Joseph Haydn had a wonderful ability to express emotion through his music. Some well-known examples are the “Farewell” symphony, where players who protested their poor wages and lack of benefits walk off one by one, as the music expresses their sadness. On the humor side, Haydn was a master, as well. His symphony #88 shows us many examples of Haydn’s genius.
Not only is this music elegant and expressive. There are many places where there are transitions from laughter, to excitement.
The Finale of this symphony is a rondo theme that presents an unusual cadence at mid-point. The “perpetual-motion finale,” it is considered one of the most cheerful compositions that Haydn ever wrote.
Here’s a video of Leonard Bernstein, having a good time showing us this humor with an orchestra that is world-class: The Vienna Philharmonic:
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Tags: Joseph Haydn, Leonard Bernstein