Symphony No. 104 is the last of the 12 symphonies in the London Symphony. It premiered on 4 May 1795 at the composer’s farewell concert that took place at King’s Theatre in London. The symphony, which was conducted by Hadyn himself, brought him the colossal sum of four thousand guldens.
Movement I – Adagio-Allegro
The first movement is a sonata that starts in cut time with a slow and grand introduction in D minor leading into D major. The woodwinds then move into the second theme in A major. This opening reflects a high-spirited Allegro, where its main theme is extensively developed.
Movement II – Andante
The second movement opens with the strings playing the main theme in G major. A brief episode highlighting A minor and D minor follows, before entering into a modified main theme played by both the strings and the bassoon. This Andante movement features a simple, stately theme, and its melodic and harmonic motives create a touching and profound sound.
Movement III – Menuetto & Trio
The minuet in the third movement is written in ternary (ABA) form and opens with an emphasis on the tonic. The trio is in B-flat major and uses the oboe and the bassoon extensively to emphasise on the relative minor. In the central trio section, the woodwinds play with some delicate work, turning the movement into a gentle piece.
Movement IV – Spiritoso
The final movement is a sonata in fast tempo, with an exciting and complexly developed melody. The main tune is a Croatian folk song, which Haydn might have encountered at his old home in Eisenstadt. The symphony ends with an imposing and uplifting peroration.
Franz Joseph Haydn
- Haydn was the brother of the composer, Michael Haydn.
- Famous for his pranks. While still studying, he once cut off the ponytail of a fellow chorus member.
- Was affectionately called “Papa” Haydn by many people for various reasons.
- He was occupied with his works and travelling, and didn’t pay much attention to Beethoven who attempted to study with him.
- Was kicked out of the choir at 16 when his voice broke.
Conductor: Bernard Haitink
Recorded in Royal Albert Hall during Proms 2012