Friday, 10 October 2008

173. Joseph Haydn - Symphony no. 104, "London" (1795)


Title: Symphonies 83 Hen, 101 Clock & 104 London
Performers: Berlin Philharmonic
Director: Herbert Von Karajan
Year: 1975
Length: 25 minutes


This is the last Symphony composed by Haydn and it is really the culmination of his Symphonic achievement. It is, in my humble opinion, the best Haydn symphony of them all, from the majestic and sombre start to the folk-song like ending there is not a boring, or less than brilliant moment in the whole thing.

We can tell how fast the 19th century is approaching by the elements that you can spot in this symphony which would be completely at ease in a Beethoven work of the romantic period, for example. The third movement prefigures the
Pastoral Symphony, the second movement almost prefigures Mahler's adagios in a couple of moments! And the last movement reminds me of Dvorak's New World Symphony... but maybe that's just me.

Definitely an essential piece of music by the "father of the symphony" who seems to not only have made the whole style popular, but to have developed it to a great level of perfection. Beyond essential.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

The exuberant finale, in fast tempo and in sonata form, opens in the mode of folk music using a drone bass and a theme often claimed to have originated as a Croatian folk song; for details see Haydn and folk music. The development section settles on the dominant of the main key, as is typical, but atypically, the recapitulation does not occur immediately. Instead, the development is extended with a section in F sharp minor, after which the recapitulation in D major follows immediately.

Last movement... I know this isn't the best orchestra for it, but they are trying!:

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