"Mit dem Paukenwirbel"
E flat major
Londoner Sinfonien, 4. Folge Herausgeber: Hubert Unverricht; Reihe I, Band 18; G. Henle Verlag München
Hob.I:103 Symphony in E-Flat Major The Drumroll
The second of the three symphonies for the Opera Concerts of the 1795 season, Symphony in E-flat Major (No. 103) took its sobriquet from the slow introduction of the first movement, which consists of a timpani drumroll and a mysterious unison statement in the low strings. This introduction is not merely an intrada to the first movement, but dominates its thematic material and, like a memento, returns shortly before the movement’s close, interrupting the merry 6/8 metre of the first movement. The second movement is in the form of a double variation (there are also passages for solo violins here with which the concert master Viotti demonstrated his brilliance), whose two themes as well as the theme of the finale have been identified as Croatian or Dalmatian folk songs, while the minuet is oriented around Alpine melodies. The finale is a highly elaborate formal experiment: the final movement is monothematic, that is, everything that happens during its development is derived from a single theme, which, moreover, is introduced in its accompaniment by the horns. The London Symphonies had an impact on later composers as a result of the formal problems they posed; Symphony No. 103 had far-reaching consequences for music history, particularly in the conception of the slow introduction of the first movement and the monothematic development of the last.
Analysis of the movements
Due to the unclear time of origin of most of Haydn’s symphonies - and unlike his 13 Italian operas, where we really know the exact dates of premieres and performances - detailed and correct name lists of the orchestral musicians cannot be given. As a rough outline, his symphony works can be divided into three temporal blocks. In the first block, in the service of Count Morzin (1757-1761), in the second block, the one at the court of the Esterházys (1761-1790 but with the last symphony for the Esterház audience in 1781) and the third block, the one after Esterház (1782-1795), i.e. in Paris and London. Just for this middle block at the court of the Esterházys 1761-1781 (the last composed symphony for the Esterház audience) respectively 1790, at the end of his service at the court of Esterház we can choose Haydn’s most important musicians and “long-serving companions” and thereby extract an "all-time - all-stars orchestra".
33 CDs, aufgenommen 1970 bis 1974, herausgegeben 1996 Decca (Universal)
Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra
33 CDs, aufgenommen 1987 bis 2001, herausgegeben 1996