Movement 1: Allegro molto
Movement 2: Adagio cantabile
Movement 3: Menuet
Movement 4: Finale: Allegro molto
The great hall in the palace at Eisenstadt was fairly large and had an ample acoustic, something that Haydn bore in mind in his twenty or so symphonies written there between 1761 and 1765 (from 1766 the bulk of the court’s musical activities shifted to the new summer palace of Eszterháza, the intimacy of whose music room led Haydn to experiment with more chamber-music-like sonorities). This is most notable in the first movement of No 13, whose sustained, organ-like wind chords counterbalance and support the vigorous rhythmic repetitions of the unison arpeggio string theme that dominates the movement. A further subtle use of the acoustic occurs when the recapitulation arrives with a surreptitious piano, before the four unison horns proudly proclaim the arpeggio idea.
Almost something straight out of a concerto, the ‘Adagio cantabile’ is a movement for solo cello whose melody gently meanders above a repeated staccato chordal pattern on the other strings. The Minuet restores the tutti forces of the whole orchestra, but for the trio Haydn again reduces the instrumentation to strings, this time accompanying a solo flute. For the finale, Haydn combines a fugal style with sonata form. The cantus firmus subject will doubtlessly sound familiar, being the same four-note Gregorian ‘Credo’ theme that would later furnish the finale of Mozart’s last symphony, No 41 in C, K551.
from notes by Matthew Rye © 1993