Haydn Oxford Symphony Analysis

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Another composer who played an important role in the development of the Symphony is no other than Joseph Haydn, the ‘Father of Symphony’. One of his works, Symphony no. 92 in G Major, Hob I:92, composed in 1789, will be reviewed. “Oxford” Symphony was commissioned by Count d’Ogny for the Loge Olympique Concerts in Paris. It is known as “Oxford” because Haydn presented this symphony at the Sheldonian Theater at Oxford University in July 1791, where he was awarded a honorary doctorate degree. This symphony displays Haydn’s mature style of composition, presenting his capability to utilize thematic development, counterpoint and a mixture of distinctive moods. This work calls for flute, pairs of oboes, bassoons, horns in G and trumpets in C, timpani, and strings.
Similar to Stamitz’s, “Oxford” symphony is written in four movements and has similar tempo structure; I. Adagio-Allegro Spiritoso, II. Andante Cantabile, III. Menuetto, Allegreto, IV. Finale: Presto. However, the first movement is now written in the Sonata form which developed from
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The length of this movement itself (691 measures) is as long as a whole symphony in the previous generation and it is what made this movement ‘heroic’. Beethoven treated the main melody in this movement like a character in a drama. Beethoven started an unusual trend in the exposition by letting the cello play the pastoral theme which outlines an E-flat major triad. The triple meter is another bizarre trait, yet when it’s combined with the tempo of this movement; it reminds the listener of Deutsche peasant dance. The primary theme (see fig. 1.4) underwent several thematic transformations in this movement, first being treated in rising sequences. The ‘antagonist’ leaping figures (see fig.1.4) outline accents on weak beat, giving the whole section a sense of metrical disruption. The second theme appeared in B-Flat major, followed by a closing
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