Joseph Haydn's Symphony No. 94 in G major, which was first performed on 23 March 1792, testifies to the composer's marked sense of musical fun. In a parody of the conventional practice of the time, the second movement proceeds at a slow, measured pace which sends the listener almost to sleep, only to be rudely awakened by a sudden loud stroke of the timpani. This touch of mockery is typical of the composer's roguish sense of humor. Haydn told his biographer Gieringer that his principle motive for writing the symphony was the wish to put his pupil and rival Ignaz Pleyel firmly in his place - an aim in which he undoubtedly succeeded. Leonard Bernstein began conducting Haydn's orchestral works when he was still Music Director of the New York Philharmonic. Since then, his interpretations of the symphonies have consistently met with unreserved critical acclaim. He, of all conductors, possessed precisely the qualities which Haydn's music requires: grace, charm and a generous measure of wit. This production with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra was recorded in 1986 in Vienna's Musikverein.


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