginning of Symphony No. 81 must have sounded fairly alien: over the tonic G in the repeated eighth notes of the basses the dissonant F is heard first, over which the suspended dissonant C is ushered in. The sound is only defined with the resolution of this C after B-natural, the various notes forming a seventh after the subdominant C major. It is undoubtedly this unusual edifice of principal themes which form the experimental centre of this entire first movement of Symphony No. 81: in the development Haydn uses increasingly bolder variants of appoggiaturas and “alien” harmonies. Like most of the introductory movements of the preceding symphonies No. 81 also has a “correct” reprise; the principle theme, which is simply passed over at this point, is heard again in its “original form” as a coda at the end of the movement. In the character of a siciliano, the second movement presents a mix consisting of variations and a tripartite melodic form, or a simple variation – the varying element consisting only of the figural play on the principle melody - in which a contrasting minor episode is inserted that has only remotely to do with the variation’s theme. The closing movement is a sonata movement again, its composition brisk and light with no stumbling blocks for intellectually challenged ears.
I. Vivace
II. Andante
III. Allegretto
IV. Finale, Allegro, ma non troppo
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