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Favorite Mozart/Haydn symphonies?

26857 Views 53 Replies 36 Participants Last post by  Animal the Drummer
Mozart and Haydn are both very popular composers who wrote a large collection of symphonies at around the same time. Of Mozart's, my favorite is No. 25 in G minor for its very strong opening motif and excellent use of a minor key to contrast most of his other works.

Of Haydn's, my favorite is No. 60 in C major, mostly because I listen to it all the time while reading; to me, it sounds majestic and stately, which fits perfectly with a few of the characters in a book series I'm reading. I haven't listened to many of his others, though, so I might eventually find one I like better. :eek: I just now found out that the violins have to retune in the finale of Hadyn's 60th--I always just thought that was part of the music. :p
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Mozart - either 38 or 39. The finale of the Jupiter is my favorite movement but the rest of the work doesn't do quite as much for me.

Haydn - still have to work my wall through all 107 of these. It's kind of like my life's goal that I can never ever get to.
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I consider Mozart's 40th and 41st two of the greatest symphonies ever written. It's hard to choose between them. His 38th would be just a bit behind them.

I probably like Haydn's 104 the most with 101 just behind. There are many Haydn symphonies I have not heard so I think it's much more likely I would possibly change this assessment than my feeling for Mozart.
Haydn is one of my favourite composers, I esp. like his symphonies with nicknames eg. La Passione, the Drumroll (very innovative to bring back the initial drumroll at the end, this wasn't done much in those days), The Clock, Surprise, Lamentatione, etc. Of the un-named ones I esp. like #88 & the rest of the "London" symphonies sets. I haven't listened to all 100+ though!

As for Mozart, I haven't heard much of his symphonies, even as much as Haydn's. I think I like Mozart's choral & chamber things more. I too like the two G minor symphonies (25,40), the # 41 (of course!) but my memory of the rest is sketchy at best. The Haffner one rings a bell with me too, I remember it as being a delight! More often than not, I "bump into" his symphonies in concerts, but I think I've only got two of them (incl. #41) on disc...
My votes go to:
Mozart - Symphony no. 36 (Linz), written and orchestrated in 4 days, it represents the finest example (IMO) of a "classical" symphony, and augurs well for the more "forward-looking" set (38 to 41). Honourable mention goes to no. 38 (Prague). See my recent blog posting on these symphonies.

Haydn - Some will argue that Haydn produced so many symphonies that he had to have used a "cookie cutter" approach. I agree that probably a third of his output could be viewed as "pedestrian" (though, I wish I were that pedestrian), a few stabnd out in my mind. My favourite is an early symphony, Symphony No. 22 (The Philosopher). It is "all Haydn", and stands up very well against the "Paris" and "London" symphonies. Hounourable mention to Symphony no. 96 (the Miracle), my favourite "London" symphony.
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I enjoy the later Haydn symphonies, especially No. 100 "Military." I just happen to listen to it more than the few others I have and it seems very Beethoven-like to me. Or rather Beethoven was very like Haydn, moreso than like Mozart.

For Mozart I enjoy the No. 39 especially for the 3rd movement. it's lively, cheerful and graceful all at once.
I unfortunately don't know enough about Haydn to comment on his symphonies, but I look forward to using this thread as a way to approach them instead of just starting at #1!

As for Mozart, well, the 40th holds a special place - as I'm sure it does for many - purely because the first movement is one of the earliest classical pieces that I can remember hearing. However, my favourite by a significant margin is the 38th, Prague, mostly because of the relentless joy of the first movement (excepting the slow opening - though this structure always reminds me of Beethoven's 4th).
38 & 87

Mozart: Symphony No. 38 in D major, K. 504 ("Prague"). Mozart was 'big' in Prague, and this symphony is excellent 'payment for considerations'.

Haydn: I can't make a strong preference among the 'London' symphonies, I enjoy all of them. I am particularly fond of Symphony No. 87 in A, perhaps the least popular of the 'Paris' symphonies, as performed by Collegium Aureum. The music for small choirs and solo instruments charms me.

Haydn : Symphonies Nos. 85 (La Reine) , 88 in G (The Letter V, a real masterwork with that beauty of rustic atmosphere) , 92 (Oxford) , 100 (Military) and 103 (Drumroll)

Mozart : Symphonies Nos. 35 (Haffner) , 40 and 41 (Jupiter)

and I like Haydn's Symphonies more than Mozart's ...
If I had to choose just one for both it would be Mozart's 38th and Haydn's 82nd. Though I will recognize that their greatest symphonies are probably the 41st and the 92nd respectively.
Has there been a conductor who extensively recorded Haydn's symphonies, if not all?
Has there been a conductor who extensively recorded Haydn's symphonies, if not all?
Russell Davies has recorded all of them, Dorati as well, and Adam Fischer. Hogwood has recorded most of them (available in 10 separate volumes). Fey has recorded most of them and will eventually be complete (available as well in many separate volumes).

There are many conductors that do the London ones, many that do the Paris, several that have done the Storm and Stress... and the rest have only a few conductors each.

Significant mini-cycles are Harnoncourt, Weil, Bruggen, Pinnock and Bernstein. It is too bad the Bruggen is oop because it is an excellent PI set of all of the significant symphonies:

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I'm with Kopa on both of those...also very much of a fan of kv201 and I can listen to Haydn symphonies all day long
Well, thank you for the information, haydfan.
I didn't even know that there ARE complete Haydn symphonies boxsets in existence.
Your welcome! Hope you enjoy some Haydn symphonies in the future.
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I haven't heard all of Haydn's symphonies, and I don't consider it a priority as of yet (my priority right now is listening to all 200 or so of Bach's cantatas!), but so far my favorite is No. 88. It's such an irresistibly charming work.

We all know my history with Mozart's symphonies, but I'm willing to give them a shot since I'm sure I've become "better suited" to them over recent months (for want of a better term). I listened to Bruno Walter's recording of No. 40 about a year ago and liked it a bit, though I'm not sure if that was because of the conductor, the orchestra, the sound, or the fact that it actually ends in the minor key. It's a pleasant enough symphony, so that's my sorta de facto favorite amongst the Mozart symphonies.
My favorite Mozart symphony is #38 (I had no idea it was so popular here that is awesome). In truth Ive not listened to much Haydn (considering how vast his oeuvre is). The only two Haydn symphonies I own are #82 and #94. Out of these two I prefer #82. I've heard one of the movements from symphony #45 as well and that also sounded quite good.

(I do plan to pick up more Haydn symphonies soon, but I'd like to explore his string quartets and piano sonatas first)
@ haydnfan, Now I'm really impressed; a 37 cd box set! :eek:
I guessit's not too much of a stretch then to infer--as if your username wasn't enough of a clue--that Haydn is your absolute favorite composer. :tiphat:
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