To celebrate the 100th episode of this podcast, I thought we could travel back in time to the dynamic public concerts of London’s Hanover Square Rooms during the early 1790s and the presentation of Joseph Haydn’s Military Symphony No 100 in G Major. Take a minute to get the scoop!
At the time, Joseph Haydn was taking the city by storm, conducting his final twelve symphonies (Nos. 93-104) from a seat at the harpsichord. Haydn remained on the payroll of the Esterházy court during this time. But it was London where he was regarded as a rockstar, thanks to an invitation from the prominent impresario, Johann Peter Salomon.
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To celebrate the 100th episode of this podcast, I thought we could travel back in time to the concerts of London’s Hanover Square Rooms during the early 1790s. This is where Joseph Haydn was taking the city by storm, presenting several new symphonies including his Military Symphony No 100 in G Major.
This symphony was written for Haydn’s triumphant return to the English capital. It’s filled with surprising new sounds, such as the triangle, crash cymbals, and bass drum. Audiences at the time might have expected to hear these special effects in the opera house, but not in a symphony. It created quite the stir.
From a bugle call to drum rolls, this “Military” Symphony conjures up the sounds of the battlefield possibly reflecting the French Revolutionary Wars or Austro-Turkish War of the time.
Following the premiere, a writer for the Morning Chronicle wrote,
“It is the advancing to battle…And the march of men, the sounding of the charge, the thundering of the onset, the clash of arms, the groans of the wounded, and what may well be called the hellish roar of war increased to a climax of horrid sublimity.”