1760 Haydn No. 2

ca. 1760 Joseph Haydn Symphony No. 2
Instrumentation Strings and continuo, 2 oboes, 2 horns (and bassoon doubling bass line)
Movements I: Allegro (C) II: Andante (G) III: Presto (C)
Overview A very early Haydn symphony in the Galant style in the typical ‘Sinfonia a 8’ configuration of the time.

See full score / Listen to whole symphony on YouTube

Essay Points
A) Overall form Three movements without any minuet – the last movement is a simple rondo.
B) 1st mov. / sonata Like the Stamitz Op. 3 No. 2, the recapitulation in the first movement is not of the opening material but, in this case, is more like that transition idea. Both exposition and recapitulation end with a lengthy coda/codetta. The movement opens with a bold octave unison texture.

Listen to the opening of this movement:

Listen to the second subject of this movement:

E) 4th / Finale Haydn finishes this early symphony with a short and simple rondo finale third movement (no minuet), which follows the pattern Aba’CA’’DAba’.

Listen to the opening of the last movement (Booklet: Extract 2):

F) Dev. of orchestra This demonstrates the very common ‘Sinfonia a 8’ configuration, with four string parts, two oboes (or flutes) and horns. As is typical of early symphonies, the bass line is played by cellos, double basses (who do not have an independent part as they would in later works), a bassoon and continuo keyboard.

Like many early Haydn works, the middle movement is practically chamber music, with the violins all playing the same line and the violas doubling the bass. Only the continuo fills out the harmonies. This texture is also found frequently in the finale.

Listen to the opening of the second movement:

G) Harm. / tonality Simple, diatonic harmony with lots of circles of fifths in both transition and development of the first movement. A feature that is typical of both Haydn and Mozart is the turn to the minor in the second subject of the first movement, followed by a circle of fifths. Both composers seem to relish the tonal contrast that this provides (listen to the second subject above).
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