Haydn Symphony 103 Pierre Boulez Chicago SO 03 12 2006

Haydn Symphony 103 Pierre Boulez Chicago SO 03 12 2006

Composed in 1795, Haydn's "Symphony No. 3" is part of Haydn's "London" Symphonies (Robbins 2011). During the mid Classical era, music is moving away from court systems and patronage and toward public concerts, especially in cities like London (Bonds 2010). By this point, the Classical Symphony is fairly regular in terms of structure, with four movements being the most common.


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In this work, instrumentation is obviously different than in previous periods. Haydn is now employing the full orchestra instrumentation. From the very beginning, the work begins with a slower introduction into a faster section, all within the first movement. This slower introduction is often a key identifier of a Haydn symphony. Through analysis of the score, tonality is now solidified with tonic and dominant key areas largely explored. Homophonic texture, typical in the mid Classical period, highlights melody as the key component with harmonic movement underneath as accompaniment. Throughout each movement, Haydn reuses and incorporates similar thematic content, showing a cyclical coherence where each movement relates to all the others (Robbins 2011). This is becoming more and more common throughout the progression of the Classical period. An important performance practice that occurred as a direct result of cyclical coherence is concert etiquette. Specifically, it was most common to wait until the end of all movements before applauding, demonstrating the need to listen to all the movements in relation to the others and as a holistic composition.


In comparison to Haydn's "Trumpet Concerto in Eb," one may find many commonalities. Both are very structured, with homophonic texture being dominant. Instrumentation is larger in both compositions than in previous periods. Tonality is a key focus with both works beginning in the tonic key and modulating into the dominant key. Both fit within standard forms of the classical era. The concerto fits the typical concerto form of three movements (fast-slow-fast) and clearly follows an exposition, development, and recapitulation form. All three movements borrow melodic, harmonic, and thematic content from main melodies to give it the same cyclical coherence found in "Symphony No. 103."


"Symphony No. 103" is an interesting piece because it very easily fits into a Classical "mold" and demonstrates many key characteristics that make it easily identfiable as Haydn's work. I enjoyed studying this work to solidify my understanding of Haydn's musical characteristic. With this understanding, I feel that I am now better able to contrast Haydn's music to Mozart's.

Works CitedEdit

"Haydn Symphony 103 Pierre Boulez Chicago SO 03 12 2006." YouTube video, 30:24. Posted by "laserpblanca," upload July 8, 2013.

Mark Evans Bonds. A History of Music in Western Culture. 4th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice-Hall, 2013.

Ernst Praetorius (editor). Symphony No. 103. Creative Commons Attribution.,_Hob.I:103_(Haydn,_Joseph)

Allison Robbins. (2011, February) Classical Period. Musicology 220. Lecture conducted from University of Tennessee, Knoxville.