Day 8: Alleluja, Indeed

Haydn008I was grumpy as a sleeping bear this morning – until the first notes of Haydn’s Symphony No. 30 in C (nicknamed “Alleluia”) filled my ears.


This is an extraordinary work, so perfectly crafted, so expertly arranged, that it drew me in immediately.

According to its entry on Wiki,

It is nicknamed the Alleluia Symphony because of Haydn’s use of a Gregorian Alleluia chant in the opening movement…

The Alleluia chant of the first movement has been confused with the principal melodic line in the finale of Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 in C major. Mozart did use this Alleluia chant melody for his Alleluia Canon, K. 533, written shortly after he completed his C major symphony. 

The work is scored for flute, two oboes, bassoon, two horns, trumpets, timpani and strings with continuo.

To my (admittedly untrained) ears, Movement I (“Allegro”) is unlike the other Movement I allegros that Haydn composed in previous symphonies. This allegro is just as quick, to be sure, but the instruments LarrySelfPortrait2 copyintertwine each other like Larry, our cat, winds in and out of our legs when he wants breakfast each morning – and, likely, for the same reason: they want something. My attention. In this case, they got it. From the first five notes.

Even the Andante Movement II doesn’t retard my joy as a slower movement often does. This movement is punctuated with flute and oboe solos (and a happy sounding violin chorus) that makes the whole thing sound like the score of Continue reading