Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Look at a Haydn Adagio

I have mentioned a couple of times the intention to have a look at the adagios to some Haydn symphonies as some of them are so unusual. One in particular, and I have put up the clip before, is the adagio to the Symphony No. 68 in B-flat major. Apart from saying that the symphony was composed "by 1779", Wikipedia has almost nothing except listing the movements and that there are two independent bassoon parts. Karl Geiringer's book on Haydn doesn't talk about this symphony separately. Robbins-Landon's five volume book on Haydn probably does, but I don't seem to have a copy. So, we can approach the piece free from received opinion.

Here is a clip starting with the adagio:

The first thing that caught my attention was the odd dynamics in the accompanying thirds: first piano, then as a kind of emphatic interjection as soon as the melody finishes, the same simple Alberti accompaniment subito forte!

Looks like I can't do this one today as for some reason the score won't download. I'll have to look at another adagio. How about the adagio to the Symphony No. 44? It is much shorter at around seven minutes and not so unusual, but perhaps it will give us a good baseline: Here is a performance:

If we didn't know better, because of the grace of that melody, we might almost think that was Mozart.

The score for that one won't download either: it gets halfway through and says "network connection lost". Hello, NSA, is that you?

Well, enjoy those two adagios and I will, the Internet willing, start digging into them tomorrow. But I hope I have at least piqued your interest.

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