Londoner Sinfonien, 2. Folge
Herausgeber: Robert von Zahn; Reihe I, Band 16; G. Henle Verlag München
Hob.I:97 Symphony in C Major
Symphony No. 97 originated in 1792 and was performed for the first time on 3 or 4 May of the same year at the Salomon Concerts. It is the last of the symphonies composed for Haydn’s first stay in London (1791/92) and moreover Haydn’s final symphony in the solid key of C major. In the first movement the thematic link of the slow introduction with the final group of the main vivace segment and the baroque trio technique demonstrate the multifaceted use of various compositional methods which serve the overall symphonic form together with the structure. The second movement is in the free-form of variation. In the third variation Haydn uses an instrumentation effect: he has the violins play al ponticello, that is, with the bow near the bridge, which produces a hard metallic tone (this instruction was lost in most of the usual German print editions, however). In the trio of the minuet, which is played entirely in piano and as a result forms a sharp contrast to the minuet section, there is an Alpine yodel effect and a peculiar part for the solo violins (which was certainly meant for concert director Johann Peter Salomon) in the high register. Here as well the fourth movement is formally a sonata rondo, a combination of rondo and the form of a sonata movement.
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".
33 CDs, aufgenommen 1970 bis 1974, herausgegeben 1996 Decca (Universal)