Sinfonien um 1770-1774
Herausgeber: Andreas Friesenhagen und Ulrich Wilker; Reihe I, Band 5b; 2013, G. Henle Verlag München
Symphony No. 52 in C minor
The expressive intensity of Symphony No. 52 at times rivals that of the 'Farewell'. The Allegro assai con brio opens with a savage unison theme, irregular both topically and structurally. The long, bewilderingly varied second group contains six paragraphs, of which the third and fifth, uniquely in Haydn, present the 'second theme' twice (much extended on its second appearance); the remainder is as stormy and unstable as the opening. In the development, the contrasts at first function on a much smaller scale; eventually, a longer forte passage leads to a 'false recapitulation' in the subdominant F minor. This soon deviates to a long, ruminating passage based on the second theme, until suddenly a forte retransition in the tonic leads to the recapitulation. This is more or less regular (by Haydn's standards), except that the second appearance of the second theme is further extended, dying away in almost unbearable tension, until the vigorous close.
The sonata-form Andante may at first seem unrelated to its context: it is a lilting 3/8 in C major, whose leisurely main theme even indulges in the trick of ending with its opening phrase. But the transitional paragraph abruptly enters forte, and continues with a series of unexpected and in part destabilizing contrasts. The long second group remains outwardly demure, but the attentive listener will notice subtle chromaticism and irregular phrasings. The development falls into two parts, the first forte and modulating, the second again demure and centring around the relative, A minor. An oddly indirect transition leads to a complete recapitulation.
Now follows an excellent example of the 'exotic' air that Haydn often adopts in minor-mode minuet and trio movements; despite the prevailing piano dynamic, it is uneasily compelling. The trio may seem to function primarily as a contrast, owing to the major mode; but it is based on exactly the
same motive as the minuet, with which it also shares the low tessitura and a certain irregularity of phrasing.
The Presto finale reverts to the instability of the first movement, but in a different manner. It begins with a spare, contrapuntal theme, whose piano dynamic is maintained not only through the counterstatement and transition, but the long initial paragraph of the second group as well. Thus when a forte finally erupts, it ruthlessly drives the remainder of the second group towards the final cadence. The second half is a stunning example of 'conflated' development and recapitulation. It too begins with a long piano paragraph (based on the second theme); the ensuing brief contrapuntal forte leads to the reprise of the piano opening theme much too soon, so that it quickly reverts to the contrapuntal music, now functioning as a 'secondary development'.6 This leads astonishingly to the final, forte paragraph from the exposition; only after an extension and pause on a dissonant chord does the long-lost second theme return in the tonic. It too cannot cadence; only an abrupt series of syncopated chords, which culminate in a shocking 'silent' measure, bring about the forceful conclusion.
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)