Symphonies
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Creation Date: 1786?· Instrumentation: Fl 2 Ob 2 Fg – 2 Hr 2 Trp – Pk – Str · Duration: 25’ · Created as Symphony #89.
Symphonies Hob.I:82-87

Since the late 1760’s Haydn was no longer an unknown in Paris. Paris was one of the cities in which his instrumental works were regularly performed. Many of Haydn’s symphonies were published at Paris printing houses on into the middle of the 1780’s. In 1784 the newly established Paris Concerts de la Loge Olympique commissioned the composer, who was staying at faraway Eszterháza, to write six grand symphonies for its concert events. The so-called Paris Symphonies (Nos. 82-87), which Joseph Haydn wrote in 1785-86 at the request of the organiser of the Paris Concerts de la Loge Olympique, Comte D’Ogny, are the first sequence of symphonies explicitly designed as a cycle after the Esterhàzy symphonies for the “times of the day” (Matin, Midi, Soir) in 1761 and also represent an important chapter in Haydn’s ascent to European calibre: apart from symphonies 76-78 of 1782, which were envisioned for a trip to England that never came to fruition, the Paris Symphonies are the first which Haydn did not compose for the Esterházy Orchestra. If at Eszterháza Haydn had an average of 22 musicians available to him including 15 or 16 strings, the Paris orchestra had more than 40 violins, ten contrabasses and four times the number of wind instruments, thus an orchestral size likely available to every theatre or orchestral concert organiser today. Only a reference can be made here to the Haydn Academy’s considerations in this regard, which are found in another place of this programme booklet. In terms of style the Paris Symphonies also mark a qualitative leap in Haydn’s symphonic body of work. Haydn could now assert himself in an “international arena.” The secular and extroverted quality of this cycle of works, which embodies the still intact world of the French court – it is the world of Marie Antoinette – is probably attributed to this. The date of the handwritten manuscript shows that No. 83, No. 87 and probably also No. 85 were composed in 1785, No. 82, No. 84 and No. 86, however, in 1786. The sequence of “official” numbering attributed to the first Vienna edition (Wiener Erstausgabe, Artaria 1887) and adopted by the old complete edition (Alte Gesamtausgabe) and Hoboken catalogue (Hoboken Verzeichnis) was not the one Haydn had originally intended. In Haydn’s letter (composed in his incomparable orthography) to the Viennese publishing house Artaria dated 2 August 1787, after he had sent the manuscripts to the publisher, he explicitly called the publisher’s attention to the correct sequence – which the publisher then failed to follow: “Last time I forgot to indicate the order of the symphonies, which should be engraved as follows: Symphony in A No. 1, in B Flat No. 2, in G [minor] No. 3, in E-Flat No. 4, in D No. 5 in C No. 6,” or translated in the numbering commonly used: Nos. 87, 85, 83, 84, 86, 82. Three of the Paris Symphonies received sobriquets that have stuck: No. 82, L’Ours, No. 83, La Poule and No. 85, La Reine de France. As a more or less direct result of the initial commission, the subsequent five symphonies (Nos. 88-92) were originally intended for Paris as well. Nos. 88 and 89 were composed in 1787 and are among the works Joseph Haydn gave the Esterházy violinist Johann Tost on his journey to Paris so he could make a name for himself there, but also very likely because Haydn wanted to keep the interest of the Parisians in his compositions alive after the Paris Symphonies (Nos. 82.87). Nos. 90-91were written by Haydn in 1788/89 at the behest of the Loge Olympique in Paris basically as a follow-up to the six Paris Symphonies Nos. 82-87 and are dedicated to the original client, the Comte d’Ogny. At the same time, Haydn, a competent businessman, had also sold these symphonies to Prince Oettingen-Wallerstein, a fervent admirer of Haydn who commissioned symphonies from him. (To the question of why the prince only received scores written by a copyist Haydn explained that an eye condition had prevented him from delivering it in his own script.) No. 92, the famous Oxford Symphony, was originally composed in the scope of this commission, then apparently completed too late. Haydn then used it in 1792 for the celebration for the conferring of his honorary doctorate in Oxford and in this way it forms the direct link to the subsequent London Symphonies (Nos. 93-104), which represent the crowning conclusion of Haydn’s body of symphonic work. Hob.I:82 Symphony in C Major L’Ours (The Bear) The first of the Paris Symphonies, No. 82, did not originate before 1786 – contrary to its “official” numbering as the first of the cycle – and is actually No. 6 based on the date of the handwriting. Due to its key of C major and the large orchestra it is outwardly splendid, but balanced “from within” by enormous energy and extremely tight organisation. While it is “only” a triadic theme with which the movement begins – through artificially arranged contrasts both small and great (the dance-like secondary theme), Joseph Haydn manages to create a magnificent symphonic movement out of this material. The second movement represents the double variation, an extremely popular model in Europe at the time. It consists of two segments in F major and F minor, variations of which are alternately developed. The form of this movement could be iterated in alphabetic symbols as follows: A. It was from its finale that the symphony received its sobriquet, L’Ours (The Bear), in France. Indeed the principle theme of the final movement, which represents a type of “street-corner amusement” or bagpipe melodies with their low sustained droning, calls a plethora of colourful associations to mind (the dancing bear in a circus performance, for example). The actual wit of the movement, however, is the mastery with which Haydn blends this inflexible dance theme with elaborate contrapuntal segments out of which extended parts of the piece are made up – as if it were nothing out of the ordinary.
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I. Vivace assai
II. Allegretto
III. Menuetto e Trio
IV. Finale, Vivace
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