Joseph Haydn: Symphony No.10


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 between 1757-61, Haydn composed his Tenth Symphony for the chamber orchestra of Count Morzin. Similarly to the Ninth, the Tenth also has three movements, the main difference being that Haydn sticks with tradition and ends with a fast movement instead of a minuet and trio.


Movement I – Allegro 

The opening movement is laced with energy and fizz and the strings work hard to create a bright and fruitful sound. Haydn utilises the horns for their sound and power throughout this movement to create dramatic twists and turns as well as a bold texture. The fast-moving string melodies are based on D major scales. The excitement caused by these scales creates a buzz in the atmosphere, which is finally unleashed to its full potential at the end of the movement. 


Movement II – Andante

The central movement, now in G major, is by far the longest of the three movements. A drawn-out string theme opens the movement, with the upper violins taking on the main melody. Haydn’s sensitive side is heard in corners of this movement, with the music offering some truly stunning harmonic choices. The sensitivity of the strings, opposed to the outer two movements, creates a real focus in this movement which is explored at length by Haydn. After a final reprise of the melody, this movement ends quietly.


Movement III – Presto

The final movement, also the shortest of three, begins with a flourish of string decorations and stabs from the horns. The horns return to create an impactful start for the finale movement, similarly to the effects of the first movement. The jaunty theme is dance-like, with the quick tempo adding to the excitement of the music. As Haydn layers in more voices and pushes the dynamics forward, the symphony finishes with a final flourish from the whole orchestra.

Ⓒ Alex Burns

Happy Reading!

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