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Composed around 1793/4 especially for a trip to London, Joseph Haydn's Symphony No. 101 has a reason for its quirky nickname…
Listen to the bassoons and the strings in the second movement of Haydn's Symphony No. 101, nicknamed 'The Clock', and you'll hear something quite striking. That incessant rhythmic pulse sounds so much like a timepiece going round and round it was given the perfect moniker.
Aside from its rather fetching title, 'The Clock' is one of 12 symphonies written by Haydn that were inspired by his times in London. Every inch the anglophile, Haydn loved visiting the capital - perhaps unsurprisingly, Londoners loved his London symphonies too. Most of them were met with blanket praise, and 'The Clock' was no different. Even today it's one of the most performed of Haydn's symphonies in the modern concert hall.
So, next time you're wandering past Big Ben, just think of those delicate little bassoon and string parts… you just might be able to get a feel for 'The Clock' as you walk through Haydn's London.