Symphony No. 94 "Surprise" (Haydn)

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Haydn

The Symphony No. 94 in G major ("Surprise") is a symphony by Joseph Haydn. It was first performed in London on 23 March 1792 under Haydn's direction. It is nicknamed the "Surprise Symphony". It is sometimes called the "Kettledrum­stroke Symphony". The symphony's nickname is derived from the sudden loud chord played by the entire orchestra in the second movement. This movement is a set of variations on a sweet, gentle theme. The chord was Haydn's afterthought; it does not appear in the manuscript. One theory suggests Haydn inserted this loud chord saying, "That will make the ladies jump!". Another theory suggests he inserted it to wake up the music lovers who had dozed off after their dinners and drinks. Another theory suggests he inserted it to make the symphony memorable in light of the competition he faced from a series of London concerts directed by Ignatz Pleyel.

References[change | change source]

  • Woodstra, Chris, et. al. 2005. All Music Guide to Classical Music. All Media Guide, LLC. pp. 574-575. ISBN 0-87930-865-6