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Symphony No. 44 in E minor is one of a number of Haydn’s mid-period works representing the Sturm und Drang (‘Storm and Stress’) style of melodramatic realism taken over from contemporary German literature and drama. The whole work is monotonal – each movement is in the same key, with contrast provided by excursions into the tonic major – and is pervaded by contrapuntal writing. The second movement, unusually, is a minuet and is in strict double canon at the interval of a bar (‘Canone in Diapason’ is Haydn’s term); it is itself contrasted by the lyrical Trio section in E major. The third movement, an Adagio in the tonic major, is the one that prompted the symphony’s long-adopted soubriquet ‘Trauer’ (‘Mourning’), for the composer himself is said to have requested that it be played at his own funeral. The monothematic contrapuntal Finale reverts to the tense emotional level of the opening Allegro.
Here in a keyboard arrangement by Carl David Stegmann.
Music example (pdf)