Sinfonien um 1775/76
Herausgeber: Sonja Gerlach und Wolfgang Stockmeier; Reihe I, Band 8; G. Henle Verlag München
Symphony No. 61 in D major
No better example of the unassuming art that animates Haydn's symphonies of the middle 1770s could be found than this lovely work, which even the great Haydn scholar Jens Peter Larsen dismissed as 'pleasant and unpretentious'. That it is pleasant, nobody will deny. Its opening theme, like that of No.53, combines rapid surface activity and slow-moving harmony; as the movement proceeds we realize that this block-like phrase organization is characteristic. But this, along with the entertaining rondo finale based on a 'hornpipe' theme in 6/8 time, are virtually its only features that can be called unpretentious, and even then only in the sense of 'unassuming', not modest or conventional. Indeed the block-like passages eventually become memorable; see the quavers for the winds at the beginning of the second group, and especially the closing theme, whose quavers become four octaves deep in oboes and horns and thus 'surround' the strange, chromatically rising semibreve melody.
The Adagio features the earliest example of an important thematic type in late Haydn slow movements: the 'beautiful', hymn-like melody in triple time. For this gorgeous movement, with its expressive transition and positively Schubertian second theme, the epithet 'unpretentious' is wildly inappropriate. The minuet begins conventionally enough, but its second part is much extended in unexpected ways; the trio features an oboe solo. As for the finale, the only appropriate response is to laugh aloud but, as everyone knows, this is just when Haydn is at his least innocent.
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"