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Thread: Whats is the best "London" symphony?

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    Senior Member Handel's Avatar
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    Default Whats is the best "London" symphony?

    What is the best symphony Haydn wrote for London between 1791 and 1795?

    I hesitate between the symphonies # 99 and #102.

    In order of preference:

    99-102 ("The Miracle")
    98
    95
    96
    104 "London"
    100 "Military"
    97
    94 "Surprise"
    93
    101 "Clock"
    103
    At first, I discovered the wonders of classical music through the marvels of its baroque period and especially those from Mr. Handel, which explain my forum nickname. About 10 years ago, my interest leaned over classical period and Herr Haydn's production. The music bus recently drove me to the early 1800s. Where will it end?

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    Senior Member opus67's Avatar
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    I have not heard them all, but I love #94, not in the least for the much-hyped "surprise" in the second movement; it's for the first.
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    Navneeth

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    I'd be surprised to hear that Haydn wrote any symphony that could be called anything other than "best." But then, I haven't heard all hundred and four, either. But of the ones I have heard, I like no. 102 the best. That second movement... Wow.

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    Hi!
    With my nickname it's a duty for me to answer here...
    In my opinion, both London cycles (93-98 and 99-104) end with their best symphony respectively. No. 104 is IMO the best of all.
    This 12-set is on a high niveau, but the symphony No. 95 seems to me the most unimportant/uninteresting (it's a pity, because there aren't much minor-symphonies of the late Haydn, but luckily there are No. 80 and above all No. 83), followed by No. 93.
    I can't comprehend why the symphonies Nos. 100,101,102 often are prefered ones.
    I prefer Nos. 94,96,103 to these.
    So, Handel, you see, we differ much in detail, but I'm sure we agree that Haydns London symphonies are a summit of orchestral music.
    Regards,
    AVH.

    P.S.: Haydn rules!

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    Senior Member Handel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amade Van Haydn View Post
    So, Handel, you see, we differ much in detail, but I'm sure we agree that Haydns London symphonies are a summit of orchestral music.
    Regards,
    AVH.

    P.S.: Haydn rules!
    Yep, Haydn totally rules. He and Handel are my favorite composers (Handel wins by a nod).
    At first, I discovered the wonders of classical music through the marvels of its baroque period and especially those from Mr. Handel, which explain my forum nickname. About 10 years ago, my interest leaned over classical period and Herr Haydn's production. The music bus recently drove me to the early 1800s. Where will it end?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amade Van Haydn View Post
    This 12-set is on a high niveau, but the symphony No. 95 seems to me the most unimportant/uninteresting
    How can you possibly say that No. 95 is uniteresting?! That marvelous main theme is constructed pefectly, just like the rest of the first movement. And the minuet is pure genius. as dramatic as they come with a nice lyrical trio to settle the mind.

    This symphony rates very high up, but it's not 1st place. A symphony is rated according to all movements (1st mov. is the most important, then finale, then 2nd & 3rd together). So this leaves 'London' and 'The Clock' at first.

    However:
    Best 1st Movement (Top 5 in order): 97 103 104 101 95
    Best 2nd Movement: 94 100 101 104 99
    Best 3rd Movement: 93 95 98 94 96
    Best 4th Movement: 101 104 94 102 96

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    It's 96 that's nicknamed "Miracle", not 102...
    GG

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    I think it would be a battle between 102-104, all three amazing in their own way.

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    How can one choose one child, they're all equally memorable.

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    Senior Member neoshredder's Avatar
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    Going with 104. Just a guess. I haven't listened to them all though.

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    Senior Member Weston's Avatar
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    That's what I love about this forum. Necroposting is okay and the old threads are still interesting.

    I would rate the No. 100 "Military" very highly if only because it is full of humor and Beethovenisms -- which turned out to be Haydnisms after all. Of course that could be said of all the later symphonies. Like the others, I have not heard them all.
    Last edited by Weston; Oct-23-2013 at 05:28.

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GraemeG View Post
    It's 96 that's nicknamed "Miracle", not 102...
    GG
    Well, many now think that the chandelier fell during 102, not 96. But the nickname is still attached to 96, nonetheless.


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    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GraemeG View Post
    It's 96 that's nicknamed "Miracle", not 102...
    GG
    The OP might have labelled #102 as "Miracle" because it was during its premiere that a chandelier fell from the roof of the hall at Hanover Square but nobody was injured or killed. This lack of fatalities was said to be miraculous, but somehow #96 got the "Miracle" name, not #102.

    Shows how arbitrary this naming process is - I think that there are many surprises during these symphonies, not just the famous and albeit very memorable one in #94. But whether or not it deserves it more than the others, it got the "Surprise" moniker nonetheless. I suppose #101 "Clock" has an appropriate name, given Haydn's interest in musical clocks, and also the "drumroll" - since in that, the drumroll in question reprises, which was going against conventions of the time - and also #104, "London" for its imagery related to Haydn's experiences of the city.

    Speaking to that, there are so many wonderful moments in these masterpieces. From the "fart" in #93 (seriously!) to the replication of bagpipe drones and bells in the final movement of #104. Added to that, these works are so innovative, in terms of Beethoven alone they foreshadow and contain in embryo most of his innovations of the symphonic genre. Much else besides beyond Beethoven of course, Papa was one of the most influential composers in the history of Western classical music (but not always given that credit throughout its history, but unfortunately this is not so unusual).

    There you go, I am getting very enthusiastic here!

    Hard to pick a favourite but I would be happy with #104, the pinnacle of the London cycle, if pushed.
    Last edited by Sid James; Oct-23-2013 at 05:47.
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    Quote Originally Posted by neoshredder View Post
    Going with 104. Just a guess. I haven't listened to them all though.
    oh, they're excellent, definitely listen to all of them .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Weston View Post
    That's what I love about this forum. Necroposting is okay and the old threads are still interesting.

    I would rate the No. 100 "Military" very highly if only because it is full of humor and Beethovenisms -- which turned out to be Haydnisms after all. Of course that could be said of all the later symphonies. Like the others, I have not heard them all.
    I think that if you like some of the London set, you're going to like all of them .

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