Franz Joseph Haydn

Symphony No. 82 in C major ("The Bear"), H. 1/82

    Description by Chris Morrison

    In 1784, the Board of Directors of the Concerts de la Loge Olympique in Paris asked Haydn to write six symphonies for their concert series; this was the composer's first foreign commission, having spent most of his professional life in service at the Esterházy court. The Loge Olympique concerts, instituted in 1780, were among the most prestigious in France; Marie Antoinette was an occasional attendee, as were various officials from the court at Versailles. Over the next two years Haydn composed the Symphonies Nos. 82 through 87, now known collectively as the "Paris" Symphonies, for the large orchestra -- the largest Haydn ever had at his disposal, featuring up to 40 violins, ten double basses, and as many as four of each woodwind -- of the Loge Olympique. Despite its numbering as the first of the six, the Symphony No. 82 was in fact the last of these works to be written; it was completed in 1786.

    The first movement (Vivace assai) alternates between the festive, extroverted mood of its opening theme, and the more thoughtful, graceful tone of the second (which makes its first appearance in the strings over a quiet drone from the bassoon). Development section and recapitulation are especially inventively blurred, even by the high standards of this period of Haydn's career. The second movement isn't a true slow movement but rather an Allegretto -- a theme and variations based on a theme in two parts, the first flowing, the second with a tinge of agitation.

    The Menuetto third movement opens and closes with pomp and ceremony; this music frames a playful, graceful trio section in which Haydn's colorful woodwind scoring comes to the fore. The final movement is the one that provides this work its nickname, "The Bear." It features a rustic tune played over a comical drone, which suggested to its early listeners the sound of bagpipes and the dancing bears which frolicked to their sound at village fairs. Haydn moves from these rustic sounds into some exciting contrapuntal development that builds up to a false ending, giving him the opportunity for one last exciting drive to the real conclusion.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Vivace
    2. Allegretto
    3. Menuetto & Trio
    4. Finale. Vivace assai

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 Sony Classical / Sony Music Distribution 88875173752
    2016 Decca 4789604
    2015 Sony Classical 88875021332
    2015 Ricercar RIC 357
    2013 Coro COR 16113
    2012 Tafelmusik Media TMK 1013
    2012 Sony Classical 88697963402
    2011 Red Bus Classical RCLAS 016
    2011 Ricercar 309
    2010 Sony Classical 8869768365
    2010 Decca
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 Haenssler 98619
    2010 GLOR Classics 9221
    2009 Delta / Zebralution
    2009 Delta / Zebralution
    2009 Sony Classics 748045
    2009 Sony Classical Essential Classics 748044
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Preiser Records 90765
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Decca 001286502
    2009 Sony Classical / Sony Classical Essential Classics / Sony Music Distribution 88697443312
    2008 Universal Classics & Jazz
    2007 Brilliant 93105
    2006 EMI Music Distribution 71477
    2006 Edel Classics 2762
    2006 Philips
    2006 Monograph 2MO1001
    2006 Apex
    2006 Classics & Jazz
    2006 Haenssler 98265
    2005 Berlin Classics 0010282
    2005 Parlophone
    2005 DHM Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 60602
    2004 Testament 1356
    2004 Brilliant 92395
    2003 EMI Classics
    2003 Virgin 562041
    2003 Apex 48746
    2003 Hyperion 55123
    2002 Brilliant 99925
    2002 Haenssler 98391
    2001 Delta Music Ltd. / Delta Distribution 13509
    2001 Sony Classical 89750
    2000 Nimbus 7041
    2000 Angel Records / Erato 7243561659
    1999 Philips 462111
    1997 EMI Music Distribution 69383
    1997 Philips 454335
    1996 London 448531
    1996 London 448194
    1995 Intercord Klassische Diskothek 885905
    1995 Sony Music Distribution 66295
    1994 DG Deutsche Grammophon 445532
    1994 Nimbus Records 5419
    1994 Philips 438727
    1993 Naxos 550139
    1993 Dorian 90168
    1992 Sony Classical 47550
    1992 Hyperion 66527
    1991 Sony Music Distribution 45972
    Brilliant 99925/22-27
    DG Deutsche Grammophon 419741
    Brilliant 93105/7
    Brilliant Classics 8635/36
    Brilliant 92395/11
    G.Z. Classics 0080
    Philips 420688
    Laserlight 14007
    Denon Records 8120
    Virgin 59537
    Polskie Nagrania 058
    White Label 123
    Denon Records 75356
    Philips 790793
    Berliner Philharmoniker
    Decca 425925
    Smithsonian Collection of Reco 103