Joseph Haydn: Symphony No.19


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

Continuing with the three-movement structure, the nineteenth was composed between 1757-1761. 


Movement I

The energetic opening movement is chiefly led by the strings, who run with the effervescent melody. Haydn writes triumphal horn parts that accentuate this tune aptly. There is a grandiose about the melody that is filtered through all the layers of music heard in this movement. The quick moving lines are paired with phrases played in unison across the orchestra, which creates a unity between the strings and winds. The bright D major tonality adds the edge to this opening movement.


Movement II

The darker ‘Andante’ movement shifts into a lilting 2/4 time. Led by the strings, the elongated lines of melody are passed across all four sections, with the pulsating basses keeping the foundation steady. Haydn writes some quite dramatic dynamics in the quiet section, which sees very sensitive string playing from all sections. After a long developmental section, the movement ends quietly.


Movement III

Marked ‘Presto’, the finale bursts into life from the first note. Fast quaver patterns form the basis of the accompaniment, as the upper strings and winds play the devilishly quick theme, the horns play a triumphant call in the background. The excitement and intensity builds until the final chords ring out in all their brilliance. 


Ⓒ Alex Burns

Happy Reading!

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