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Creation Date: 1788· Instrumentation: Fl 2 Ob 2 Fg – 2 Hr 2 Trp – Pk – Str · Duration: 25’ · Created as Symphony #92.
Hob.I:90 Symphony in C Major
In 1788/99 this symphony as well was written on behalf of the Paris Concerts de Loge Olympique basically as a follow-up order to the six Paris Symphonies (Nos. 82-87) and is dedicated to the client, Cote d’Ogny, as are Nos. 91 and 92. As a competent businessman Haydn also simultaneously sold these symphonies to Prince Oettingen-Wallerstein, who was a fervent admirer of Haydn and had commissioned symphonies from him. (To the question of why the prince had only received scores written by a copyist Haydn explained that an eye condition had prevented him from supplying it in his own script.) No. 90 and No. 91 are a little overshadowed by the celebrated Oxford Symphony No. 92 – but completely unjustifiably with regard to the Symphony in C Major, No. 90. All symphonies written directly prior to his time in London basically feature the superior arrangement of all formal details, an external simplicity along with a complex inner structure. The principal theme of the first movement is actually just a cadential phrase anticipated as such in the slow introduction, then, “diverted” with bold sleight of hand, is inserted at the climax of the rapid main section. Here for the first time in the history of symphony the attempt is made to blend a slow introduction and rapid main section with one another. The repetitions forming the main motif of this theme basically permeate everything, taking command of the entire movement and imitated in counterpoint only by a syncopated interjection and interrupted by a figurative and playful secondary theme, which taken together yields an extremely artificial arrangement of the movements. At the end of the movement the principal theme returns to its function as a cadence. The second movement features considerable formal originality: two contrasting parts in major and minor keys which are developed in a kind of double variation. In one of the variations the flute is allowed to play solo. In the finale, a rapid-fire monothematic sonata movement scattered with artistic flourishes of every sort, the coda, the final part, takes up an entire third of the movement. At the beginning of the coda Haydn plays an especially bold “gag” – one of the surprises to be prepared for at all times with him. What it is is not revealed here: when a conductor is determined, an audience at the Wiener Musikverein or Salzburg Festival will fall for the close to Haydn’s symphony, even twice in a row when – as specified - the second part of the finale is repeated!
I. Adagio - Allegro Assai
II. Andante
III. Menuet e Trio
IV. Finale, Allegro assai
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