Haydn completed Symphony No 92 in 1789. A year later his employer Prince Nikolaus died, and his successor, Prince Anton, having few of the cultural leanings of his predecessor, disbanded the court orchestra. Haydn was immediately sought out by the impresario Salomon, who whisked him off to London. In July 1791 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Oxford and conducted his symphony in the Sheldonian Theatre for the occasion, whence it gained its nickname of the ‘Oxford’. It was indeed the ideal work to demonstrate his worthiness. The last symphony before the twelve London works, it sums up his symphonic achievement of the previous thirty years, with its refined introduction leading to one of his most motivically concise Allegros (yet again monothematic), whose liveliness contrasts with the poetic lyricism of the Adagio cantabile. A representative minuet and trio lead to the Presto finale, a cross between sonata form and rondo, with one of Haydn’s most engaging melodic inventions dominating proceedings.
from notes by Matthew Rye © 1991