Symphony No. 100, Military
Franz Joseph Haydn
|1||Adagio - Allegro||0:08:25||Add to Playlist||Play Now|
|2||Allegretto||0:06:22||Add to Playlist||Play Now|
|3||Menuet: Moderato||0:05:00||Add to Playlist||Play Now|
|4||Presto||0:05:57||Add to Playlist||Play Now|
During his long tenure with the Esterházy family, Haydn spent much of his time dutifully entertaining his patrons at a remote country estate. He encountered a vastly different environment during his two visits in the 1790s to London, a bustling city that welcomed him as a celebrity. Contrasting the lofty, imperial tastes of the Viennese, London audiences favored splashy and spectacular entertainment—ranging from revivals of Handel oratorios involving hundreds of performers to popular caricatures such as The Beggar’s Opera. Haydn, in his second set of London symphonies, seemed to respond to English tastes by writing music with extra panache. He added the robust tone of clarinets in all but one symphony, and he incorporated flashy gestures that inspired nicknames still associated with several works: Military (Symphony No. 100), The Clock (Symphony No. 101) and Drum Roll (Symphony No. 103).
Haydn began the Symphony No. 100 in Vienna in 1793, and he probably finished it after arriving in London in February 1794. As in all but one of the London Symphonies, No. 100 starts with a slow introduction. The dotted rhythms give this Adagio section an antique air, in the manner of a Baroque overture in the French style. The first theme of the ensuing Allegro is scored for flutes and oboes alone, a sign of the independence the woodwinds achieved as Haydn developed his symphonic craft. (When he began writing symphonies thirty years earlier, the common practice was to use only four or five wind players, all in subservient roles). Haydn’s drama and wit are in full effect in this movement, studded with sudden key changes and pregnant pauses.
The Allegretto that comes next is the signature movement of the Military Symphony. At first, the relaxed melody reveals no trace of war clouds. Haydn adapted this music from an earlier concerto for two lire organizzate (peculiar instruments that combined aspects of a hurdy-gurdy and hand-cranked organ), commissioned by the King of Naples in 1786. The “military” music sweeps in with a jarring forte entrance on a dark minor chord. The percussive combination of bass drum, crash cymbals and triangle was considered a “Turkish” sound. (Mozart, for example, used the same arsenal in his 1782 opera The Abduction from the Seraglio.)
The Menuetto third movement retains a militaristic flair, accentuating the cheerful theme with trumpets and timpani. The contrasting trio section also helps lace the symphony together, with dotted rhythms that recall the opening introduction. The finale, like the first movement, plays with unexpected doses of minor-key harmonies and suspenseful gaps in the music. The percussion battery returns at the end for a final dash of clangorous celebration.