Joseph Haydn: Symphony No.9


Often known as the ‘Father of the Symphony’, Joseph Haydn’s legacy as a symphonist stays strong today. Haydn composed 104 symphonies over the course of his long and fruitful life, and we at Classicalexburns want to help you discover the stories and music behind all of them. In numerical order we will cover each symphony in the new #Haydn104 project, so look out for new ones by checking the ‘Projects’ page on our website, or by engaging with us on social media. 


The Music

Composed in 1762, Haydn composed his Ninth Symphony due to the financial support of Nikolaus Esterházy. The Ninth is the first symphony to have just three movements since the Fourth Symphony, with Haydn taking the interesting route of ending with a Minuet and Trio. 


Movement I – Allegro molto

The opening movement is full of drive and energy. A strong string theme leads the way, with the wind and horns adding decoration where necessary. The dynamic melody fizzes with excitement as the strings rush up and down their scales to create some really enjoyable effects. After the development section, a reprise of the opening theme is heard once more. Still full of energy, the strings lead the chase towards the end of the movement. 


Movement II – Andante

The slower central movement is initially led by a solo flute and the strings. This shift in responsibility is refreshing after such a string-heavy opening movement. The soft textures creates a completely different atmosphere, which is something that Haydn became very versed at. The memorable melody at the heart of this movement is passed around the different sections, although it always lands back in the hands of the flautist. After a short exploration of this theme, the movement concludes with a quiet resolution.


Movement III – Minuet & Trio

The final movement, also the shortest of three, starts with a peppy minuet theme. The horns play a more prominent part in this movement with a counter-melody, with the strings still taking the lead on the theme. The trio begins with a solo oboe, who is accompanied by a selection of strings. The horns also make an appearance in the trio, however the solo oboe regains control and leads on with their solo. The opening minuet theme returns at the end of the movement to ensure the symphony concludes with a resolution. 


Ⓒ Alex Burns

Happy Reading!

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