Sinfonien 1773 und 1774
Herausgeber: Wolfgang Stockmeier; Reihe I, Band 7; G. Henle Verlag München
Symphony No. 54 in G major (second version)
As stated in the Historical and Chronological Notes, this is the last, most heavily scored version of this symphony. The Adagio introduction is longer than before, and colours the obligatory 'majesty' topic in a complex manner. The main theme of the opening Presto features the horns and obbligato bassoon over an ostinato motif in the strings. The exposition is brief; the second group in the dominant enters without transition and features a variety of short, active themes. Haydn compensates in the development which, unusually, is longer than the exposition. It is based primarily on the ostinato motif, which is led through a variety of keys, including an unexpectedly radiant E major after a general pause; eventually a fugato leads to the retransition which surprisingly is the climax of the entire development. Towards the end, a 'surprise' deceptive resolution onto a diminished-seventh chord leads to an expanded cadence.
The Adagio assai (an unusually slow tempo for Haydn) may be his longest instrumental movement. Such long, deeply felt, mostly quiet slow movements in sonata form had first become a 'type' for Haydn during his 'Sturm und Drang' period. The triplet figuration, sometimes imitative, sometimes spun out over static harmonies, becomes almost hypnotic: an other-worldly vision that is scarcely ruffled by the ominous repeated unisons at the beginning of the development. In the recapitulation this figure unexpectedly turns to the minor and leads astonishingly to a six-four chord and a written-out cadenza for both violin parts. Following this, the rustic minuet, with its insouciant grace-notes, seems almost raucous; the effect is not really dispelled by the quiet answering phrase, since Haydn reverts to forte for the cadence. By contrast, the trio, scored for strings alone with the bassoon doubling the melody, is all elegance.
The finale, though also marked Presto, is not as fast as the opening movement. Its opening
theme has a fast, syncopated accompaniment and ends oddly with a bump; these features foreshadow the many off-beat accents and longer syncopated passages later on. The movement is in broadly laid-out sonata form, with full transitions and a quiet, contrasting second theme. The retransition is one of Haydn's better jokes: the quiet second theme enters in a foreign key, as if we were still deep within the development, but it is harmonised with a chromatically descending bass that drifts sequentially towards the tonic; five bars later the recapitulation is suddenly in full swing.
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"