Haydn: Symphony 104 (“London Symphony”)
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra | Nicholas McGegan | Philharmonia Baroque Productions 2016
This is Haydn’s last symphony, and the last of the series known as the ‘London Symphonies’. The introduction is a dramatic Adagio, starting with a tonic to dominant interval on all instruments including timpani, sounding very much like a question. Dynamic changes from ff to pp occur in the space of a single bar. In contrast, the main section of the first movement starts with quite a light hearted theme in D major. The second movement has some lovely wind only parts, such as the Più largo section written for flute, two oboes (in thirds) and a bassoon, though these sections are quite short. The menuetto has a characteristic strong upbeat, slurred to the first beat of the bar. The Allegro spiritoso finale starts with a pedal note held by the horns and lower strings, and a simple folk-like melody played over the top by the violins. This movement is in sonata form – however both subjects are based on the same theme, which is played first in D major and then in the dominant, A major.