Recent interpretations of both Haydn’s personality (as a man) and his musical style (or ‘persona’) have focused on the two opposed categories
. The present essay adds a third category on both sides of the equation:
), and argues that it is equally important. The various meanings of sensibility are laid out and their applicability to Haydn discussed, including his rich and varied relationships with lovers and intimate friends. The problematics of the possible correlations between an artist’s personality and his style are discussed; it is argued that, contrary to recent theories of their separation into different domains, these are in fact closely related. Sensibility was a central aspect of mid- and late 18th-century aesthetics, both in ideas about ideal human behavior, and in prose fiction, opera and drama, etc. — as well as instrumental music (Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach). In Haydn’s case, not surprisingly, it has so far been located in genres destined primarily for private use: keyboard music and lieder; this is illustrated by an analysis and interpretation of “Das Leben ist ein Traum” (Hob. XXVIa:21; published 1784). In such works we may imagine Haydn as ‘speaking to’ the dedicatee of the work, as well as the sympathetic listener. However, sensibility is also an important aspect of style in the string quartet and symphony, where it has almost never been considered relevant. Examples are discussed in the slow movements from the quartet op. 76 no. 5 and the symphonies nos. 75, 88, 92, 98, 99, and 102. It is argued that the old notion of ‘Classical style’ (fortunately now on the decline), with its rigid demarcation of ‘high’ instrumental genres from both vocal music (Haydn’s operas) and earlier instrumental
(Emanuel Bach), was the primary reason that scholars and listeners have until now remained unmoved by Haydn’s sensibility.
To this day, Joseph Haydn’s symphonies are often performed and recorded in a way that does not meet the composer’s intentions. This concerns certain variants of instrumentation, e.g. the rendering of violoncello obbligato with a single instrument, the use of trumpets and timpani or of horns in high C, respectively. Using the violoncello part of the slow movement of symphony Hob. I:102 as example, it is argued that Haydn in spite of the “solo” mark at the beginning of the movement did not intend the part to be played by one instrument alone. The same applies to most of the passages for violoncello “solo” in his late symphonies. Additionally, it can be established from the sources that before 1768 Haydn did not write for horns in high C and that the parts for trumpets and timpani in some of the early symphonies do not originate with the composer. That these alternatives of instrumentation, though not authentic, have found widespread acceptance in today’s performances is demonstrated by selected recordings from the 1950s to date. A short survey of the history of Haydn’s symphonies on record serves as an introduction to this essay.
In recent years, music theorists and analysts have devoted a great deal of attention to the phenomenon of hypermeter, drawing some of their most representative examples from the late works of Haydn. Although this recent trend in analysis has shed much light on Haydn’s music, it has left questions of history distinct from the mode of listening it engages. This article argues that the way we understand conceptualizations of listening and aesthetic experience can greatly inform the way that we understand hypermeter and the question of style in history. Drawing on eighteenth-century theories of music and literature, it recontextualizes Haydn’s hypermetric style with respect to a larger world of aesthetic experience.
In 1809, E. T. A. Hoffmann declared that the symphony, in the hands of Haydn and Mozart, had become the “opera of instruments.” This view of symphony, which was echoed by other writers of the period, reflected how composers engaged with instruments through orchestration. This essay explores the use of instrumental sonority in the slow movements of Haydn’s later symphonies, in particular looking at the ways in which Haydn’s approach to the orchestra helped cultivate the notion that symphonies unfolded as dramas. This conception of the orchestra and of orchestration informed the language of musical criticism of the early nineteenth century: Hoffmann’s discussions of musical works frequently take the form of operatic plot summaries, in which individual instruments act as characters. The persistence of operatic metaphors suggests that, instead of thinking of this period as the “rise of instrumental music,” it is more accurate to understand it as the rise of the orchestra.
This paper explores Arnold Schoenberg’s curious ambivalence towards Haydn. Schoenberg recognized Haydn as an important figure in the German serious music tradition, but never closely examined or clearly articulated Haydn’s influence and import on his own musical style and ethos, as he did with many other major composers. This paper argues that Schoenberg failed to explicitly recognize Haydn as a major influence because he saw Haydn as he saw himself, namely as a somewhat ungainly, paradoxical figure, with one foot in the past and one in the future. In his voluminous writings on music, Haydn is mentioned by Schoenberg far less frequently than Bach, Mozart, or Beethoven, and his music appears rarely as examples in Schoenberg’s theoretical texts. When Schoenberg does talk about Haydn’s music, he invokes — with tacit negativity — its accessibility, counterpoising it with more recondite music, such as Beethoven’s, or his own. On the other hand, Schoenberg also praises Haydn for his complex, irregular phrasing and harmonic exploration. Haydn thus appears in Schoenberg’s writings as a figure invested with ambivalence: a key member of the First Viennese triumvirate, but at the same time he is curiously phantasmal, and is accorded a peripheral place in Schoenberg’s version of the canon and his own musical genealogy.
The first print of Joseph Haydn’s
was the Schwickert piano-reduction from 1781. It includes only the German text by Johann Adam Hiller. Two years earlier Hiller brought his German version to its first performance at the university-church in Leipzig. He wanted to make this work known in Protestant churches of Germany, where Latin was “not appropriate”. The German text minimizes the reference to Mary and accentuates the Protestant-typical Christo-centrism. 1803 Breitkopf sets in the first print of the score both the Latin and the German text. Some different versions (for instance by Findeisen and Christmann) were also successful efforts adapting the work into the Protestant liturgy, like J. S. Bach did with Pergolesi’s
. Indeed, some sources include choral settings between the original numbers, resembling the form of a typical Protestant church-cantata. Translations and adaptations were prerequisites of wide reception in Protestant parts of Middle and Northern Germany, where the requirement of sophisticated passion-music in form of cantatas was considerably, also after 1800.
The opening of Haydn’s Symphony No. 39 in G minor is interrupted by two unusually long grand pauses. These brief suspensions of the time continuum reveal Haydn’s search for new narrative strategies for a genre caught up in the tensions between the boisterous concert opener, courtly representation, the bourgeois concert hall and the demands of “connoisseurs.” This use of the
points toward a period of upheaval in the development of symphonic forms in the 18th century. A comparative analysis examining the primarily “punctuated” concept of form in the 18th century in relation to the primarily thematic concept of form in the 19th century and the synthesis of both in the writings of Anton Reicha can show that the process of developing formal functions becomes especially acute in Haydn’s Symphony No. 39, with the two grand pauses playing a key role. Such a reading of Haydn, which seeks to reconcile “historically informed” analysis with emphatic interpretation, illustrates how the spectacular grand pauses in the Symphony No. 39 can suggest a brief suspension of not only the work’s own immanent time but the historical time of 18th-century music history.
This paper explores the iconography of two prints owned by Haydn, the traditions to which they belonged and their aesthetic consequences. The prints depict two contrasting audiences, one amused and the other despondent, and feature a range of iconographic references that Haydn would have readily responded to, including such themes as the death of Dido, the world of Tristram Shandy, the madness of Orlando and Don Quixote, the humorous verse of Peter Pindar (one of Haydn’s librettists) and inevitably (in prints of this kind) contemporary English politics. A particular point of interest is a caricature of Edward Topham, an amateur caricaturist and founding editor of the influential newspaper
, featured in one of the prints. In a series of issues in the late 1780s
published a ‘correspondence’ with Haydn himself, which sought to undermine the composer’s suitability for composing with London audiences’ in mind. The print may have helped serve to remind Haydn of this dispute at the time he actually began composing in London and to aid him in keeping such audiences in mind when composing for them.
Haydn’s “bloody harmonious war” is the composer’s punning description of the rivalry in London between the concert organization for which he worked, headed by the violinist Salomon, and the ‘Professional Concert’, whose star attraction in 1792 was Haydn’s former pupil, the composer Pleyel. Haydn’s vocabulary, mixing metaphors musical and combative, reflects how newspapers projected this phony war. Pleyel was linked to Wilson Braddyll, England’s leading advocate for pugilism. One report even suggested that only by resorting to the law might the conflict be resolved. Haydn and Pleyel really did find themselves in court, called as deponents in a lawsuit between their publishers begun in 1788. Although interpretation of this case has hitherto focussed on Haydn’s supposed misappropriation of compositions by Pleyel, evidence presented here for the first time shows that the latter was equally culpable, having made unauthorized use of several compositions by his erstwhile teacher. The root of the case, however, lay in establishing ownership of publication and other rights, which Haydn effectively always turned to his personal advantage to the perceived detriment of others. As a souvenir marking the end of the whole episode, the triumphant reception of his compositions in the 1792 season, Haydn acquired a print for his collection, its subject referencing the “war’s” principal themes and personalities.