Of all the movements in Symphonies 6 to 8, the ‘Allegro molto’ of No 8 is the least concerto-orientated. There are solo passages for the wind instruments, but no more than is usual in any of Haydn’s other symphonies. The slow movement, however, adds a bassoon to the trio concertante on No 7, providing the cello with a duet partner to match the two violins. The Minuet returns to the instrumentation of the first movement and (again) features a violone solo in the trio. The finale is the most overtly programmatic movement in any of the three symphonies. Cast in a strict ABA form, it is nonetheless a vivid musical evocation of a storm, with a solo cello (imitating the opening violin solo’s rapid semiquavers) suggesting a distant rumble of thunder, a falling arpeggio ‘raindrop’ (or perhaps ‘lightning’) figure on the flute, and passages of dramatic unisons portraying, maybe, torrents of driving rain.
from notes by Matthew Rye © 1991