Movement 1: Adagio
Movement 2: Presto
Movement 3: Menuet
Movement 4: Finale: Allegro molto
Unlike the other symphonies recorded here, No 21 at least survives in a dated autograph manuscript from 1764. This suggests that it post-dates some dozen other Esterháza symphonies, resulting in an output averaging at least four symphonies a year during the early to mid-1760s. Like No 18, this symphony again falls into the form of a church sonata, though at least here Haydn maintains the full four-movement structure. It also shows, in neat contrast to No 20, how his wind writing was beginning to mature: the oboes, for instance, are given brief solos independent of the string line early on in the fantasia-Iike first movement. The ensuing Presto provides a rhythmically taught foil to this opening and is followed by a Minuet and a lively finale that features some nifty alternating quavers between the violins in its main theme.
from notes by Matthew Rye © 1993