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On May 12, 1739, Vanhal was born into serfdom in Nechanice, Bohemia! He learnt music from his family, friends and local musicians and went on to become a wealthy composer. He composed over 100 string quartets and 73 symphonies. Haydn much admired Vanhal's symphonies which were played as far away as America.
Vanhal made his money also by composing music for the newly emerging middle classes. However, the music he composed for the middle classes is now seen as being over simplistic and that it took him away from developing his compositions.
The theme and variations were originally for cello but it also works on viola too!
Haydn wrote his Symphony No. 94 "Surprise" in 1791 in London for the first of his visits to London. The premiere took place at the Hanover Square Rooms in London on March 23, 1792, with Haydn leading the orchestra seated at a fortepiano.
Haydn's music contains many jokes, and the Surprise Symphony includes probably the most famous of all: a sudden fortissimo chord at the end of an otherwise piano opening theme in the variation-form second movement. The music then returns to its original quiet dynamic, as if nothing had happened, and the ensuing variations do not repeat the joke.
This minuet and trio, is pretty quick and marks the historical shift away from the old minuet (at a slower, i.e. danceable, tempo) toward the scherzo; by the time of his last quartets Haydn had started to mark his minuets presto.