• Brian Chapple
  • Little Symphony (1982)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Haydn

  • 1(pic)2(ca)022000str
  • 12 min

Programme Note


The Little Symphony was written between January and April 1982. It was commissioned by Denis McCaldin, Director of the Haydn Society, to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Haydn's birth. The first performance was given by the London Mozart Players conducted by Denis McCaldin on 23 June 1982 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London. Little Symphony is in one movement and lasts about twelve minutes.

The plan of the piece is ABA - slow, fast, slow. In the latter two sections the boundary between fast and slow, however, is not always clear cut. For instance, towards the end, where the tonality reaches C major, harmonic movement ceases but earlier, fast ideas are quoted and recapitulated.

The principle material, from which the piece develops, is presented at the outset: a tense, rising harmonic cluster beginning on cor anglais, bassoon and horn, followed by a light, hesitantly dancing line on high strings.

A classical orchestra is used with doublings for piccolo and cor anglais and some use is made of the contrast between solo and tutti string writing.