One thing that I become more and more aware of as I wander through the Haydn symphonies is how beautifully integrated the melody, harmony and rhythm are. The rhythmic creativity of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven is often neglected, but is actually crucial to the whole musical concept. Take the first movement to the Symphony No. 47. There is a particular mood created by all the musical elements that is, as all musical moods, not quite describable in words, but the words "jaunty" and "sauntering" come to mind. Here is the opening:
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The movement unfolds rather as might be expected until here:
The lovely second movement is like garlands of harmonic flowers that keep twining around one another. It begins with a theme thirty measures long--here is the first part:
There follow four variations. The first three are in increasing note-values: first sixteenths, then sextuplet sixteenths and thirty-seconds. The fourth variation returns to the eighth notes. Everything comes to a halt, there is an unexpected D minor chord--an echo of the unexpected G minor in the first movement as this movement is in D major, then a few more garlands and the movement is over.
The third movement, a minuet and trio, is why this symphony is nicknamed "Palindrome". As you know, the term comes from language where a palindrome, such as the phrase "Able was I, ere I saw Elba", is the same read forwards or backwards. Haydn writes the minuet and trio so that the second half of each is the same as the first half played backwards. Here is the complete score:
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The last movement is so fast it is performed one beat to the bar: what I mean is that the conductor just needs to beat once for each measure. The whole movement is based on this theme which is like a seed from which everything else grows:
The whole effect is of a brilliant, intense, hard-driving juggernaut.
Now let's listen to the whole symphony. Here is Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music: