Dear audience:

We are starting a new year and we take this opportunity to wish you all the luck in 2024. For our part, we will continue to offer a concert every two months that we hope will serve to enrich your lives with pleasant moments around good music.

We begin this new 2024 with new news, and that is that we will replace one of the programmed pieces, by Mozart, with the impressive Symphony No. 103 in Eb Hob. I:103 by Franz Joseph Haydn , more famously known as the “Timpani Roll Symphony.”

Franz Joseph Haydn

Haydn composed two series of symphonies during his visits to London in the 1790s:

London Symphonies numbers 93-98 :
They were composed to be performed in this city during his first trip, between 1791 and 1792. They include such famous works as Symphony No. 94 "Surprise" and Symphony No. 95.

London Symphonies numbers 99-104 :
They correspond to his second trip to London, between 1794 and 1795. Within this group is Symphony No. 103 "Timpani Roll", the object of study. Other highlights are No. 100 "Military" and No. 101 "Watch".

Therefore, Symphony No. 103 is part of the so-called "London Symphonies", composed on request for concerts in the English capital. The orchestral grandeur with more wind players added brightness and color to his mature works, and his popularity endures because of the quality of melodic invention and the ductility of classical forms. His genius anticipates later romantic trends without losing late Viennese elegance.

Some of the highlights of this great work that we can enjoy on January 20 are the following:

The outstanding introduction of the first movement, with the famous timpani roll that gives the work its name, was something that captured much of the attention at the premiere. The slow introduction presents a solemn and mysterious theme that contrasts with the workiness of the main Allegro. The second movement is written as double variations, a form highly appreciated by Haydn , in which the tonalities of C minor and major contrast. The scherzante Minuet, with its marked rhythm and dancing energy, is a typical model of the Viennese composer, the Trio being polyphonically more complex. In the final movement we can appreciate the masterful use of counterpoint and the harmonic tension at the end, in a dynamic way and with great formal control.

We can affirm that its quality earned it one of Haydn's most acclaimed works since its premiere in London in 1795.

Johann Peter Salomon

In total, the "London Symphonies" are twelve, composed at the request of the music entrepreneur Johann Peter Salomon to be premiered at his concerts in the English capital. They are works that marked Haydn 's creative peak and the maturity of his style, with innovative developments in form, orchestration and expressiveness. Thanks to these symphonies, Haydn achieved enormous international fame and established himself as one of the most important classical musicians. And within this group, No. 103 has a very important recognition. Not to miss it.

Jorge Rodríguez Morata
Pedagogical content coordinator.

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