Londoner Sinfonien, 4. Folge
Herausgeber: Hubert Unverricht; Reihe I, Band 18; G. Henle Verlag München
Hob.I:104 Symphony in D Major
Symphony No. 104 originated at the beginning of 1795 in London and is the last of the symphonies Haydn composed; Haydn himself noted on the title page of the handwritten score: “The 12th which I have composed in England.” Its first performance took place in the scope of a benefit concert which Haydn gave on 4 May 1795 in London; it was a component of the programme of the final Salomon Concerts in London in May-June, 1795, before Haydn returned to Vienna and Eisenstadt. Consequently, Symphony No. 104 is not only the crowning of the London Symphony series, but of all of Haydn’s symphonic work. It is the sum of Haydn’s compositional skill not only in regard to counterpoint, but also in the capacity typical of Haydn to harmonise contrapuntal brilliance with a popular musical idiom. The slow introduction, starting in fortissimo in a fanfare-like motive, ushers in an allegro of the greatest density of thematic dovetailing founded on a single thought. The slow movement features harmonic intricacies of a new kind. In its character the fast-paced minuet, a waltz with a trio whose effect is based on the use of solo instruments, deviates entirely from corresponding pieces in preceding symphonies. The bagpipe-like melody with which the finale begins is said to be attributed to a Croatian folk song sung in the Eisenstadt region during Haydn’s time.
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