Symphony No. 56 in C Major, Hob. I:56, Allegro di molto (first movement)
Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music, CD 7 Tracks 47-53
As a teenager I hated Haydn
. Still, it is sometimes too easy for me to slip into a derisive mode when I see his name. For instance, my first reaction to seeing him listed in the liner notes of these recordings was to wonder why he got such a large amount of time. The second volume of my NAWM recordings, classic to modern, has a total of 354 minuets and 23 seconds of music. A little over 25 of those minuets are filled up by Mr. Haydn. This seems to suggest that Mr. Haydn is the author of approximately 7% of music written since 1750. Or that he is credited for providing us with 7% of significant
music since the start of the classical
period. And why is the style he wrote called classical
when something as disparate as Berg's Lulu
only gets played, if ever, on the classical
music radio station? And what were most people, people like little Franz's parents who could never have had smokes with the Esterházy's, what were they listening to? What were they singing? Whose to say that music was not better than the "surprise" symphony?
But eventually we all must get past our adolescent meanness, become friends with our parents, and even listen appreciatively to "Papa" Haydn.
Regarding his Symphony No. 56, his choice to relegate the sharpest dissonance to the softest bars of this triple time Allegro gives evidence of a composer mindful of craft.