A fresh listen to the 'Surprise' Symphony, and it has a mastery, that is immediately apparent. The second movement, Andante, is one of Joseph Haydn's finest in variation. The solo woodwind section which floats over the theme in the strings, and the massive tutti just before the end (in which trumpets and drums are skillfully used to increase the tension), are truly "equal to the happiest of this great Master's conceptions".
The most moving passage comes at the very end, where a merry little nursery tune, that has lingered through the course of the four movements, is bathed in romantic, harmonic, and orchestral, colours, and so becomes iluminated with the radiance of Haydn's quiet benediction.
Side One : Symphony No.94 in G 'Surprise' :-
1) Adagio cantabile - Vivace assai 2) Andante 3) Minuet: Allegro molto 4) Allegro molto
In Symphony No.99, the gamut of the composer's emotions reaches from mellow warmth to explosive drama, from the ethereal beauty of a slow introduction to the effervescent high spirits of the finale. The late Joseph Haydn is infused with a depth and wisdom which cannot fail to move the attentive listener.
Clarinets make their first appearance in a Haydn symphony, although he had used them in divertimenti and other kinds of chamber music. One other feature of this symphony, is what in German is called "Terzverwandtschaft", or relationship of keys to thirds - the slow movement, previously in the closely related dominant or subdominant, is now in the mediant, i.e. G major.
Side Two : Symphony No.99 in E flat :-
1) Adagio - Vivace assai 2) Adagio 3) Minuet : Allegretto 4) Vivace
Records graded visually to RRPG grades (record/sleeve) EX-/EX-.