Haydn: Symphony #49 in f minor "La passione" Hob.I:49

The Symphony No. 49 in F minor (Hoboken 1/49) was written in 1768 by Joseph Haydn during his Sturm und Drang period. It is popularly known as La passione (The Passion). The scoring of the symphony is typical of Haydn in this period: two oboes, bassoon, two horns, strings and continuo. As with all the other titles that have become attached to Haydn's symphonies, this did not originate with the composer himself. It was long believed that the nickname "La passione" or The Passion derived from the nature of the music itself: the slow opening movement of the sinfonia da chiesa, its minor key modality and its association with the Sturm und Drang period of Haydn's symphonic output. Drawing from this traditional reading, H.C. Robbins Landon has described it as "dark-hued, somber—even tragic." However, the nickname can be traced back to a single source from a performance given during Holy Week in the Northern German city of Schwerin in 1790, where secular music was banned from performance between 1756 and 1785. This suggests that the name was derived circumstantially and not thematically and that reading the symphony as having a Passion-related motif is post-facto interpretation.


VIDEO: Ensemble dell'Orchestra Filarmonica Italiana, Ruggero Barbieri.

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