Haydn | The Paris Symphonies

Orchestre de chambre de Paris, Douglas Boyd

The Paris symphonies were commissioned by the Comte d’Ogny for the prestigious Concert de la Loge Olympique in 1785. Created in 1787, they were a success as soon as they were premiered at the Tuileries. A testimony to their popularity, of the conversations and enthusiasm which they provoked, a few would get nicknames which Haydn never conceived for them. Thus, Symphony No. 85 (favoured by Marie-Antoinette) would be dubbed ‘The Queen,’ while the oboe’s facetious expression struck in the second theme of Symphony No. 83’s first movement would earn it the moniker of ‘The Hen.’ As for Symphony No. 82, its finale in rondo form evokes to audiences the comical demeanour of a bear dancing to the sounds of village bagpipes.