Listening to Haydn (3)

Like Symphony No 6, Haydn’s Symphony No 31 (“The Hornsignal”) often uses instruments in a soloistic way. It is a very warm piece, written soon after the recruitment of two new horn players to the Esterharzy orchestra. It may be fanciful, but it has an almost conversational feel, I think, as if the new players are being welcomed by the orchestra. Of the works of Haydn I know, this symphony is really one of my favourites.

In the last Haydn post, I wrote about the different movements in a symphony. In The Hornsignal the fourth movement is very like a conventional second movement. Towards the end Haydn, as if aware of the problem he is creating for himself, stops composing more lyrical music, turns up the volume and speeds things up a bit (Beethoven, later,  did something similar if on a bigger scale at the end of his 9th Symphony). He also brings back the “horn signals” that began the work, which begs the question, why does repeating music from the start of a work make us think we’re approaching the end?

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4 thoughts on “Listening to Haydn (3)

  1. I love the way you have come to Haydn relatively late in life. I have always found his music restful to listen to – I suspect that would be seen as a very back handed compliment by Haydn himself!

    1. I’ve always liked it a lot, only there’s so much of it you won’t know a lot of it until relatively late in life even if you listen to it every day!

      I find it quite invigorating.

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