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Haydn’s Symphony No. 96 acquired its nickname through an unfortunate misunderstanding, originating in a colourful story reported by a contemporary biographer of the composer. The circumstances concern a different symphony entirely, but the attribution to No. 96 has persisted and the details are worth recounting: ‘When Haydn appeared in the orchestra [...] the curious audience in the parterre left their seats and crowded towards the orchestra the better to see the famous Haydn quite close. The seats in the middle of the floor were thus empty, and hardly were they empty when the great chandelier crashed down and broke into bits, throwing the numerous gathering into the greatest consternation. As soon as the first moment of fright was over and those who had pressed forward could think of the danger they had luckily escaped and find words to express it, several persons uttered the state of their feelings with loud cries of “Miracle! Miracle!”.’
Here in a keyboard arrangement by Carl David Stegmann.
Music example (pdf)