Friday, 4 September 2009

Haydn - Farewell Symphony

I was recently asked to join a local orchestra for a performance of Haydn's Symphony 45 - "Farewell". Unfortunately, I was unable to accept their invitation; however, an alarm bell did start ringing...

So I found a copy of the cello / bass part, and had a quick flick through. Nothing to worry about by looking at the first page - 3 sharps, big deal. But my memory was telling me there was a passage in 6 sharps, and a rather exposed bass solo. And, me being a bit pessimistic about these things, I thought that it might be that the solo itself was in 6 sharps. Oh dear. So I had to keep looking...

First movement - nothing to worry about. Second movement - an awkward "Scotch Snap" type rhythm at the beginning of the second half, but not much of a problem. Third movement - Minuet & Trio - again, nothing there apart from the 6 sharp key signature. It must be in the Finale.

The finale. "Presto". Oh dear. Thankfully, only 3 sharps in the key signature. But again, nothing immediately obvious until I turned on to the last page, where the presto leads into an Adagio passage (whew!) in 3/8, which seems to be about the point where Haydn starts sending the players home. And there we have it - the dread phrase "uno Basso solo", with an exposed triplet semiquaver passage.

And here's that passage for future reference (click for a bigger version suitable for printing and practising):

(NB: I typeset this using Sibelius, and tried to publish this as a Scorch object, but, for whatever reason, it didn't want to display the score. I'll have to try this properly when I get the time...)

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