Sinfonia Concertante (Haydn)

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The Sinfonia Concertante in B flat major (Hob. I/105), by Joseph Haydn was composed in London between February and March 1792.[1] The work is a sinfonia concertante with four instruments in the solo group: violin, cello, oboe and bassoon. It is believed to be a response to similar works composed by Ignaz Pleyel, a former student of Haydn's who London newspapers were promoting as a 'rival' to Haydn.[2] In addition to the solo group the Sinfonia Concertante is scored for flute, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani and strings.


The composition was written during the first of the composer's two visits to London. It is believed that Johann Peter Salomon asked Haydn to compose the work because of the success of similar works written by Pleyel and performed in a rival concert series.[1][3]

Manuscript evidence indicates that the work was written in some haste and Haydn is known to have complained of eyestrain while working on it.[2][3][4]

The first performance was given on 9 March 1792, with Salomon as lead violinist in the solo group.[2][3][5] The other members of the solo group are only known by their surnames, Harrington (Oboe), Holmes (Bassoon) and Menel (Cello).[3][5] The performance was highly successful and not only was the work encored the following week, it was performed again during Haydn's 1794 visit to London with equal success.[2]

Reviewing the first performance, The Monday Herald commented as follows: "The last performance at SALOMAN'S Concert deserves to be mentioned as one of the richest treats which the resent season has afforded. A new concertante from HAYDN combined with all the excellencies of music; it was profound, airy, affecting, and original, and the performance was in unison with the merit of the composition. SALOMON particularly exerted himself on this occasion, in doing justice to the music of his friend HAYDN... The room had a very brilliant attendance."[6]

The Oracle was also enthusiastic, giving the performance this notice: "Haydn directed for the first time the Performance of a New Concertante -- the third movement of which seemed expressly calculated to shew the brilliancy of SALOMON'S, and the sweetness of his tone. The prevailing manner of this Master pervaded every movement -- it had all his usual grandeur, contrasted by the levity of airy transition, and the sudden surprises of abrupt rests... The Company were very brilliant." [6]


There are three movements:

  1. Allegro
  2. Andante
  3. Finale: Allegro con spirito

A typical performance will take between 21 and 25 minutes.


  1. ^ a b Huscher 2010
  2. ^ a b c d Foglesong 2009
  3. ^ a b c d Shulman 2013
  4. ^ Wilson 2009
  5. ^ a b Anderson 2000
  6. ^ a b Landon, H. C. Robbins, liner notes to Haydn: Cello Concertos in C & D, Sinfonia Concertante, Steven Isserlis, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Sir Roger Norrington, BMG Classics, 1998
  • Anderson, Keith (2000). "Liner notes - Haydn: Symphonies, Vol. 22 (Nos. 13, 36 / Sinfonia Concertante) Naxos 8.554762". Naxos Records. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  • Foglesong, Scott (2009-05-03). "Haydn's Sinfonia Concertante for London". Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  • Huscher, Phillip (2010). "Program Notes: Joseph Haydn - Sinfonia concertante in B-flat Major, Hob. I: 105" (PDF). Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  • Shulman, Laurie (2013). "Programme Note - Bach and Beyond" (PDF). Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Retrieved 2013-06-01.[dead link]
  • Wilson, Conrad (2009). "Programme Note - Sinfonia Concertante (Hadyn)". Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Archived from the original on 2015-03-25. Retrieved 2019-06-14.

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