Sinfonien um 1775/76
Herausgeber: Sonja Gerlach und Wolfgang Stockmeier; Reihe I, Band 8; G. Henle Verlag München
Symphony No. 69 in C major ('Laudon')
More than any other in this volume, this symphony epitomises the 'easy listening' aspect of Haydn's art in this period. The nickname is that of a famous Austrian Field Marshal; it was not Haydn's idea to attach it to this work, but that of his publisher Artaria, for an arrangement for solo keyboard. But Haydn did, rather cynically, approve it:
The last or fourth movement ... is not practicable for the keyboard, nor do I find it necessary to include it; the word 'Laudon' will aid the sale more than any ten finales.
The work is in the major mode throughout, instantly accessible and lightly textured; it moves within familiar styles and conventions and includes few moments of expressive intensity; the large sections, thematic groups, transitions, and so on, are crystal clear. The opening of the first movement resembles that of the better-known Symphony No. 48, 'Maria Theresia' (c.1768), in the same key, but its course is, again, easier to follow; even the development adumbrates no remote keys and does not so much as hint at contrapuntal complexity.
The slow movement, while equally straightforward, is by contrast decidedly eccentric. Its rising triadic theme in repeated notes immediately dissolves into meandering semiquavers, which however prove unable to leave the tonic. Only when the bass takes them over does a crude modulation to the dominant follow; the second group at least includes a bow to the minor mode and an attractively pert hocketing theme in hemiola.
The development is uneventful, and only Tovey's 'counsel for the defense' could make the joking retransition seem more than routine.
Admittedly, even when Haydn seems not to be concentrating on the business at hand, he cannot help writing 'a really new minuet'; note, for example, the triplet figure's surprising reversal of accent in the middle. The attractive sonata-rondo finale seems more engaged and is certainly more engaging. The contour of the tune is other than what we expect; the second group in the dominant sparkles with tremolos, surprise remote chords, vigorous syncopated rhythms, and more. The middle episode, minore, exhibits real fire, although the transition, on a characteristic rhythmic motif over mysterious, slow-changing harmonies, lasts longer than we would wish. An imitative coda-like extension precedes the wind-up, in which 'entertainment' again has the last word.
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)