1791 Haydn No. 94


1791 Joseph Haydn Symphony No. 94 in G major ‘Surprise’
Instrumentation Strings, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, bassoon, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani
Movements I: Adagio cantabile – Allegro assai (G) II: Andante  (C) III: Menuetto – Allegro molto (G) IV: Allegro di molto (G)
Overview The second movement of this symphony is one of Haydn’s more obvious jokes, in which the audience is lulled into a false sense of security and then suddenly shocked by a loud chord.

Look at a score of this work / watch on YouTube

Essay Points
C) 2nd mov. This Andante movement, again in the subdominant, is a set of variations, which is a common form for second movements. Haydn also uses humour in this symphony, attempting to make the audience jump with a suddenly loud chord after a quite opening.


Minor key variation:

D) 3rd mov. / Minuet The tempo marking for this movement suggests that it is faster than the traditional minuet. It is also quite heavily scored and makes use of repeated accents in the second half. The more aggressive writing and the increase speed both point to the move in Haydn (and then Beethoven) towards writing faster Scherzo movements rather than true minuets.

I) Melody Like many of Haydn’s themes, the music here is broken up into little motivic units that are repeated and developed  intensively. Listen to the beginning of the Vivace (YouTube) from the first movement with the score and notice how after the first four bars the music is mostly repetitions and development of a one bar idea. The opening two bar theme comes back in an inverted and chromatic transformation 15 bars later.