Symphony Number 45 in F# Minor (the "Farewell symphony") Essay

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Symphony Number 45 in F# Minor (the "Farewell symphony")

Between 1761 and 1790 Haydn was employed by the enormously wealthy Esterhazy family who had two palaces on the borders of Austria and Hungary. The court orchestra was similar to that of many baroque orchestras - two oboes, a bassoon, a string ensemble and a harpsichord. But it also included a pair of horns - instruments that became a regular part of the orchestra thereafter. --------------------------------------------------------------------

It was this orchestra that accompanied operas in the palace theatre and played symphonies twice a week. Haydn's symphony number 45 in F# minor was first performed in the summer prince Nikolaus
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The last movement of the Farewell symphony contains both styles. The presto is stormy, but the violent mood is restrained by its form. The major -mode serenity at the start of the Adagio is later tinged with minor-mode sadness and one of the strangest endings in symphonic music.

Haydn's use of wind instruments is quite different from Bach's and shows how orchestration changed during the 18th century. Where Bach uses wind instruments to provide melodic lines within his contrapuntal textures, in this symphony Haydn uses them to add colour or weight to the string parts. In fact a performance of the presto on strings alone would make perfect sense.

The oboes are used in two ways: they reinforce the violins in loud passages and provide sustained notes that bind the texture (eg bars 20-24) or give a reedy edge to discords (eg start of bars 25,27 and 29). Although printed on a separate stave in some scores the bassoon simply doubles the cello/bass part throughout the presto.

Natural horns, like natural trumpets, could play only a limited number of notes. But by requiring the use of different crooks for the town horns Haydn is able to use a wider number of pitches that would otherwise have been possible. The horns' most important job is to provide harmonic glue for contrapuntal passages such as bars 20-24 of the finale, where the second horn doubles the first oboe pedal
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