Haydn, Mozart, & Beethoven: Studies in the Music of the Classical Period

By Sieghard Brandenburg | Go to book overview

4
The Triumph of Variability: Haydn's Articulation Markings in the Autograph of Sonata No. 49 in E Flat

JAMES WEBSTER

This study is not devoted to Haydn's autograph performance markings as such.1 Instead, I will focus specifically on certain aspects of his markings, aspects that editors and performers alike tend to find problematical--indeed to describe in overtly unflattering terms like 'ambiguity', 'incompleteness', and 'inconsistency'. I will argue that, on the contrary, no deficiencies are entailed: that these characteristics not only are inherent in and proper to Haydn's principles of notation, but when understood in this manner become part of the musical substance itself, in an active and positive sense. Indeed, this 'substantive' function of his articulative variability is consistent with fundamental aspects of his musical style.

Central to my argument is the belief that source studies, analysis, and performance are mutually interrelated, as the three primary domains through which we can come to know a piece of music.2 For example, performers

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1
Such surveys are found in H. C. Robbins Landon, The Symphonies of Joseph Haydn ( London, 1955), chs. 4-5; the critical reports to Joseph Haydn: Werke, ed. by the Joseph Haydn-Institut, Cologne ( Munich, 1958-; hereafter JHW); the 'Richtlinien' (editorial guidelines) to JHW, repr. in Georg von Dadelsen (ed.), Editionsrichtlinien musikalischer Denkmäler und Gesamtausgaben ( Kassel, 1967), 81-98; László Somfai, "'An Introduction to the Study of Haydn's String Quartet Autographs (With Special Attention to Opus 77/G)'", in Christoph Wolff and Robert Riggs (eds.), The String Quartets of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven: Studies of the Autograph Manuscripts ( Cambridge, Mass., 1980), 16-20, 25-33. For remarks on his keyboard articulation in particular, see the prefaces by Karl Päsler and Christa Landon to edns. cited below, as well as Somfai, Haydn's Keyboard Sonatas ( Chicago, 1995).
2
It goes without saying that these domains entail subjective understanding as well as objective knowledge, and that in many contexts biographical, historical, or aesthetic interpretations of a work may seem of equal or greater importance. The best discussion of the ontology of musical works remains Roman Ingarden, The Work of Music and the Problem of its Identity, trans. Adam Czerniawski ( Berkeley, Calif., 1986). For a persuasive general account of music-textual criticism as a branch of hermeneutics, see Georg Feder, Musikphilologie: Eine Einführung in die musikalische Textkritik, Hermeneutikund Editionstechnik

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