Haydn Symphony No 94 G major 'Surprise' 'Mit dem Paukenschlag' M
  • Classical music composed by Franz Joseph Haydn The Symphony No. 94 in G major (Hoboken 1/94) is the second of the twelve so-called London symphonies (numbers 93-104) written by Joseph Haydn. It is usually called by its nickname, the Surprise Symphony, although in German it is more often referred to as the Symphony "mit dem Paukenschlag" ("with the kettledrum stroke"). Haydn wrote the symphony in 1791 in London for a concert series he gave during the first of his visits to England (1791--1792). The premiere took place at the Hanover Square Rooms in London on March 23, 1792, with Haydn leading the orchestra seated at a fortepiano. The Surprise Symphony is scored for a Classical-era orchestra consisting of two each of flutes, oboes, bassoons, horns, trumpets, plus timpani, and the usual string section consisting of first and second violins, violas, cellos, and double basses. Nickname (the Surprise) Haydn's music contains many jokes, and the "Surprise" Symphony includes probably the most famous of all: a sudden fortissimo chord at the end of an otherwise piano opening theme in the variation-form second movement. The music then returns to its original quiet dynamic, as if nothing had happened, and the ensuing variations do not repeat the joke. In Haydn's old age, George August Griesinger, his biographer, asked whether he wrote this "surprise" to awaken the audience. Haydn replied: No, but I was interested in surprising the public with something new, and in making a brilliant debut, so that my student Pleyel, who was at ...

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