"Mit dem Hornsignal"
Sinfonien 1764 und 1765
Herausgeber: Horst Walter; Reihe I, Band 4; G. Henle Verlag München
Symphony No. 31 in D major ("Mit dem Hornsignal")
This symphony, too, was written in 1765 and again, because it contains a flute part, before 13 September. It also has parts for four horns (not the normal two), as well as the routine oboes and strings. During two periods in the early to mid 1760s the Esterházy court employed four specialist horn players: from August 1763 to December 1763, when Haydn wrote two symphonies with four horn parts (Nos 13 and 72), and from May 1765 to February 1766. Symphony No.31, therefore, must have been written between May and September 1765. It is a splendidly ostentatious work, displaying the prowess of the horn players to maximum effect in all four movements, whether playing as a quartet or in complementary pairs. The thematic material of the first movement draws not on hunting calls (as in the famous chorus in Haydn's oratorio The Seasons), but on military fanfares and posthorn signals, giving rise in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries to several nicknames of which 'Hornsignal' has remained in common use.
As well as the horn players, other members of the orchestra are given opportunities to shine in what might well be termed, rather ana-chronistically, a concerto for orchestra. The display is at its most systematic in the Finale, a set of seven variations featuring in turn the following instruments and players: oboes (the Kapfer brothers), cello (Weigl, for whom Haydn had written his C major concerto), flute (the hapless Sigl). four horns (Messrs Franz, Steinmüller, Dietzl and Stamitz) solo violin (probably Haydn himself, perhaps Tomasini), tutti and, finally, double bass (Schwenda, for whom Haydn had written a concerto, now lost). The symphony ends with a Presto coda, culminating in the return of the hornsignal from the first movement.
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".
|Flute||Franz Sigl 1761-1773|
|Flute||Zacharias Hirsch 1777-1790|
|Oboe||Michael Kapfer 1761-1769|
|Oboe||Georg Kapfer 1761-1770|
|Oboe||Anton Mayer 1782-1790|
|Oboe||Joseph Czerwenka 1784-1790|
|Bassoon||Johann Hinterberger 1761-1777|
|Bassoon||Franz Czerwenka 1784-1790|
|Bassoon||Joseph Steiner 1781-1790|
|Horn (played violin)||Franz Pauer 1770-1790|
|Horn (played violin)||Joseph Oliva 1770-1790|
|Timpani or Bassoon||Caspar Peczival 1773-1790|
|Violin||Luigi Tomasini 1761-1790|
|Violin (leader 2. Vl)||Johann Tost 1783-1788|
|Violin||Joseph Purgsteiner 1766-1790|
|Violin||Joseph Dietzl 1766-1790|
|Violin||Vito Ungricht 1777-1790|
|Violin (most Viola)||Christian Specht 1777-1790|
|Cello||Anton Kraft 1779-1790|
|Violone||Carl Schieringer 1768-1790|
33 CDs, aufgenommen 1970 bis 1974, herausgegeben 1996 Decca (Universal)
Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra
33 CDs, aufgenommen 1987 bis 2001, herausgegeben 1996
Academy of Ancient Music
10 Doppel- und Triple-CDs aufgenommen und herausgegeben 1990 bis 2000 Decca (Universal)