Andante from the Surprise Symphony


Symphony No. 94, Hoboken 1/94
Composer: Haydn, Franz Joseph
Arranger: R. Stevens
Ensemble: Saxophone Octet with optional parts
Format: Score (8 pp) and parts
Length: 6 min. with all repeats
Difficulty: Grade 3-5 (Moderate-Difficult)

Andante from the Surprise Symphony

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732 –1809)

Saxophone Octet (Saxophone Choir)

(SSAATTBB with optional Sn & Bs Saxes, Timpani)

Andante from the Surprise Symphony (No. 94 in G major) by Haydn, arranged for saxophone choir (saxophone octet) with optional timpani. This transcription is in the original key and includes the following parts:

Sopranino Saxophone (optional)
Soprano Saxophone 1-2
Alto Saxophone 1-2
Tenor Saxophone 1-2
Baritone Saxophone 1-2
Bass Saxophone (optional)
Timpani (C/G) (optional)

Bari Sax 2 is, as much as possible, a bass sax double.

Haydn’s Symphony No. 94 in G major (H. 1/94) is the second of the twelve London symphonies (numbers 93-104). It is usually called by its nickname, the “Surprise Symphony”. Haydn wrote the symphony in 1791 in London during his first visit to England (1791–1792). Haydn’s music contains many jokes, and the Andante from the Surprise Symphony includes probably the most famous of all: a sudden fortissimo chord at the end of an otherwise quiet opening theme in the movement. The music then returns to its original dynamic as if nothing had happened, and the following variations do not repeat the joke.

The Andante is a theme and variations in 2/4 time. The theme is in two eight-bar sections, each repeated. Haydn sets up the surprise, which occurs at the end of the repeat of the first section, by making the repeat pianissimo punctuated by a single fortissimo chord. Four variations of the theme follow, starting with embellishment in sixteenth notes, moving to a stormy variation in C minor, then a calmer variation featuring soloists, and concluding with a sweeping and lyrical forte repeat in triplets. In the coda section, the opening notes are stated once more, this time with gently dissonant chords leading to a quiet conclusion.

  • The range for each saxophone part is shown below.
  • Audio and score excerpts are available above.
  • Registered users can download a complete sample score and full length audio file of Andante from the Surprise Symphony on the ‘Samples’ tab.

Andante from the Surprise Symphony No. 94 by Haydn for Saxophone Octet or saxophone choir.



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