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Symphony No. 103, 2nd movement

Key: c minor / C major

No. of Bars: 198

Structure: Double Variations; A B A' B' A'' B''

Bar What Happens Comment
1-26 Theme A, consisting of two distinct sections. In the first section, the violins play the melody in unison, the violas and cellos providing a bass line that is also mostly unison. In bars 5 and 6, the music modulates to E-flat major through the reinterpretation of an f minor chord (at 5.2) from chord IVb in c minor to chord IIb in the new key. The second section begins with a development of the rhythm from bar 1. This moves away from E-flat major, suggesting f minor in bars 11-12, but returning towards the original c minor using an Italian 6th chord in bar 14. After bar 15, Haydn begins to exploit the dotted rhythm featured originally in bar 4. Bar 17 sees theme A return in the violas and cellos, which only lasts for 4 bars, accompanied by a countermelody played in octaves by the violins. Further development of the dotted figure follows, including a three-part harmonisation in bar 23, before a thinner texture returns (i.e. violins in unison, violas and cellos in unison for last two bars) to close the first theme with a IIb-Ic-V-I cadential formula. Haydn has created a deliberately simple texture (often just two separate lines) to present the theme, entirely omitting the wind and brass. This leaves more scope for elaboration in the variations. Note that bar 26 contains only the note C, facilitating a smooth change to C major in the following bar.
27-50 Theme B, also in two distinct sections. In the first (bars 27-34), the theme is played by the first violins and first oboe. The key has changed to C major and the first six bars of this theme are played over a tonic pedal in the cellos and basses. Bar 33 sees a modulation to the dominant (G major) to end the section. The second section (bars 35-50), opens by turning the new G major tonic back into a dominant using an F-natural in the first bar (violin II). Here the trill motif from bar 30 is developed over a dominant pedal (G) using imitation and inversion in most of the instruments. This busier texture is contrasted in the following bars (39-40) by a repeated unison rhythm. There is a hint of d minor in bar 40, but the phrase ends in bar 42 on a dominant chord of G (note the use of V of V in an appoggiatura at 42.1 as the chord has an added F-sharp to create a D7 chord). Theme B returns at bar 43 for 4 bars, before contrary motion between top and bottom lines takes the music to rest uneasily on a tonic harmony in bar 48. A falling phrase in thirds then redresses the balance of the phrase to close the section with a perfect cadence in C major. Haydn contrasts themes A and B, not only through a change of key from minor to major, but also with thicker orchestration and harmonisation.
51-84 Variation 1: based on theme A.
51-66 The string parts remain fairly faithful to the original theme, with only minor changes and decorations (e.g. the bass trills in bars 75 and 77). The main point of interest is the addition of the wind instruments, starting subtly with only the oboe in bar 53, but becoming more important in bar 59, where there is a written-out repeat of this first section of the theme. During this repeat of the theme (i.e. up to bar 66), the flute doubles the oboe part, mostly an octave higher, whilst the bassoons respond imitatively to their falling semitone figures.  
67-84 From bars 67-74 the flute develops the dotted rhythm idea and the oboe and bassoons double harmonies in both the violas and second violins. At bar 75 the bassoons take up the theme for 6 bars, in unison with the violas (originally the cellos doubled the violas an octave below). This allows the cellos and basses to subtly change the harmony by adding A-flats in bars 75 and 77, which create Italian 6th chords. In bars 80-81 the flute and oboe rejoin the texture, doubling string parts before reinforcing the dotted rhythm with block-chordal harmonies in bar 82, and harmonising the violins’ part (the theme) in bar 83.  
85-108 Variation 2: based on theme B
85-92 A solo violin takes up a decorated version of the theme played in continuous semiquaver triplets. Following an ornamented first bar, the decorations consist of simple scalic and arpeggiated patterns. The violins outline the theme either at pitch or a sixth below. The tonic pedal of the original remains, as does the general harmonic structure. Haydn is contrasting the instrumentation of the variations; whereas Var. 1 saw additions to the original orchestration, Var.2 is thinned down mainly to the string section, with minimal use of other instruments. This variation has a graceful character.
93-108 The solo violin continues to weave similar melodic decorations around the theme. The bassoons and horns pad out the simple accompanying chordal texture between bars 93-96, the horns returning to reinforce the tonic pedal in bars 101-106. In bar 106, the solo violin rises to a peak (a third higher than the equivalent rise in the original), leaving the music suspended in mid-air with a pause. A simple cadential figure in the first violins closes the variation over a pizzicato accompaniment. The solo violin continues to weave similar melodic decorations around the theme. The bassoons and horns pad out the simple accompanying chordal texture between bars 93-96, the horns returning to reinforce the tonic pedal in bars 101-106. In bar 106, the solo violin rises to a peak (a third higher than the equivalent rise in the original), leaving the music suspended in mid-air with a pause. A simple cadential figure in the first violins closes the variation over a pizzicato accompaniment.
109-134 Variation 3: based on theme A
109-116 The theme is taken up in octaves by the violins, with violin 1 playing an octave higher than originally. Linear movement in the lower strings, mostly in tenths and octaves, accompanies this. The brass instruments (together with the timpani) add fanfare gestures on the tonic and dominant, whilst the wind parts double the strings, except in bars 110 and 112, where they reinforce the brass fanfares. At bar 113 there is a sudden thinning of texture and reduction in dynamics. The first violins continue playing the theme an octave higher, and the seconds take up the bass line, adding an imitative dotted figure in bar 114. The cellos only join the texture in 116 to further imitate the dotted figure in the violins. The change of dynamic level and thicker texture contrasts with both the original theme and the previous variation.The sudden reduction in texture and dynamics throughout this variation is a typically Haydnesque feature.
117-124  Again, there is a sudden change in dynamics. In bar 117 the theme is decorated by the first violins with a swooping descending scale across an octave. The rest of the strings add momentum with repeated semiquaver chords, with the wind parts padding out the texture and harmony. Bars 119-124 follow the theme closely with a continuation of the semiquaver accompaniment. In bar 124 the meandering around the dominant in the theme (bar 16) is developed into a demi-semiquaver trill-like figure.  
125-134 The trill figure in bar 124 unleashes a fluttering countermelody in the first violins, against which the violas, cellos and bassoons play the theme as in the original version. The second violins carry on the semiquaver chords, and the brass and upper woodwind revive the fanfare gestures from bar 109.At bar 128 the trill figure is used as an accompanimental figure, before being incorporated into the first violins’ theme.In the last three bars of the variation the wind section is given more melodic material. The brass instruments reappear to bring the music emphatically to its cadence and the violins create a busier texture through their demi-semiquaver decorations.  
135-198 Variation 4: based on theme B
135-142 The theme is given, with a simple additional harmonisation, to the oboes. The bassoons play the bass pedal note in leaping semiquaver octaves whilst the flute adds decorative flourishes. The strings fill in the harmonic framework in the background using pizzicato chords. Haydn is making a feature of the wind instruments; this is the first time in this movement where they are wholly removed from their usual role of doubling string parts or padding out harmonies.
143-150 Bars 143-146 are very similar to the original, with the oboes doubling the important trill motif. Timpani are added and the previous momentum of the bassoons’ leaping semiquavers is continued through semiquaver arpeggios in the cellos.In the following four bars the top line of the texture is animated with demi-semiquavers in groups of four, outlining the shape of the original line.  
151-160 The opening of theme B returns in a similar way to the original, with timpani added. The demi-semiquaver motion found at the top of the texture in the preceding bars is transferred into a trill in the cellos and double basses. The wind, brass and timpani close the section. By ending these bars with no strings playing for the last phrase, Haydn is reinforcing the importance given to the wind instruments in this variation.
161-186 The strings and oboe develop theme B using imitation (note the rising figure in the violins in bar 161, which is then played two bars later by oboe and violas, followed by the cellos, again two bars further on). This is done over a tonic pedal of C in the cellos and double basses. The first hint that something might be about to happen to the key is the A-flat in bar 167 (occurring again two bars later). However, the leap onto a dominant 7th chord on A (bar 171) is arresting, especially as it is played tremolando by the strings, the effect being heightened by a move within two bars to E-flat major.Just as one hears sudden dynamic changes in the third variation, the same effect occurs at bar 176, where the full orchestra is replaced by just the first violins. In the following bars, the violins provide an arpeggiated staccato accompaniment over which the wind instruments continue to develop theme B. This starts in E-flat major but works its way back to the tonic (C major) in the following way:In bar 183 movement onto a dominant 7th chord on C resolves to f minor in the next bar. On the last quaver of bar 184 there is an Italian sixth chord that moves onto a dominant 7th on D (V of V in C). This then resolves onto G major in bar 186, but an F-natural is included to turn it into a dominant-seventh harmony in C major. An extra section has been inserted here, consisting of development of theme B.
187-198 A repeat of bars 151-160, with a repeated perfect cadence added to close the movement.  

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