Haydn’s symphony 44 is known as Trauer (Mourning). An apocryphal story relates that Haydn asked for the slow movement of this symphony to be played at his funeral.
This symphony was composed in 1772 and is typical of Haydn’s Sturm und Drang (storm and stress) period.
The Sturm und Drang was a pre-Romantic movement in German literature and music between the late 1760s and early 1780s.
It was characterized by extremes of emotions in reaction to the rationalism imposed by the Age of Enlightenment.
Thomas Hardy, portrait of Joseph Haydn – 1791
Haydn’s Symphony n.44 – Analysis
Allegro con brio
Should you need a score you can find one here.
The first movement is in sonata form and begins with a four-note motif played in unison. We will find this motif times and again throughout the entire movement. The jump from the tonic to the dominant and the return to the tonic – all in the forte dynamic – makes a clear statement: it grabs the attention of the listener and establishes a very serious tone.
The following two bars, in piano, seem to mitigate the temperament, with that descending lament – something we’ve encountered in many of the previous episodes.
Notice the orchestration: strings, 2 oboes, and 2 horns. The choice of these winds makes for quite a dark sound, sometimes warmer, sometimes colder, sometimes powerful, sometimes delicate. This type of nuance would not have been possible with, say, flutes and horns, or oboes and bassoons.
This content is available for free with all memberships.
Already a member? Login here.
Not a member yet? Subscribe today and get access to more than 80 videos, scores analysis, technical episodes, and exercises.
Got questions or other considerations? Let me know in the comments below and if you liked this post don’t forget to share it!
In doubt about a technical issue? Did you know that a The Maestro membership comes with 4-5 lessons per month?