Movement 1: Adagio – Allegro
Movement 2: Allegretto
Movement 3: Menuetto – Trio: Moderato
Movement 4: Finale: Presto
Another reviewer, in the Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung, wrote that the symphony was ‘rather less learned and easier to take in than some other recent works of his, yet equally rich in new ideas’. One inspired novelty is the ‘fairy’ scoring for flute and oboes of the Allegro’s first theme, whose outline had been prefigured in the slow introduction. This turns up in the key of the dominant, D major, before Haydn introduces an even catchier melody, the inspiration for Johann Strauss the Elder’s famous Radetzky March composed in the wake of the 1848 Viennese Revolution. Like the equivalent, popular-style tune in No 99, this late-arriving theme then proceeds to hijack the musical argument, through the notably explosive development and the truncated recapitulation, to the most glittering, orchestrally virtuosic coda of Haydn’s career.
The courtly opening of the minuet (whose leisurely pacing offsets the symphony’s ‘fast’ slow movement) is deceptive. The music later grows truculent with cross-rhythms, and then chromatically wistful. Even the exquisitely well-bred trio is momentarily disrupted by military-style fanfares. The bellicose ‘Turkish’ battery returns at the end of the finale, raucously capping a tarantella-style movement that develops its ‘kittenish’ (Tovey’s word) main theme and a comically sparring second subject with fantastic intricacy and harmonic sleight-of-hand, not least in the development’s mysterious mock fugato in the far-distant key of C sharp minor.
from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2009