Herausgeber: Sonja Gerlach und Sterling E. Murray; Reihe I, Band 11; G. Henle Verlag München
Hob.I:78 Symphony in c minor
The third and last of the symphonies written in 1782 for the trip to England Haydn (1732-1809) planned but did not take, No. 78 is a C minor symphony. Not only for Beethoven and his successors in the 19th century, but for Haydn, as well, C minor is a special key furnished with the ingredients of extraordinary expressivity. In this regard No. 78 is the middle ground between its two C minor sisters in Haydn’s body of work: No. 52 of 1770, a typical work from Haydn’s so-called Sturm und Drang period, and the inwardly “classically subdued” No. 95 originating during his first stay in London in 1791. There is probably no other symphonic movement from Haydn which is of such excessively driven experimental chromaticism than the opening movement of No. 78. The principal theme, which enters in unison (and which, as Robbins Landon says, may have served as a direct model for the principle theme of the first movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto in C Minor KV 491 of 1786), is harmonically inconsistent, or “wandering.” In this way it serves as the starting point for bold transitions and modulations; the harmonically more stable secondary theme with the closing group is also characterised at the usual place by an “inconsistent” transitional harmony which “coincidentally” emerges from the parallel chromatic sweep of the string parts. The systematic and continuously recurring developmental features require so much room and energy that only enough space remains for a rudimentary reprise, which in fact consists only of the remainder of the secondary theme with the closing group. As if balancing out the chromatic shift of this opening movement, Haydn remains in the realm of the conventional in the rest of the symphony. For example, the closing movement is a rondo with developmental elements; yet Haydn makes such an obvious effort at harmonic stability that he begins the rondo episode (with the solo oboe) twice in the same key, namely, C major. The second time it also directly transitions into the C major close of the entire work.
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
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"