Joseph Haydn: Symphony No.14


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 c.1761-63, Haydn’s Fourteenth Symphony is set in the bright key of A major. 


Movement I

The opening movement, set in a spritely 3/4 time signature, is full of energy, with Haydn’s youthful side coming through. The dense sections are challenged by quiet and more reserved patterns, which soon unite to create a balanced amalgamation of themes. 


Movement II 

The second movement, a slow Andante in 2, was originally the finale movement of an early Divertimento by Haydn. Some of the variations of the Divertimento are re-hashed for this movement as Haydn works in a sonata form structure. The very placed theme is led by the violins as the rest of the ensemble accompany lightly. 


Movement III

The minuet and trio features an extended oboe solo, which makes this the first movement in the symphony to properly showcase the woodwind section. The horns are also prominent in the minuet, with their high pitches soaring above the orchestra. The sweet oboe theme is delicate and light, with the accompaniment made up of violins and cellos. The return to the opening theme closes this movement peacefully. 


Movement IV 

The finale movement is set in a fiery 6/8 time, with the opening descending scale laying the foundation of the whole movement. The contrapuntal style of this movement is charming and keeps the music exciting as the theme moves between each section quickly and neatly. Haydn keeps the energy going throughout the whole movement, with the music firing from all corners of the orchestra. The symphony concludes a final flourish from the strings. 


Ⓒ Alex Burns

Happy Reading!

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