Joseph Haydn / Symphony No. 31 in D major "Hornsignal"

Joseph Haydn's Symphony No. 31 in D major was composed in 1765 for Haydn's patron Nikolaus Esterházy. It is nicknamed the "Hornsignal" symphony, because it gives a prominent role to an unusually large horn section, i.e. four players. Probably because of its prominent obbligato writing for the horns, in Paris, the publisher Sieber published this symphony as a "symphonie concertante" around 1785. The exact date of the symphony is not known, other than the year. However, the symphony must have been premiered no earlier than May and before September 13, 1765.The premiere performance would have taken place in the hall of one of Prince Esterházy's palaces, probably in the family seat at Eisenstadt. The orchestra was very small, with perhaps three each for first and second violins, one violist, one cellist, and one bass player; but in compensation the hall would have been quite reverberant the basis of a sonically impressive effect when the (not entirely refined, valveless) horns of the day were played in a group of four. Haydn himself probably would have been one of the first violinists, leading the orchestra with his instrument. According to James Webster, "the audience would have consisted of the prince and his guests only and very often Haydn's orchestra of fifteen or so players would have outnumbered the listeners."


VIDEO:Haydn Symphony No.31 Hornsignal movement IV Stacy Aldrich, contrabass KSO Haydn Symphony No.31 Hornsignal movement III Minuet featuring the Minnesota Orchestra Horn Section: Michael Gast, Brian Jensen, Ellen Dinwiddie Smith, Michael Petruconis and Stacy Aldrich, contrabass Kenwood Symphony Orchestra Yuri Ivan, Music Director

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