Movement 1: Grave – Presto
Movement 2: Poco adagio
Movement 3: Menuetto: Allegretto
Movement 4: Finale: Vivace
On 26 March at Mr Barthelemon’s concert, an English clergyman was present who fell into the most profound melancholy on hearing the Andante (or ‘Poco adagio’, as it was more usually marked) … because he had dreamt the previous night that this piece was a premonition of his death. He left the company at once and took to his bed.
Today, 25 April, I heard from Herr Barthelemon that this Protestant clergyman had died.
The symphony has no other morbid associations, however. Indeed, the finale is one of Haydn’s wittiest, complete with sudden pauses, unprepared changes of direction, and a whispered coda that springs one last surprise …
from notes by Matthew Rye © 1990