Marie Antoinette Online Forum

Haydn's Symphony #85, "La Reine"
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Author:  cherecoeur [ Wed Oct 28, 2009 10:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Haydn's Symphony #85, "La Reine"

Dear Reader: This symphony was nicknamed, the story goes, because Marie-Antoinette liked it. Haydn (who never visited Paris but was well known and admired there) had been commissioned to write several symphonies for Paris, some of which gained nicknames: "L'Ours" and "La Poule" being ohers. They were first performed in 1786, and I believe the Salle de la Loge Olympique was the venue for their performance. They were probably conducted by the well-regarded composer Henri-Joseph Rigel who was associated with that organization. If you listen to "La Reine" sometime, maybe you'll agree that the second movement would have appealed to the queen especially, since to my ear it is pastoral in tone and very lovely. Rigel had dedicated his six keyboard sonatas with violin, op. XIII (1777), to the queen, and they too have a pastoral tone. For those of you who play piano, and love the music of this period, I would recommend that you find a copy (no modern editions that I know of) because they are very finely crafted, with short, compact movements, tuneful and elegant.

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