Symphony No. 47 (Haydn)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Joseph Haydn's Symphony No. 47 in G major Hob. I:47 was probably written in 1772. It was nicknamed "The Palindrome".


Scored for 2 oboes, bassoon, 2 horns, and strings.[1] It is in four movements:

  1. Allegro, 4
  2. Un poco adagio cantabile in D major, 2
  3. Menuetto e Trio, 3
  4. Presto assai, 2

The opening movement begins with a hammerstroke and a dotted-rhythm fanfare of repeated notes which serves as the first theme for the sonata-form movement. The line between the development and recapitulation is blurred by the reappearance of the dotted-rhythm in G minor (the home tonic but the wrong mode) followed by standard recapitulation of the second theme group. The first theme is finally resolved in the concluding coda.[2]

The slow movement is a theme with four variations in invertible counterpoint. Through the third variation, each appearance of the ternary theme with winds appearing only in the middle section framed by muted strings in the outer sections. In the second outer section, the theme in two voices is inverted. Also, through each of the first three variations the surface rhythms are accelerating from eighth notes to sixteenth notes to triplet-sixteenths to thirty-seconds. The fourth variation varies from this pattern in that it is fully scored for the entire variation and serves as a recapitulation for the movement. What follows is a coda where the theme slowly dies away.[2]

The "Minuetto al Roverso" is the reason this symphony is sometimes called "The Palindrome": the second part of the Minuet is the same as the first but backwards, and the Trio is also written in this way.[3][4]

Al roverso symfonie 47 Haydn.png


  1. ^ H. C. Robbins Landon, The Symphonies of Joseph Haydn, London: Universal Edition & Rockliff (1955): 687.
  2. ^ a b A. Peter Brown, The Symphonic Repertoire, 2 volumes. Bloomington and London: Indiana University Press (2002): 2:139–143. ISBN 025333487X
  3. ^ Antony Hodgson, The Music of Joseph Haydn: The Symphonies, London: The Tantivy Press (1976): 74.
  4. ^ Mark Evan Bonds, "Haydn's 'Cours complet de la composition' and the Sturm und Drang", in Haydn Studies, ed. W. Dean Sutcliffe, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (1998): 166. "The most extraordinary of all canonic movements from this time is of course the 'Minuet al rovescio' from Symphony No. 47 in G major (1772), later re-used in Sonata No. 41 in A major Hob. XVI:26 (1773). Here Haydn writes out only one reprise of a two-reprise form, and the performer must play the music 'backward' the second time around."