Music Monday- The Surprise Symphony

I ran across this symphony while doing some research for music which would have been new during Darcy’s early childhood in my upcoming release The Secrets of Pemberley. Its composed by Joseph Haydn, who I personally prefer over Bach and Mozart and think is entirely underrated. It’s also known as Symphony No. 94 in G Major and was one of twelve written in London in 1791. It was first performed in the Hanover Square Rooms in 1792 and Haydn sat at the pianoforte. The classical era orchestra consisted of  flutes, oboes, bassoons, horns, trumpets, timpani,  violins, violas, cellos, and double basses and lasts about 23 minutes in its entirety. 

Haydn wrote many jokes into his works and this piece earns its nickname due to the sudden loud (fortissimo) chord at the ending of an otherwise quiet (piano) movement. He was said to have wanted to give the audience something they had not heard before. They instantly cried for an encore. 

Here is a brief excerpt of The Secrets of Pemberley. Darcy is in a music shop and reminded of a memory with his mother.

He wandered around the store. A memory flickered through his mind. He was only seven years old and in the small Scottish cottage with his mother. She had been reading the London newspapers and had received a letter from a friend about a concert she attended. His mother wept over not being able to attend the hailed genius of Joseph Haydn. She was told The Surprise was sublime and ordered sheet music. There was no pianoforte in the cottage but the rector had one. Lady Anne diligently practiced so often Darcy could hum the tune. As a child, he particularly enjoyed the sudden changes in volume. Seeing the others occupied, Darcy found a copy and ran his fingers over it.


What did you think of it? Did it surprise you?

5 thoughts on “Music Monday- The Surprise Symphony

  1. This has been one of my favorite pieces since childhood! My son played with a youth orchestra for 10 years and the joy of watching children discover new composers and compositions is a wonder. You have captured that feeling in your excerpt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve got such a big smile on my face! I’m pleased to have found a fan of the symphony and that you think I gave it justice. It was so interesting reading about how well-received the symphony was in London. Lady Anne surely would have wanted to be there.


  2. I’m not a lover of classical music and wouldn’t attend a concert. It’s probably the fact that I love lyrics to sing along to. It always amazes me that I can’t remember what I did yesterday but can sing all the lyrics to so many songs from the sixties!

    Liked by 1 person

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