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The Real Surprise: A Criticism of Symphony No. 94
  • Arts
  • Music
  • Student Reporting

“A strange art – music – the most poetic and precise of all the arts, vague as a dream and precise as algebra.” -- Guy de Maupassant

I listened to the full version of surprise symphony (symphony no. 94 by Joseph Haydn), and it was exactly what it sounded like: the surprise symphony was originally just another symphony played like an orchestra performance.

It’s kinda what the names suggest, and honestly it’s more like a practice song, just longer. It’s a great demonstration of dynamics, but other than that there just not much of a reason to play it after you get dynamics down.

This is a great song if you play it correctly -- and great for practice -- but it lacks emotion and a real reason for anything at all.

Music is supposed to be a way of expressing art, and this piece is just too short for me to really feel anything about it. It’s a surprise and that’s just about it. Then again it takes a lot for me to think something is actually good.

Another view on symphony 94 says, "Symphony No. 94 in G (Surprise) has for a very long time been one of the works through which Haydn has reached his widest audience; but the 'surprise' for me has been the impact of Christopher Hogwood vigorous, fresh and light-hearted reading. I cannot recall ever having heard a wholly dull performance of the work but this one focused my attention from start to finish." 

The performance is, in fact, a surprise, but after you get the first surprise, everything else is just not worth your time.

Reporting by Joseph J.; Editing by Richard M. & Mr. Flesher; the image used in this article is used according to a Creative Commons license: