Day 26: The Queen and Me

HaydnCD26Symphony No. 85 in B Flat “La Reine” (The Queen) is familiar to me, especially Movement III (“Menuetto & Trio: Allegretto”). I hear it now and then on the local Classical radio station.

This is a very, very good symphony.

It sounds so much like a symphony from that era that it very well could be the quintessential symphony, Plato’s Symphony — the idealized prototype for all symphonies.

The fourth of the six-part Paris Symphonies, No. 85 was composed in 1785 or 1786. Like the preceding three — and subsequent two — No. 85 sounds rich and full, with a depth and complexity that could only have come from a mature Haydn, one in command of his talents, confident and assured in his gift for composition. He was 53 or 54.

This is another Haydn symphony that I dub “favorite.”

521px-Marie-Antoinette;_koningin_der_FransenWhy is it called The Queen? According to its entry on Wikipedia:

The nickname “La Reine” originated because the work was a favorite of Marie Antoinette, at the time Queen of France. It is the only one of the Paris symphonies whose nickname is of 18th-century origin.

Symphony No. 86 in D is no slouch, though. From the get-go, Movement I (“Adagio – Allegro spiritoso”) stirs my soul and puts a smile on my face. When I think of what a symphony (at least the Continue reading