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Creation Date: 1787· Instrumentation: Fl 2 Ob 2 Fg 2 Hr – Str · Duration: 22’ · Created as Symphony #91.
Hob.I:89 Symphony in F Major
Symphony No. 89, also composed in 1787, has always stood in the shadow of its disproportionately more popular G major sister, No. 88. Reserved, cool and conceptually flawless, it is reminiscent of the consummate form of porcelain figures of that era, according to H. C. Robbins Landon. When it is said Joseph Haydn opened the doors to the 18th century salon to let in a bit of fresh air, then for No. 89 he temporarily shut them again. This impression is evoked above all by the sections Haydn reworked from other pieces of music: the andante and the finale are based on the second and third movements of the Fifth Concerto for Two “Lire organizzate” (F Major, Hob. VIIh: 5), which Haydn composed for King Ferdinand of Naples in 1786. In both cases Haydn even retained the key. While he rewrote almost only the instrumentation for the symphony’s andante movement, his measures for the final rondo were more drastic, due specifically to a newly composed F-minor episode which allows a dramatic and passionate accent to interrupt the rococo atmosphere. The opening movement need not understate itself, however. Though with all its momentum of superior reserve, it affords the luxury of a thoroughly transformed reprise in which the elements of exposition return in a new combination.
I. Vivace
II. Andante con moto
III. Menuet e Trio, Allegretto
IV. Finale, Vivace assai
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