View RSS Feed

Pierre's Tuesday Blog

Haydn: The "Tween" Symphomnies

Rate this Entry
En français

My post today lines up somewhat with my ongoing look at the music of Joseph Haydn - cello works last week, and my 3-pat series (finishing Friday) look at the Paris symphonies.

In the first post of that series, I spoke of Haydn's contract with the Court of Esterházy and how Haydn, in renewing that commitment, received more freedom to compose for other orchestras and for other sponsors. The Paris symphonies (composed for the Comte d'Ogny) and the London symphonies (composed for impresario Johann Peter Salomon) are of course two major sets of works that stem from that newfound freedom.

But there is a set of 5 more symphonies (numbered 88 to 92) that were composed between those two landmark sets - I call those the "Tween" symphonies - that are also worth listening to and discussing in that same context.

One of the sponsors/dedicatees of these symphonies is the violinist (and something of a slimeball if you believe the stories) Johann Peter Tost. Tost played in Haydn's Court orchestra, and was also the recipient of sets of quartets (opp. 54 and 55). The other main dedicatee was Prince Ernst of Oettingen-Wallerstein, a nobleman who had also connections with orchestras in Paris and London.

Among the best known works of the set are the first and last. Symphony no. 88 is known as "The Letter V", a nickname that has everything to do with how Haydn's symphonies were catalogued in the early 19th century. Indeed, one of the major catalogs (pre-Hoboken) of the Haydn symphonies was that of the London Philharmonic Society, which assigned letters to the symphonies in their repertoire. The 88th is simply "V" in that catalog.

The 92nd (which we featured in an early Tuesday blog) is nicknamed "Oxford" and was, indeed, part of a series of concerts held at that institution in recognition of Haydn being bestowed an honorary doctorate. However, the symphony wasn't composed specifically for that occasion.

It is likely the 92nd was composed for les Concerts de la Loge Olympique in Paris - the orchestra Haydn had composed his Paris symphonies for. The work was later given in London, and was added to the Oxford concerts as a matter of convenience - Haydn hadn't had time to write an original symphony, and the orchestra had already played the work four months earlier.

The remainder of the symphonies are pure Haydn: formulaic maybe, but full of diversity in tone and surprises. The YouTube playlist below assembles all five in "live" performances by well-known orchestras and conductors.

Thanks for YouTube channel magischmeisjeorkest [/HTML](who seems to have a soft sport for Japanese anime).

Happy listening!


Franz Josef HAYDN (1732-1809)

Symphony # 88, in G Major, Hob. I:88, "The Letter V"
[For Johann Tost]
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Mariss Jansons, conducting
Musikverein, Vienna, 5 Oct 2008

Symphony # 89, in F Major, Hob. I:89
[For Johann Tost]
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Riccardo Muti, conducting
Orchestra Hall, Chicago, 30 Sep 2010

Symphony # 90, in C Major, Hob. I:90
[For Prince Ernst of Oettingen-Wallerstein]
Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest
John Eliot Gardiner, conducting
Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, 7 mar 2010

Symphony # 91, in E-Flat Major, Hob. I:91
Symphony # 92, in G Major, Hob. I:92, "Oxford"
[For Prince Ernst of Oettingen-Wallerstein]
Wiener Philharmoniker
Simon Rattle, conducting
Musikverein, Vienna, 19 apr 2009

YouTube URL:

May 24 2013, "I Think You Will Love This Music Too" will feature a new podcast "The Paris Symphonies - Part 3" at its Pod-O-Matic Channel . Read more May 24 on the ITYWLTMT Blogspot blog.

Updated May-21-2013 at 10:32 by itywltmt

Classical Music , Concerts , Recorded Music