Haydn – Symphony no. 45 in F-sharp minor ‘Farewell’, Hob. I:45



Merseyside Symphony Orchestra

Symphony no. 45 in F-sharp minor, known as Farewell, was written by Joseph Haydn in 1772.

It was written for his patron, Prince Nikolaus Esterházy, while he, Haydn and the court orchestra were at the Prince’s summer palace in Eszterháza.

The stay there had been longer than expected, and most of the musicians had been forced to leave their wives back at home, so in the last movement, Haydn subtly hinted to his patron that perhaps he might like to allow the musicians to return home: during the final adagio each musician stops playing, snuffs out the candle on his music stand, and leaves in turn, so that at the end, there are just two muted violins left (possibly played by Haydn himself and the concertmaster, Alois Luigi Tomasini) and a deliberate anticlimax ensues.

Esterházy seems to have understood the message: the court returned to Eisenstadt the day following the performance. The first movement of Haydn’s Symphony No. 85 includes a reference to this symphony. It is a work in four movements, scored for two oboes, bassoon, two horns, and strings (violins divided into two, violas, cellos and double basses). A typical performance of the Farewell Symphony lasts around twenty-five minutes.

Cat No: NM 1033, released 29th December 2018.


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