"Surprise", in the music of Joseph Haydn, is not just
the nickname of his G major symphony No. 94 (Hoboken 1/94). The
unexpected is everywhere. Bewildering harmonic progressions,
astonishing dynamic shifts, stunning rhythmic elaborations.
"Surprise" in the music of Joseph Haydn
His novelties in instrumentation, widely acknowledged in his
symphonies, specially the "London" symphonies, are no less apparent in
the piano. The "open pedal" effect which appears twice, by his own
terms, in the autograph score of his Sonata in C major Hob.XVI:50,
first movement, track 4 of this recording, flagrantly mixes various
dissonant harmonies. Here may be an antecedent for a similar effect in
his student Beethoven's Sonata No.17, "Tempest" op.31 n.2.
Contrast is also carried to the extreme throughout his works.
Heterogeneity in all aspect of a music: durations (very) long and
short; dynamics (very) strong and soft; pitch ranges (very) high and
His achievements as a composer but also performer in mid 1700s
promulgated him as a court composer for the Hungarian Esterhazy family
in 1761. Haydn was providing compositions for all occasions at the
Esterhazy palaces in Vienna. Simultaneously the growing music
publishing industry in Vienna contributed to the dissemination of his
In the 1780s his music could be heard in most major cities including
London, Paris but also Boston, Philadelphia. As the eighteenth century
came to an end, Joseph Haydn was among the most famous and influential
composers in Europe.
Sonata in E-flat Maj. Hob.XVI:49
II-Adagio e cantabile
III-Finale: Tempo di Minuet
Sonata in C Maj. Hob.XVI:50
Sonata in D Maj. Hob.XVI:51
Sonata in E-flat Maj. Hob.XVI:52