Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/37

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SYMPHONY.

earlier compositions there is throughout a most remarkable advance in vitality. The distribu- tion of certain cadences and passages of tutti still appear to modern ears formal; but compared with the immature formalism of expression, even in principal ideas, which was prevalent twenty or even ten years earlier, the improve- ment is immense. In such structural elements as the development of the ideas, the concise and energetic flow of the music, the distribution and contrast of instrumental tone, and the balance and proportion of sound, these works are gene- rally held to reach a pitch almost unsurpassable from the point of view of technical criticism. Mozart's intelligence and taste, dealing with thoughts as yet undisturbed by strong or pas- sionate emotion, attained a degree of perfection in the sense of pure and directly intelligible art which later times can scarcely hope to see approached. Haydn's symphonies up to this time cannot be said to equal Mozart's in any respect ; though they show a considerable improvement on the style of treatment and expression in the ' Trauer ' or the ' Farewell' Symphonies. Of those which are better known of about this date are ' La Poule' and 'Letter V,' which were written (both for Paris) in 1786 and 1787. 'Letter Q,' or the ' Oxford ' Symphony, which was per- formed when Haydn received the degree of Doctor of Music from that university, dates from 1788, the same year as Mozart's great triad. 'Letter V and 'Letter Q' are in his mature style, and thoroughly characteristic in every respect. The orchestration is clear and fresh, though not so sympathetic nor so elastic in its variety as Mozart's ; and the ideas, with all their geniality and directness, are not up to his own highest standard. It is the last twelve, which were written for Salomon after 1790, which have really fixed Haydn's high position <vs a composer of symphonies; these became so popular as practically to supersede the numer- ous works of all his predecessors and contempo- raries except Mozart, to the extent of causing them to be almost completely forgotten. This is owing partly to the high pitch of technical skill which he attained, partly to the freshness and geniality of his ideas, and partly to the vigour and daring of harmonic progression which he manifested. He and Mozart together enriched this branch of art to an extraordinary degree, and towards the end of their lives began to introduce far deeper feeling and earnestness into the style than had been customary in early works of the class. The average orchestra had increased in size, and at the same time had gained a better balance of its component ele- ments. Instead of the customary little group of strings and four wind instruments, it had come to comprise, besides the strings, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, and drums. To these were occasionally added 2 clari- nets, as in Haydn's three last (the two in D minor and one in Eb), and in one move- ment of the Military Symphony. Neither Mozart nor Haydn ever used trombones in

��SYMPHONY.

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��symphonies ; but uncommon instruments were sometimes employed, as in the 'Military,' in which Haydn used a big drum, a triangle and cymbals. In his latest symphonies Haydn's treatment of his orchestra agrees in general with the description already given of Mozart's. The bass has attained a free motion of its own ; the violas rarely cling in a dependent manner to it, but have their own individual work to do, and the same applies to the second violins, which no longer so often appear merely 'col imo.' The wind instruments fill up and sustain the harmonies as completely as in former days ; but they cease merely to hold long notes without characteristic features, or slavishly to follow the string parts whenever something livelier is required. They may still play a great deal that is mere doubling, but there is generally method in it ; and the musical ideas they express are in a great measure proportioned to their characters and style of utterance. Haydn was rather fond of long passages for wind alone, as in the slow movement of the Oxford Symphony, the opening passage of the first allegro of the Military Symphony, and the ' working out ' of the Symphony in C, no. I of the Salomon set. Solos in a tune-form for wind instruments are also rather more common than in Mozart's works, and in many respects the various elements which go to make up the whole are less assimilated than they are by Mozart. The tunes are generally more definite in their outlines, and stand in less close relation with their context. It appears as if Haydn always re- tained to the last a strong sympathy with simple people's-tunes ; the character of his minuets and trios, and especially of his finales, is some- times strongly defined in this respect ; but his way of expressing them within the limits he chose is extraordinarily finished and acute. It is possible that, as before suggested, he got his taste for sur- prises in harmonic progression from C. P. E. Bach. His instinct for such things, considering the age he lived in, was very remarkable. The passage on the next page, from his Symphony in C, just referred to, illustrates several of the above points at once.

The period of Haydn and Mozart is in every respect the principal crisis in the history of the Symphony. When they came upon the scene, it was not regarded as a very important form of art. In the good musical centres of those times and there were many there was a great demand for symphonies ; but the bands for which they were written were small, and appear from the most natural inferences not to have been very efficient or well organised. The standard of performance was evidently rough, and composers could neither expect much attention to pianos and fortes, nor any ability to grapple with tech- nical difficulties among the players of bass in- struments or violas. The audiences were critical in the one sense of requiring good healthy work- manship in the writing of the pieces in fact much better than they would demand in _the present day ; but with regard to deep meaning, refinement, poetical intention, or originality, they

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