Haydn – Symphony No. 104, D-Major (London)

by Max Derrickson

Franz Josef Haydn   (Born March 31, 1732 in Rohrau, Austria; died May 31, 1809 in Vienna)

Symphony No. 104, D major (London)


Haydn took two forays toLondonat the behest of the British musician and impresario, Johann Peter Salomon, who contracted with the composer to create, along with other compositions and duties, 12 symphonies.  Haydn’s celebrity during bothLondonexcursions was met with “hysterical enthusiasm.”  The second of Haydn’s visits began in 1794 and produced the last, and greatest, six of what are collectively called his “London Symphonies.”


Haydn’s cleverness and sense of humour is a hallmark of his musical genius, and this is quickly evident with the introduction to the first movement Allegro.  Opening with a dark profundity in D minor, the listener has no idea that what is to quickly follow will be transformed into a running current of graciousness throughout the rest of the symphony.  The slow second movement Andante, followed by the light-hearted Menuetto (Allegro),      [. . .]    The finale then winds itself up into a romping coda as glorious as anything Haydn created.