For Symphony No 47 we are on more conventional tonal territory, G major. Here Haydn’s preoccupation is more with counterpoint, not so obviously perhaps in the delightful first movement, which plays on the alternation of strings and wind, but in the slow movement the main theme (subjected to a series of four variations) consists of two contrapuntal voices that are then inverted—the melody becomes the bass and the bass becomes the top line. Even more unusually, the third movement is literally a ‘reversible’ Minuet, in which each section is instructed to be followed by its exact mirror-image. By contrast the finale—apart from a couple of transitional passages—is almost anti-contrapuntal, with its main rondo theme heard over a doggedly homophonic accompaniment, and a number of passages played in orchestral unison.
from notes by Matthew Rye © 1991