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The present work was composed in 1786 and was printed in Paris by Pleyel's principal publisher Imbault the following year under the title '5e / SINFONIE / PRIODIQUE / A deux Violons Alto et Basse / Cors et Hautbois ad Libitum / Compose / par / Mr Ignace Pleyel / Matre de Chapelle de la Cathdrale de Strasbourg...' Like a number of other Pleyel symphonies this work was issued in a bewildering number of arrangements by 18th-century publishers, including Pleyel himself. Versions exist for quintets, quartets, trios and duos as well as for keyboard solo. Such was the popularity of the work that a vocal arrangement was also published during the composer's lifetime. Imbault's edition calls for horns and timpani rather than the more usual trumpets (clarini) and timpani. It is possible that the parts were intended to be played by horns in C alto, a favourite device of Haydn, but the substitution of trumpets for horns in such a dazzling symphony was surely a very common occurrence.
This edition is based on a copy of the Imbault print preserved in the Bibliothque du Conservatoire Royal de Musique, Brussels, under the shelfmark W 7798. Imbault's edition is for the most part carefully engraved although there are inevitably some errors and inconsistencies. The notation of articulation and dynamic markings has been standardised throughout, and, where missing, markings have been reconstructed from parallel passages. These are indicated by the use of dotted slurs or brackets where appropriate. Like most eighteenth-century sources, the print is inconsistent at times in its notation of appoggiature; these have also been standardised to minimise confusion. Obvious wrong notes have been silently corrected; otherwise, any editorial emendation with no authority from the source is placed within brackets.