Symphony No. 1 (Haydn)

Joseph Haydn's Symphony No. 1 in D major, Hoboken I/1, was written in 1759 in Dolní Lukavice, while in the service of Count Morzin.[1] Though identified by Haydn as his first symphony, scholars are not sure if it is actually the first he composed, or even the first that survived to posterity.[2] While it is reliably known that No. 1 was written in 1759, H. C. Robbins Landon cannot rule out that No. 2,[3] No. 4,[4] or both could have been composed in 1757 or 1758.

Joseph Haydn

Symphony No. 1 is scored for 2 oboes (or possibly flute), bassoon, 2 horns, strings and continuo.[5] Like most of the early symphonies by Haydn and his contemporaries, it is in three movements:

  1. Presto, 4
  2. Andante in G major, 2
  3. Presto, 3

The first movement opens with a Mannheim crescendo which is in contrast to the rest of the symphony, which is more Austrian in character.[6]

The first movement has "frequent passages where" the violas are "used with some ingenuity and quite separately from the bass line."[7]


  1. ^ H. C. Robbins Landon, The Symphonies of Joseph Haydn. London: Universal Edition & Rockliff (1955): 615
  2. ^ Antony Hodgson, The Music of Joseph Haydn: The Symphonies. London: The Tantivy Press (1976): 46. "Scholarly research cannot tell which was the very first symphony penned by Joseph Haydn ... To remain perplexed about this small but interesting point would be to ignore no less than the composer himself."
  3. ^ Landon (1955): 616. "c. 1757-61 (?)"
  4. ^ Landon (1955): 620. "c. 1757-61 (?)"
  5. ^ Landon, (1955): 615. "2 ob. (or fl. ?), 2 cor., str., [ fag., cemb. ]"
  6. ^ HC Robbins Landon, Haydn: Chronicle and Works, 5 vols, (Bloomington and London: Indiana University Press, 1976-) v. 1, Haydn: the Early Years, 1732-1765
  7. ^ (Landon, 1955): 203

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