I. Adagio-Vivace II. Adagio ma non troppo III. Menuetto allegretto IV. Presto assai
Haydn's 97th symphony in C major was premiered towards the end of his first London visit, on May 3rd or 4th, 1792. This was the final work in the group of six symphonies that he wrote for this trip. As often is the case with music in C major, Haydn augments the usual orchestra with two trumpets and a side-drum. After the slow introduction (Adagio) the main joyous theme of the principal section (Vivace) is suddenly sounded – for many long bars, it comprises of nothing other than notes from the C major triad. The disassembling of the triad proceeded downwards, then the instruments repeat the “c” and “g” and from here, the motif climbs upwards. In contrast to this highly energetic, lapidary principal theme, the second subject of this sonata form movement has a modest, dance-like character. The F major slow movement (Adagio ma non troppo) is in variation form, and as usual, features a variation in the minor at its centre. The minuet has little in common with those danced in the court of Louis 14th: its principal section is so celebratory and energetic that it would not seem out of place being sounded at a modern day sporting event. The central section seems to evoke the ale and smoke of a good natured English pub. The final rondo (Presto assai) evokes the atmosphere of Italian comic opera.