Having decided to award Haydn an honorary doctorate, the University of
Oxford announced the performance of a new symphony as the highlight of the
degree ceremony. However, the Oxford Symphony was in fact far from new:
Haydn had already sold it to two other patrons. One of the previous
customers was the Comte d'Ogny, a prominent Paris music lover who had
included it in one of his own concerts; the other was the German aristocrat
Prince von Oettingen-Wallerstein, who had been asking Haydn to write him a
symphony for some time. The original manuscript of the work, which was only
rediscovered in 1956, is now in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.
Leonard Bernstein began conducting Haydn's orchestral works when he was
still Music Director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Since then,
his interpretations of the symphonies have consistently met with unreserved
critical acclaim. He, of all conductors, possessed precisely the qualities
which Haydn's music requires: grace, charm and a generous measure of wit.
This production with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra was recorded in