E flat major
Sinfonien um 1780/81
Herausgeber: Heide Volckmar-Waschk und Stephen C. Fisher; Reihe I, Band 10; G. Henle Verlag München
Symphony No. 74 in E flat major
In this work, the generally approachable aspects of style characteristic of this period are mixed with chromaticism, deliberate artifice and expressive warmth. The opening Vivace assai is built on the contrast between three loud 'hammerstrokes' (plus related ideas later on), and a quiet motive with the rhythm: long-long-short-short-short (the long notes descend by step, the short ones simply repeat). The latter motive gives rise to remarkable ruminative passages in the development, and again late in the recapitulation, until Haydn laughingly brings the movement to a brilliant close.
The main theme of the slow movement exhibits the sprightly profundity characteristic of many Haydn slow movements. In form it is a simple rondo, A-B-A1-B1-A2-coda, with the first B in the dominant and the second (shortened) one in the subdominant; each return of the long A theme is richly varied in both melodic detail and instrumentation. The wonderful coda brings a briefer, varied statement for winds alone and then two for the strings, all three richly contrapuntal and expressive, before the cadential wind up.
The minuet features 'Scotch snap' rhythm, while in the trio a solo bassoon doubles the violin melody, with irregular five-bar phrases at each cadence. The sonata-form finale, in 6/8, begins with a quiet, playful, melodically intricate theme (reminiscent of the finale theme in Mozart's String Quartet, K589, in the same key and metre): the first and second violins begin alone, in unison; in the next bar the lower strings answer in pseudo-imitation. The theme soon halts on the dominant, with an odd melodic trailing off; suddenly the melody bursts out loudly in the bass, the violins answer with a new rushing counter-melody, and we are off to the races. The promise of genuinely imitative treatment is not fulfilled; instead, witty jokes follow in profusion. The best of these comes at the reprise: the second violins state the theme alone whereupon the firsts, annoyed at being upstaged, break in one bar'too soon', leading directly to the rushing passage and the remainder of the recapitulation including one brief passage of actual imitation!
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"