From the recording Menuetto scherzando
Symphony #2 in E-flat major (Esterhazy)
“I have always felt an affinity,” said James Domine, “for orchestral repertoire from the earlier classical period. These works were typically scored for small ensembles by modern standards, ordinarily a complement of strings along with a standard accompaniment of ‘harmony instruments’ usually consisting of two oboes and two horns. Haydn’s group at the Esterhazy estate was exactly such an orchestra numbering eighteen players, later augmented to twenty-two. This symphony is conceived in this historically significant mode, following the instrumental techniques and compositional practices of the 18th century classical style. The piece is cast in the traditional four movements successively entitled: Overture, Intermezzo, Menuettoscherzandoand Finale. Originally scored for two oboes and two horns with strings, the alternate version substitutes a different complement of winds, flute, oboe, horn, and bassoon.”
The opening movement, Overture, marked Allegro, is a sonata form reminiscent of the first act of a comic opera. The Intermezzosecond movement is an Andantino dialogue between the flute and oboe parts that is taken up by the strings as a harmonic excursion through the submediant key of C major. The Menuettoscherzando, as the title implies, is a humorous characterization of a traditional minuet and trio in which the strings and wind groups are juxtaposed in alternation. The symphony culminates with a Finale in sonata form marked Allegro vivace that brings the piece to its conclusion on a grand scale.
The Symphony #2 in E-flat major received its first complete inaugural performance in concert on August 6, 2016 at the Elks Lodge Auditorium with the composer conducting the Esterhazy Chamber Orchestra of Calabasas.