A Conversation for Peer Review

A653005 - Franz Joseph Haydn, 1732-1809

Post 21

paulh, vaccinated against the Omigod Variant

I've found expert support for CPE Bach's influence, Haydn's success at shoring up the oratorio form (which had gone into decline since Handel's death), and the relative neglect of Haydn compared with better-known composers.

Part of my problem is that I have done voluminous reading on Haydn and can't always remember where I read which opinions on which works.

I must have read Geisinger's biography at least three times. My reccommended pieces are not unfrequently also recommended by other listners.

But maybe the biggest impediment is having enough energy to go through the entry with a fine-toothed comb. That is why I took 19 years to get up the nerve to snd it to Peer review.

A653005 - Franz Joseph Haydn, 1732-1809

Post 22

paulh, vaccinated against the Omigod Variant

"Of all the great composers, Haydn is perhaps the most underappreciated.<<[paulh]
"If you're going to say that, you need to back it up with facts. [Dmitri]

Well, later in your critique, you advise me to encourage the reader
to wonder why Haydn would be worth getting better acquainted
with. Facts and statistics might drive the reader away*, but
quoting someone who considers Haydn "scandalously underrated"
might do the trick. Do you really want me to use statistics? Okay, here goes: in modern popular culture, Haydn's music is far less
likely to be used in movie soundtracks than that of Mozart,
Beethoven, or Bach. Trust me, I looked these things up.

You don't need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind
is blowing. I know how often m local classical radio station
programs various composers. They are responding to what their listeners will be willing to tune in for. I know what the
standard repertoire of choral societies is. And without Haydn
writing pieces for those choral societies to sing, it's arguable
that we would have far fewer of them. Okay, I've done my best
for now.

*when Stephen Hawking was writing "A brief hsitory of time," his publisher urgd him
to use as few mathematical formulas as possible, as they wouldturn readers off.

A653005 - Franz Joseph Haydn, 1732-1809

Post 23

Dmitri Gheorgheni, Post Editor

That's fine - just put the backup information in the entry. You don't have to talk people into things, just present information. smiley - smiley

For example:

>>By 1796, he was producing polished masterpieces for London.<<

Not clear. 'By 1796, he was producing [what? symphonies? oratorios? other works, be specific?] for London [stages? concert halls? royal performances? where?].'

By saying what he did in London, you'll have explained his international reach. Actually I find that in 1791-2, he spent 18 months in London, and later, in 1794, he revisited London, and that he composed 12 symphonies there all told. I also find that King George III encouraged him to stay, but he chose to return to Austria.

I also find (from Britannica) that he performed some famous symphonies in London: The Surprise (No. 94), Military (No. 100), The Clock (No. 101), and Drumroll (No. 103).

You don't have to put all that in there - just indicate what he was doing in London.

And yeah, you really do need to back up a statement like 'Haydn is underappreciated.' Either by pointing out that he's performed less than others, or some other way. For example, Pennsylvania classical stations play him all the time. I don't have their playlists - that's just anecdotal observation, so I wouldn't write it in a guide entry.

In an entry you can't say, 'Trust me, I looked these things up.' You need to show. smiley - laugh

A653005 - Franz Joseph Haydn, 1732-1809

Post 24

paulh, vaccinated against the Omigod Variant

One more anecdote: I know someone who was taking a Musical appreciation quiz in college. He heard the overture to Haydn's "Creation" and mistook it for something Wagner might have written. I did not make this up. One of the links I provided says this: "The groping, twisting 'Chaos' prelude to The Creation, the most harmonically audacious music of the whole 18th century, is an extreme and unique case."

So, there are people who actually hear this piece and think it's too atonal and dissonant to be from the 18th century.

A653005 - Franz Joseph Haydn, 1732-1809

Post 25

Dmitri Gheorgheni, Post Editor

That's fine, then say so - and give an actual quote. As in, 'Music theorist Prof X has pointed out that...' or 'Music theorist Prof Y writes, ""...' Or use the quote you mentioned here, and give its source.

You could also link to this:


Here's an excellent source for a quote or reference:

Lowe, Melanie. "Creating Chaos in Haydn's Creation" HAYDN: Online Journal of the Haydn Society of North America 3.1 (Spring 2013), http://haydnjournal.org.


A653005 - Franz Joseph Haydn, 1732-1809

Post 26

paulh, vaccinated against the Omigod Variant

"you really do need to back up a statement like 'Haydn is underappreciated.'" [Dmitri]

By the time you posted that, I had deleted that phrase. I installed an expert who called Haydn "Scandalously underrated," and spent several pages on his own website explaining why he felt that way. Some readers may want to know why Haydn would be underrated, and I give them a way to do further, in-depth reading. Because they have this option, I can try to steer them to other things. Haydn's vast output makes it hard to find the few gems that would interest anyone.

It's not that classical stations don't play Haydn very much. It's that in the broader culture, people go to better-known composers. Or, they hear Mozart and reject him because he repeats themes too much, and this sours them on the whole Classical period. Haydn subtlely varies the themes, throws in surprises, and shows you that the "simple" theme you heard at first is far deeper and more interesting than you ever thought it could be. Mozart could have learned to do that, but he died at an age where Haydn was barely getting started.

A653005 - Franz Joseph Haydn, 1732-1809

Post 27

Dmitri Gheorgheni, Post Editor

smiley - ok That's the way. You don't have to convince everybody - these things aren't academic papers - but you do need to be clear to the lay reader and transparent about the sources of the information. Also, you don't need to cover everything. We'd be here all century. smiley - laugh The guy did a lot. We just want to hit the high points.

I agree about Mozart, btw. I once attended a concert in Duesseldorf given by the Cluj-Napoca orchestra from Romania. They played an all-Mozart evening, very boring...until the first violinist cut loose on a cadenza that turned into something very, very Balkan...I suppressed laughter...

A653005 - Franz Joseph Haydn, 1732-1809

Post 28

paulh, vaccinated against the Omigod Variant

I've found an expert who thinks Haydn's "Creation" overture anticipates Wagner

I've also alluded to Haydn's dexterity in writing insertion arias for Luigia, who probably couldn't have hit all the notes in the arias by other composers. But Haydn's substitutes made her sound convincing. Not everyone can do that.

Little by little, I think the entry is improving.

A653005 - Franz Joseph Haydn, 1732-1809

Post 29

paulh, vaccinated against the Omigod Variant

I listened to "The Creation" in its entirety last night. The Overture fills me with a deep sadness, but the rest of the piece gradually makes me happier and happier.

A653005 - Franz Joseph Haydn, 1732-1809

Post 30

Dmitri Gheorgheni, Post Editor

smiley - ok Yeah, looks good.

I remember hearing 'Die Schöpfung' in the Theatinerkirche, I think it was, in Munich back in the late 70s. It sounded particularly good with the sound bouncing off all that stone. Sitting between pillars is a good acoustic experience. (Better than the 'Messiah' we heard in Leipzig in the 90s.)

And now I've got 'The Heavens Are Telling' stuck in my head. Thanks a lot. smiley - rofl

A653005 - Franz Joseph Haydn, 1732-1809

Post 31

paulh, vaccinated against the Omigod Variant

That is my favorite choral piece. I'm a "Creation" groupy. I sang it when I was in the Handel and Haydn Society in the late 1970s. My voice was at its best, and I hoped to sing with the group for years, but in 1981 they went to an all-professional chorus. I was shown the door.smiley - sadface
When I found out that a chorus in my area will be signing it, I try to go hear them. not every likes "The Creation." One of our tenors called it "diddly music." I also changed choruses for a semester when I heard that they would be doing "The Seasons." I've sung three of Haydn's six late masses.

I went back to the Dedham Choral Society, and sang with them through 2019. DCS steadily improved over the years, to the point where the recordings I have of their performances of the last 20 years are in many cases just as satisfying to listen to as recordings by professional groups. At least I think so.

A653005 - Franz Joseph Haydn, 1732-1809

Post 32

paulh, vaccinated against the Omigod Variant

I've added a youtube link for Haydn's national anthem, after explaining that Germany coopted the tune and wrote different lyrics for it.

I've deleted the word "superb."

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