Haydn: A Creative Life in Music

Haydn: A Creative Life in Music

Haydn: A Creative Life in Music

Haydn: A Creative Life in Music

Excerpt

A great musicologist contended that the lives of eminent composers ought to be rewritten at least once in every generation. If this is so, it alone would give sufficient justification for a new book on Joseph Haydn. The existing biographies of the composer in English were written some forty years ago and they in turn were based on the first two volumes of Haydn's biography by Carl Ferdinand Pohl, published in 1875 and 1882 respectively. New editions of some of these works, while having a few alterations, have left them fundamentally unchanged. On the other hand the research about Haydn has developed greatly during the last forty years. Various critical investigations have been undertaken, particularly in central Europe, and since the two hundredth anniversary of Haydn's birthday in 1932 valuable studies on special problems have been published.

This book is, accordingly, in a position to give in its biographical section, especially with regard to the family and the youth of the master, facts unknown to the English reader. It aims not only at introducing novel material but at arranging it in such a way as to produce a picture of the unconventional and eternally young personality of the man who is most deceptively known as "Papa Haydn."

In the second part of this biography the author has investigated Haydn's creative output, discussing and analyzing a great number of works (especially compositions written before 1790) which have hardly been mentioned in any English life of Haydn. As the majority of the compositions are not available in modern editions, extensive studies in the great Haydn libraries of Vienna, Budapest, Paris, Brussels, and London had to be made. For eight years the author was curator of the Society of Friends of Music in Vienna. Their archives which for more than fifty years have been a center for research on Haydn have proved invaluable for his work.

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