Hyperion Records

Symphony No 96 in D major 'Miracle'
first performed in the Hanover Square Rooms, London, in April or early May 1791

'Haydn: The London Symphonies' (CDS44371/4)
Haydn: The London Symphonies
Buy by post £22.00 CDS44371/4  4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
Movement 1: Adagio – Allegro
Track 1 on CDS44371/4 CD2 [6'51] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 2: Andante
Track 2 on CDS44371/4 CD2 [5'54] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 3: Menuetto – Trio: Allegretto
Track 3 on CDS44371/4 CD2 [5'12] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 4: Finale: Vivace
Track 4 on CDS44371/4 CD2 [3'22] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

Symphony No 96 in D major 'Miracle'
The nickname ‘Miracle’ stubbornly clings to No 96, though the ‘miracle’ in question—a chandelier crashing down without seriously injuring anyone—actually occurred during a performance of No 102. This delightful work is on the whole the lightest of the twelve. After a slow introduction that turns to D minor for its final bars, the Allegro, unusually in these symphonies, is essentially monothematic, growing from the propulsive rhythm of its wispy, fragmentary theme. A surprise deflection towards C major near the end of the exposition has more momentous consequences in the sudden C major outburst in the development, which also contains the most fake of ‘false recapitulations’, after one of Haydn’s comic-dramatic pauses. When the ‘real’ recapitulation arrives, it startlingly compresses the events of the exposition, making thrilling play with antiphonal (and, to our ears, Handelian) horn and trumpet fanfares, and climaxing on a ‘shock’ fortissimo D minor chord that echoes the move to D minor in the introduction.

In the deliciously scored G major Andante Haydn contrasts guileless rococo pastoral with a turbulent ‘developing’ fugato episode in G minor that caps any previous Haydn symphony slow movement in physical power. After serenity is restored, a long cadenza-coda for two solo violins and woodwind drifts poetically from G to E flat. The minuet, with its echt-Haydnesque blend of pomp and earthiness, is a miniature sonata-form structure, the trio a captivating Ländler for solo oboe. Taking its cue, perhaps, from Symphony No 75 in the same key (a popular work in London), the finale is a quicksilver rondo fertilized by a single theme, with a mock-heroic D minor episode and a wind-band solo near the end. Writing to Frau von Genzinger apropos a planned performance in Vienna, Haydn stressed the movement’s delicacy and the need for ‘the softest piano and a very quick tempo’.

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2009

Track-specific metadata
Click track numbers opposite to select

Details for CDS44371/4 disc 2 track 1
Adagio – Allegro
Recording date
1 September 2007
Recording venue
Auditorio Stelio Molo, Lugano, Switzerland
Recording producer
Ben Connellan
Recording engineer
Michael Rast
Hyperion usage
  1. Haydn: The London Symphonies (CDS44371/4)
    Disc 2 Track 1
    Release date: February 2009
    4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
   English   Français   Deutsch