Sinfonien um 1761-1765
Herausgeber: Ullrich Scheideler; Reihe I, Band 2; 2012, G. Henle Verlag München
Symphony No. 39 in g minor
This symphony occupies a special place in two respects: if the revised date of 1765-66 (see the note on chronology and sources) is correct, it is Haydn's earliest symphony that is truly in the minor mode (in the slightly earlier No. 34, only the opening slow movement is in the minor). It is also the only Haydn symphony using four horns that is not in the key of D. Indeed it seems to have instigated an entire series of passionate symphonies in G minor, including two by J.B. Vanhal, one by J.C. Bach (Op. 6, No. 6), and one by Mozart (the 'little' G minor, K183); one of those by Vanhal and the Mozart also use four horns. The horns are pitched by pairs, two in G and two in B flat; this permits their use virtually throughout the G minor scale, as well as in passages set in the relative major. Oddly, however, in distinction to Haydn's D major symphonies with four horns, the two pairs almost never play together in four-part harmony, but usually alternate according to the harmony; even the soloistic B-flat horns in the trio are (by Haydn's standards) routine. Hence the effect is not much different from that obtainable by only two horns pitched a minor third apart, such as we find in most of Haydn's later minor-mode symphonies.
The Allegro assai begins with a quiet four-bar theme that ends provocatively on the dominant, with a pregnant pause; it is followed still more provocatively by a six-bar continuation for the violins alone that again ends on the dominant, this time a bare octave, with another pregnant pause. Neither the rushing second group nor the impressive development centring round an elaborate contrapuntal passage can compromise the unsettling effect of this beginning; it stands as a psychological motto over the whole movement (and leads to the expected 'surprises' in the retransition and recapitulation). The charming Andante in 3/8 stands, unusually, in the submediant (E flat); this was Mozart's favorite key-relation in minor-key works, while Haydn usually chose the relative major or the tonic major. It has been unjustly criticized for its 'shallowness' in the context of a minor-key symphony, but this seems anachronistically Romantic: there is no law that every Haydn minor-mode symphony must create a 'through-composed' effect like that found in the 'Farewell' or No. 44 in E minor. The movement boasts subtle and witty effects aplenty, and an unexpected codetta at the end. The trio of the minuet features the oboes and horns; the main part exhibits Haydn's astringently bare two-part writing, here spiced by pungent Balkanisms (the raised fourth scale-degree). The finale, Allegro di molto, contrasts with the opening movement in having no leisure for provocations. It is passionate throughout (note the 'wide-leap' motives in the opening theme, argued by Sisman to be another 'theatrical' effect), and rushes through a brief, whirlwind sonata form that slackens the pace only in the most unlikely place: the first half of the development.
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)
Hob.I:22 "Der Philosoph"
Hob.I:48 "Maria Theresia"
Hob.I:64 "Tempora mutantur"
Hob.I:63 "La Roxelane"
Hob.I:85 "La Reine"
Hob.I:83 "La Poule"