Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 1 in D major
, Hoboken I/1, was written in 1759 in Dolní Lukavice, an estate of Count Morzin. Though identified by Haydn himself as his first symphony, scholars are not sure if it is indeed the very first symphony Haydn wrote, or if it’s even the earliest he wrote of the ones that have survived to posterity.
In contrast to the certainty that No. 1 was written in 1759, H. C. Robbins Landon can’t rule out either No. 2 or No. 4 (or both) could have been composed in 1757 or 1758.Symphony No. 1 is scored for 2 oboes (or possibly flute), bassoon, 2 horns, strings and continuo. Like many of the earliest symphonies by Haydn and his contemporaries, it is in three movements:
- Presto, 4/4
- Andante in G major, 2/4
- Presto, 3/8
The first movement opens with a Mannheim crescendo which is in contrast to the rest of the symphony, which is more Austrian in character.
The first movement has “frequent passages where” the violas are “used with some ingenuity and quite separately from the bass line.”