Symphony No. 6 (Haydn)


Symphony No. 6 (Haydn)

The Symphony No. 6 in D major (Hoboken 1/6) is an early symphony written by Joseph Haydn and the first written after Haydn had joined the Esterházy court. It is the first of three that are characterised by unusual virtuoso writing across the orchestral ensemble. It is popularly known as "Le matin" (Morning).

Date of composition and scoring

Haydn wrote this, his first symphonic work for his new employer Prince Nikolaus Eszterházy, in the spring of 1761, shortly after joining the court. The Eszterházys maintained in permanent residence an excellent chamber orchestra and with his first contribution for it in the symphonic genre, Haydn fully exploited the talents of the players. In this, Haydn was consciously drawing on the familiar tradition of the concerto grosso, exemplified by the works of Antonio Vivaldi, Giuseppe Tartini, and Tomaso Albinoni then much in vogue at courts across Europe. All three symphonies (nos. 6, 7 and 8) feature extensive solo passages for the wind, horn and strings, including rare solo writing for the double bass and bassoon in the third movement. The work is scored for flute, two oboes, two bassoons, horns, timpani, continuo (harpsichord) and strings.

It has been commonly suggested that Haydn's motivation was to curry favour both with his new employer (by making reference to a familiar and popular tradition) and, perhaps more importantly, with the players upon whose goodwill he depended. [For a typical commentary, see D. McCaldin, Haydn Well Served in "The Musical Times," Vol. 132, No. 1783 (Sep., 1991), p. 448] Typically during this period, players who performed challenging solo passages or displayed unusual virtuosity received financial reward. By highlighting virtually all of the players in this regard, Haydn was, literally, spreading the wealth.

Nickname (Le matin)

The nickname (not Haydn's own, but quickly adopted) derives from the opening slow introduction of the opening movement, which clearly depicts sunrise. The remainder of the work is abstract, as, indeed, are the other two symphonies in the series. Because of the initial association, however, the remaining were quickly and complementarily named "noon" and "evening". [For information on this symphony generally and for further details, consult H.C. Robbins Landon, The Symphonies of Joseph Haydn. (London: Universal Edition. and Rockliff, 1955)]

Movements

* I. Adagio - Allegro
* II. Adagio - Andante - Adagio
* III. Menuet e Trio
* IV Finale: Allegro

Notes

ee also

* List of symphonies by name


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