Hyperion Records

Symphony No 101 in D major 'The Clock'
first performed on 3 March 1794

'Haydn: Symphonies Nos 101 & 102' (CDH55127)
Haydn: Symphonies Nos 101 & 102
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55127  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'Haydn: The London Symphonies' (CDS44371/4)
Haydn: The London Symphonies
Buy by post £22.00 CDS44371/4  4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
Movement 1: Adagio – Presto
Track 9 on CDS44371/4 CD3 [7'50] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 1 on CDH55127 [7'48] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Movement 2: Andante
Track 10 on CDS44371/4 CD3 [7'02] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 2 on CDH55127 [6'29] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Movement 3: Menuetto – Trio: Allegretto
Track 11 on CDS44371/4 CD3 [7'28] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 3 on CDH55127 [6'41] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Movement 4: Finale: Vivace
Track 12 on CDS44371/4 CD3 [4'39] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 4 on CDH55127 [4'23] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)

Symphony No 101 in D major 'The Clock'
No 101, completed after the ‘Military’ but premiered four weeks earlier, on 3 March, also contains a ‘characteristic’ slow movement calculated to make an instant appeal to Haydn’s London audiences. Typically, though, the Andante’s tick-tock accompaniment generates an awesome power in the G minor central episode, reinforced at the climax by battering horns and trumpets. When G major tranquillity returns, Haydn cunningly reassigns the pendulum’s ticking to flute and bassoon, above and below the violin melody, and then, after a bar’s rest, dips to the unscripted key of E flat major, an effect both poetic and amusing.

‘Nothing can be more original than the subject of the first movement’, enthused the Morning Chronicle after No 101’s premiere; ‘and having found a happy subject, no man knows like HAYDN how to produce incessant variety without once departing from it.’ As usual in the ‘London’ symphonies, the motivic seeds are sown in the slow introduction, which prefigures the 6/8 Presto’s ‘happy’ (and teasingly irregular) subject in D minor. Again, though, it is the second subject—a playful, sinuous tune, closely akin to the first—that controls the plot, both in the development and in another of Haydn’s gloriously unpredictable, expanding recapitulations.

Such is the symphonic weight and grandeur of the minuet, the longest in a Haydn symphony, that it comes as a surprise to learn that it was adapted from a minuet he had composed for mechanical organ. The trio’s pointedly naïve flute solo is accompanied by a notorious ‘wrong harmony’ joke which the strings then rectify on the repeat. Nineteenth-century editors with a musical humour bypass thought the joke must be a misprint and duly ‘corrected’ it. Opening with a mellow, songful theme, the finale is a sonata rondo at once intensely concentrated (much of the action is fuelled by its first three notes) and exhilaratingly free in design. After a ferocious ‘developing’ episode in D minor, the key of the symphony’s slow introduction, the recapitulation takes the form of a shimmering pianissimo fugato that Mendelssohn surely remembered in his Octet.

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2009

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDS44371/4 disc 3 track 9
Adagio – Presto
Recording date
1 September 2008
Recording venue
Auditorio Stelio Molo, Lugano, Switzerland
Recording producer
Ben Connellan
Recording engineer
Michael Rast
Hyperion usage
  1. Haydn: The London Symphonies (CDS44371/4)
    Disc 3 Track 9
    Release date: February 2009
    4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
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