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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Musical Interlude

(For politics, please scroll down)

My music appreciation teacher in elementary school introduced us to Classical Period music by having us listen to Haydn's Surprise Symphony; we also learned about the basics of symphonic form.

Haydn (1732-1809, contemporaneous with George Washington), was a prolific composer, in part because he held the position of Kapellmeister for the Esterházy Family, who, in Haydn's words:  "forced [him] to become original."  The Esterházy estate ([s]ometimes called the "Hungarian Versailles") was distant from populated areas and isolated him from other composers and trends in music.

When I studied Music Appreciation in college, I discovered more of Haydn's glorious music, including the piece below.

About the above piece, from Musical Musings:
I. Allegro - The concerto begins with the presentation of motives by the orchestra. Haydn doesn't always have markedly different themes in his sonata movements, and this section is dominated by a martial theme that is punctuated by timpani and trumpets. When the solo trumpet enters it repeats the opening motive, and Haydn exploits the expanded compass of Weidinger's keyed trumpet with notes that would not be possible on a natural trumpet. The soloist expands upon the opening motives and enters into a dialogue with the orchestra in the development section, but the soloist remains in the spotlight. The recapitulation repeats the opening motive by the soloist until Haydn gives a fermata rest for the orchestra while the soloist plays a cadenza. The orchestra returns and brings the movement to a close.

II. Andante - Again Haydn exploits the keyed trumpet by giving it a gentle melody to play with the orchestra in this short movement.

III. Allegro - Haydn writes an energetic rondo as the final movement. The soloist plays rapid repeated notes, trills, and other dazzling figurations throughout the rondo. The entire compass of the trumpet from the bottom to the top is used to good effect throughout.
Read about (Franz) Joseph Haydn's life HERE.

For those interested in stories of the weird and gruesome, see Haydn's Head.


  1. What a bright, clean, clear, wholesome, energetic thing this is! Haydn's music displays confidence and joy in living like no other. Its exuberance dispels doubt, fear, gloom, sadness; it is the music of sanity and well-being.

    Without Haydn there would have been no Mozart or Beethoven –– a debt both of those great composers reacognized and acknowledged freely.

    Thank you for this, AOW. It's impossible to feel anxious, angry or depressed Whe listening to an invigorating reminder like this concerto of the best that human nature can produce.

    1. FT,
      I deliberately chose this piece for the reasons you mentioned in the first paragraph of your comment. I've had it up to my eyeballs with the insanity of politics and societal ills.


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