Sinfonien um 1770-1774
Herausgeber: Andreas Friesenhagen und Ulrich Wilker; Reihe I, Band 5b; 2013, G. Henle Verlag München
Symphony No. 64 in A major ('Tempora mutantur')
Unlike Symphonies 45-47 and 52, but like No. 51, this work eschews extremes in favour of wit and esprit except in the slow movement. The opening Allegro con spirito begins quietly with a lyrical tune for the strings, unexpectedly joined by a contrasting forte motive for the full band. The continuation varies these contrasts in new ways, and we gradually realize that the entire movement is governed by wit, inventiveness, and unexpected (and often subtle) contrasts: of material, dynamics, instrumentation, and harmonic orientation. The overall effect is not easy to describe.
A contrast of an entirely different sort is provided by the Largo, arguably the most eccentric movement Haydn ever composed. It is presumably the referent of the mysterious nickname for the symphony, 'Tempora mutantur etc.', found on the (later) wrapper of a set of authentic parts now in Frankfurt. This Latin phrase surely refers to the moralising
epigram by the Elizabethan poet John Owen, still familiar in the eighteenth century:
Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis:
Quomode? Fit semper tempore peior homo.
The Times are Chang'd, and in them Chang'd are we:
How? Man, as Times grow worse, grows worse, we see.
It would take an entire article to describe this extraordinary movement adequately. I mention here merely its inability to complete musical phrases properly, its discontinuities of material, dynamics, and register, its refusal to execute an intelligible form (I could go on); most of all, its wilfully strange, almost incoherent ending.
The ensuing minuet necessarily sounds 'normal' in this context. Indeed it is normal (insofar as any Haydn minuet can be); the quirky registral play, 'Scotch snap' motives, and saucy piano return of the first phrase as an envoi fall within his normal practice. But this scarcely applies to the manner in which, in the trio, the minor-mode episode is dovetailed with a 'veiled' return of the initial idea.
The finale, an irregular rondo, again reverts to eccentricity. The main theme is in two parts ('a' and 'b'), each comprising two phrases (of six bars in 'a'); each phrase eight in all, including repetitions ends with an odd unaccompanied afterbeat. Then theme 'b' is developed into a second group in the dominant E major; this suddenly breaks off for theme 'a', just as suddenly changes to a new, 'rocket'-like theme in the minor ('c'), and even more unexpectedly slides back into the tonic for the complete theme-complex, a+b. Just as this is ending, it collides, still more abruptly, with a new and longer episode based on 'c', beginning in F sharp minor; it eventually returns to 'a', as slyly as before. Now 'a' turns into its own minor (A minor), and even pretends to develop contrapuntally (not that anyone is fooled), before returning 'one last time' to a+b, and a playful coda in which Haydn, by his usual 'sharp practice', proves that even 'one last time' can be an illusion.
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)