College of Music Program Book 2011-2012: Ensemble & Other Performances, Volume 3 Page: 74
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
PROGRAM NOTES (cont'd)
Franz Joseph Haydn - Symphony No. 88 in G Major
Symphony No. 88 (1788) is one of Franz Joseph Haydn's most popular and well-
known works. Even though it bears no enduring subtitle - it is sometimes referred to as mit
dem Dudelsack ("with bagpipes") in Germany because of the imitation of that instrument
in the Minuet - the work has all the elements of Haydn's mature style. From the intensity
and complexity of the formal design of the opening Allegro, the noble quality of the slow
movement, to the earthly music of the Minuet, the first three movements present a study of
musical contrasts. With a masterful stroke, Haydn reconciles these contrasts in the Finale,
achieving a happy synthesis of academic design and galant emotion.
Like most of Haydn's late symphonies, the first movement opens with a slow
introduction that is solemn and regal, in the pace and rhythm of a sarabande. Very soon, at the
Allegro section, the echoes of a horn call in the primary theme remind us of the excitement and
pursuit of the hunt. The first statement is sparse, played only by the violins. It is immediately
repeated by full orchestra with an added flurry of activity in the lower strings: the chase
is on. The theme spurs the music forward incessantly to new and exciting episodes, none
of which fully qualifies as a contrasting second group. Its appearance in different guises
throughout the exposition suggests the progression of the hunt, moving between the light
and playful galant style and the ponderous writing of learned music.
At the beginning of the development, we move far away from the main key. The
texture thins as the harmony darkens. The music at the end of the development becomes
dramatic: Have the hunters become separated? Or have they lost the game's trail? The
recapitulation of the primary theme once again summons them to the chase. In the
recapitulation, Haydn subtly reshapes the material from the exposition: above the primary
theme is a new melody for solo flute; the flurry of activity that was in the lower strings now
appears in the violins.
The finely wrought Largo, of which Johannes Brahms once said, "I want my Ninth
Symphony to sound like that," is the heart and soul of the symphony. It resembles a variation
movement built upon a lyrical, hymn-like theme. How rich and strange is the sound of the
opening bars. Haydn gives the primary theme to the innovative pairing of a solo oboe and
cello. The melody unfolds in a series of suspensions, soaring higher and higher until a solemn
answer in the strings brings the phrase to a close. Each time it returns, the music attempts
to move away through a different continuation, only to be pulled back to the main theme:
it is as if its profound expressivity makes any real change futile to produce. One of these
endeavors is a novel and violent "surprise" for the audience: the trumpets and timpani, tacit
up to this point, enter at afortissimo dynamic. It is hard to imagine how tremendous the effect
of their entry must have been for audiences in 1788, as Haydn had never before included
these instruments in a slow movement. With each variation, Haydn enriches the theme with
new countermelodies and harmonies; by the final bars, it accrues a kind of sublime quality
achieved by few of the composer's pieces.
Here’s what’s next.
This book can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Tools / Downloads
Get a copy of this page or view the extracted text.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Book.
University of North Texas. College of Music. College of Music Program Book 2011-2012: Ensemble & Other Performances, Volume 3, book, 2012; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc114725/m1/74/: accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Music Library.