Sierra Chamber Society Program Notes (Last update 08/05/2006)

Franz Josef Haydn (1732-1809)

[Bullet6] Perils of a Prodigy

[Bullet6] Da Capo: Haydn's Missing Head

[Bullet6] String Trio in G major Op. 53, No.1 for violin, viola, and cello (1784)

[Bullet6] String Quartet in B Flat Major, Op. 76, No. 4 "Sunrise" (1796 or 97)

[Bullet6] String Quartet in F Major, Op. 3, No. 5 "Serenade"(1764?)

[Bullet6] String Quartet in G Minor Op.74 No.3 The Rider (1793)

[Bullet6] String Quartet in D Minor Op. 76, No. 2 "Quinten" ("Fifths") (1796)

[Bullet6] String Quartet in C Major, Op. 76, No.3 "Kaiserquartett" (Emperor Quartet) (1797)

[Bullet6] String Quartet No. 80 in E Flat Major Op. 76 No. 6 (1797)

[Bullet6] String Quartet in D Major, Op. 64 No. 5 "The Lark" (1790)


Franz Josef Haydn (1732-1809)

String Quartet in G Minor Op.74 No.3 The Rider (1793)

 

Papa!"It was from Haydn that I first learned the true way to compose Quartets."

W. A. Mozart

The G minor String Quartet is the last of six quartets published in two sets of three, known collectively as the Apponyi Quartets. Count Anton George Apponyi was a relative of Haydn’s patrons, the Esterhazys, and a member of Baron van Swieten’s aristocratic Musicalische Gesellschaft which championed the music of Bach and Handel (and inspired Mozart to compose the Preludes and Fugues performed by the S.C.S. during the 1994 season). However, the inspiration for these quartets commissioned by Count Apponyi, came not from the rarefied atmosphere of an aristocratic music connoisseur, but rather the highly successful public concerts of Haydn’s music organized by Johann Peter Salomon. As result of these concerts, the faithful servant and capellmeister of the Esterhazy family found himself to be an international music superstar. Though personally unaffected by this fame, a change could be heard in his music. In his book Guide to Chamber Music, Melvin Berger provides a succinct summary of Haydn’s approach to quartet writing as found in the Apponyi Quartets. "The quartets have attention getting introductions, considered necessary for the larger and less sophisticated public audiences. The part writing is more brilliant and demanding than before, and the melodies are catchier and easier to recall. The tempos are exaggerated (faster fast movements, slower slow movements): many intimate details are replaced by grand gestures; and there is a general intensification of all aspects, particularly of the emotional content of the music. Evidence of the stronger feelings and greater expressivity in these compositions led scholar Karl Geiringer to comment "the dawn of Romanticism is noticeable in the String Quartets of Op.74".

The G minor quartet gets its nickname (The Rider), as one might guess, from the rhythms to be heard in the first and last movements. The lovely second movement Adagio assai is the high point of this work. Haydn’s publisher issued no less than five different piano arrangements of it, attesting to its popularity with contemporary audiences. The third movement menuetto contains interesting contrapuntal treatment of a song-like melody. The finale contains the galloping rhythms one expects of The Rider as we are carried off by this four-voiced steed from minor to major.

1996-97 Season, Program I , Sunday October 6, 1996

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Da Capo: Haydn's Missing Head

Far be it for me to stray off into totally unrelated areas in these notes which must aim for concision. However in the course of researching for these program notes, I came across a most curious story concerning Haydn’s head. The story, which can be found in Groves Dictionary of Music and Musicians, begins with Haydn’s funeral in French-occupied Vienna in 1809. "On 15 June Mozart’s Requiem was performed in his honor at the Schottenkirche. Among the mourners were many French officers of high rank, and the guard of honor round the catafalque was composed of French soldiers and a detachment of the civic guard. He was buried in the Hundsturm churchyard, outside the lines, close to the suburb in which he lived. In 1820 Haydn’s remains were exhumed by command of Prince Esterhazy and solemnly reintered in the upper parish church at Eisenstadt on 7 Nov. A simple stone with a Latin inscription was inserted in the wall over the vault to inform the passers-by that a great man rests below.

It is a well known fact that when the coffin was opened for identification before the removal, the skull was missing; it had been stolen two days after the funeral. The one which was afterward sent to the prince anonymously as Haydn’s was buried with the other remains; but the real one was retained and subsequently bequeathed to the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde (Society of the Friends of Music) in Vienna. In 1932 the reigning Prince Esterhazy made great efforts to obtain it for burial with Haydn’s body in the mausoleum he had erected in the Bergkirche at Eisenstadt, but he was not successful, and the skull still remained with the Gesellschaft until 1954, when it was entombed at Eisenstadt on 6th June."

One can only wonder just where these Friends of Music cannibals stashed The Head all that time, and what did the Esterhazys do with the Other Head which had spent so much time with the rest of Haydn?

1996-97 Season, Program I , Sunday October 6, 1996

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Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

String Quartet in D Minor Op. 76, No. 2 "Quinten" ("Fifths") (1796)

Papa! Why so grim?This Quartet is the second in a group of six quartets known collectively as the "Erdody Quartets". They were commissioned by Count Joseph Erdody in 1796; composed between 1796 and 1797, and published in 1799.

The D Minor Quartet’s nickname "Quinten" or "Fifths" derives from the first four notes played by the first violin: A down to D; then E down to A - two intervals of a fifth. This Quartet, held to be one of the best integrated of all Haydn's quartets (whatever that means) is also burdened with a number of other nicknames.

These first four notes will be familiar to some listeners as the opening four notes of the chimes of London’s Big Ben. Thus the Quartet is also known as "The Bell". In regard to the second movement, it is interesting to read various commentators. One finds it "...among the most spiritual pages written by Haydn", while another finds it "less emotional than comparable movements in other Op. 76 Quartets, focusing more on grace and charm than on depth of feelings."

The third movement minuet has its very own nickname "Hexenminuett" or the "Witch's Minuet". Rather than a courtly minuet, this movement has more the character of Central European folk melody. Here, Haydn has the first and second violin play the same melody spaced an octave apart; then three beats later, the viola and cello, play this same melody, also spaced an octave apart - thus forming a two-voiced canon which (along with the rhythmically insistent trio) sounds as if it would be quite at home in Bela Bartok’s Mikrokosmos.

Fifths. Bells. Witches. As if this were not enough, the finale of this Quartet is known (perhaps in honor of commentators on music and nickname givers) as "The Donkey". This movement, as was its predecessor, is also imbued with the spirit of folk dance, Hungarian tinged. The first violin, which chimes in the first movement, brays in the last.

 1995-96 Season, Program I, Sunday October 8, 1995

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Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-l809)

String Quartet No. 80 in E Flat Major Op. 76 No. 6 (1797)

Papa, again!This String Quartet No.80 in E Flat belongs to a group of six quartets known collectively as the Erdody Quartets, after Count Joseph Erdody who commissioned the works. They were composed on Haydn’s return to Vienna after his second successful concert tour of London. Haydn was then universally acknowledged as Europe’s foremost composer, Mozart having died a few years earlier, and a young Beethoven being then the new kid on the block, and not yet a contender for the title.

The E Flat Quartet is not the most popular of this litter of six. Though having no nickname like its siblings No.2 "Quinten" (Fifths), No.3 "Emperor", No.4 "Sunrise" and No.5 "Largo", it is, nonetheless, a singular work. To begin, the first movement is not in sonata allegro form. Rather it is a set of variations on a theme. This is most unusual in itself. Yet Haydn’s treatment of the theme and variation idea is even more novel. Rather than decorating or disguising the theme in its variational forms, Haydn has one of the members of the quartet play the theme in its original form simultaneously with the variation itself.

The second movement, no less unusual is marked Fantasia. It has been suggested that Haydn may have heard the String Fantasias by the Seventeenth Century English composer Henry Purcell during his stays in England, as evidenced by the contrapuntal style of this movement.

The third movement, Menuetto, shows Haydn the constructor, building this humorous piece on a slight bit of musical raw material, descending and ascending iambic (stressed, unstressed) scales. Rhythmic accents are wittily thrown around to make this an undanceable minuet, but a delightful scherzo. Rhythmic tricks also abound in the last movement (it might be noted, and this is also unusual, that with the exception of the first movement which is in 2/4 time, all of the succeeding movements are in 3/4 time. Of this last movement, Charles Rosen has written in The Classical Style (Norton 1972), "Haydn needed three upbeats to write the finale with the most outrageous rhythmic effects, that of the Quartet in E Flat Major Op. 76 no. 6 which surpasses even the duplicity of the Minuet of the Oxford Symphony in fooling the listener as to the place of the downbeat. The opening, indeed, sounds clearly not like three upbeats, but like five, and the development section disrupts what rhythmic equilibrium the listener has retained by apparently random distribution of accents....The beginning of the recapitulation is calculated to throw off even the quartet players. The sforzando in measure 118 is Haydn’s charity, otherwise we should never recognize the first note of the theme at all."

 1994-95 Season, Program IV, Sunday March 5, 1995

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Franz Josef Haydn (1732-1809)

String Quartet in D Major, Op. 64 No. 5 "The Lark" (1790)

By the end of his life, Haydn was recognized as the greatest composer of his time. Yet his life in music was one of humble beginnings. Son of a wheelwright, Haydn was a member of the Choir School of St. Stephen’s Church in Vienna. At age 17, he was tossed out of the school when his voice changed. For the next few years he tried to support himself as a street musician in Vienna and by teaching children. About 1755, he became Kapellmeister to Count Morzin. He received his most important and long-lasting appointment in 1761 when he was engaged by Prince Paul as Kapellmeister to the Esterhazy court at Eisenstadt, located in the countryside of the Austro-Hungary borderland. He held this position for almost thirty years, directing concerts and composing music under the patronage of Prince Paul and his successor, Prince Nicholas Esterhazy. In 1790, at the death of the prince, his successor dissolved the orchestra and granted Haydn a pension. This freedom enabled Haydn to accept the invitation of the impresario J.P. Salomon to travel to London in 1791 and 1794. On each of these journeys, he spent a year and a half in England, gave enormously successful concerts and gained both international fame and fortune. Upon his return to Vienna he was recognized as the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s greatest composer.

By all accounts, throughout his life, he was a person of great warmth, kindness, graciousness and generosity. These traits, not his age, earned him the name "Papa." He was also Papa in being the father of the symphony and the string quartet. And a prolific father he was, having produced no less than 104 symphonies. In the field of chamber music, he was no less productive, having composed 83 string quartets, 67 string trios, 31 piano trios, as well as numerous miscellaneous chamber works.

The String Quartet in D Major, Opus 64, #5, was one of a set of six quartets written in 1790. They were among his last compositions while still serving with the Esterhazy family. This set of quartets is known collectively as the "Tost Quartets." They were published while Haydn was on tour in London, and dedicated to Johann Tost, who had been a violinist in Haydn’s orchestra and who was then a successful cloth merchant.

The Fifth Quartet has come to be known by the subtitle, "The Lark." As with most of these subtitles, they were not devised by the composer. In this case the "Lark" is suggested by the opening theme played high on the E string by the first violin. This quartet has also been nicknamed "Hornpipe" because of the lively finale’s resemblance to this English folk dance.

1991-92 Season, Program IV, Sunday April 5, 1992

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Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

String Quartet in F Major, Op. 3, No. 5 "Serenade"(1764?)

It is curious that of all the giants of Classical music there seems to be a dearth of anecdotes and stories about Haydn. Though readers of these notes may recall the strange tale of Haydn’s head, that was a post-mortem story. We have Bach doing a stretch in prison, Handel picking up a soprano and threatening to drop her out of a window, Mozart, the former Wunderkind groveling for money as an adult, deaf Beethoven’s rages and boorish humor, Schubert’s poverty, Schumann’s insanity, Liszt the philanderer becoming Liszt the Abbe, Wagner the Anarchist, Revolutionary,Wife-Snatcher turned born-again bigot, Brahms the curmugeon, and so on. Haydn seems to have lived a singularly uneventful life; a choirboy as a child, tossed out on the street when his voice changed, becoming a street musician playing for coins, eventually arising as Kapellmeister to the aristocratic Esterhazy family where despite being a high paid servant, he was a servant nonetheless. Yet this amazingly prolific composer, father of both the Symphony and the String Quartet was self-taught in composition. And by all accounts, he seems to have been that rarest of all human types, a Genius and a Gentleman! Papa Haydn - the Art of Music’s contribution to the best of the Age of Enlightenment.

In seasons past, the Sierra Chamber Society has presented performances of string quartets from the 83 (or 84 if you count Opus 0, yes there’s an Op. 0) by Haydn. The works selected were all quartets representative of his later works. Today’s piece is drawn from Opus 3, which many consider to be the first true string quartets, establishing both the form and instrumentation - a momentous achievement, though I suspect Haydn was just having fun. Incidentally, his Opus 1 and 2, called Divertmenti a quattro, though scored for the same four stringed instruments, are more suites of dance pieces, some of which originally included two horns. But with the works comprising Opus 3 (Haydn also set the precedent of composing string quartets in groups of six) we have the first examples of a genre that would continue to challenge composers down to the present time, some two hundred and fifty years later! Except...there is some controversy as to whether Haydn actually composed his Opus 3. Melvin Berger in his Guide to Chamber Music, 1985, writes; "In July 1964, an article appeared in the Musical Times, titled "Who Composed Haydn’s Op. 3?" that questioned the authenticity of the work. Authors H.C. Robbins Landon and Alan Tyson argued that the six quartets in Op. 3 were written by Roman Hoffstetter (1742-1815), a monk in the monastery of Amorbach. Since then, other experts have studied the question; some agree with Robbins Landon and Tyson, but others are convinced that the music is by Haydn. Since the manuscripts have never been found, and there is little verified information available, it is doubtful that this controversy will ever be resolved."

And ultimately, what does it matter? It hardly impacts on Haydn's contribution to the medium.

The little F Major Quartet Op. 3. No. 5 contains a movement that has become one of the All-Time Hits of Classical Music: the second movement, Andante cantabile, from which the Quartet gets its nickname "Serenade". Along with the Notturno from Borodin’s D Major Quartet, the Andante cantabile of Tchaikovsky’s Op. 11, and more recently the Adagio from Samuel Barber’s Op. 11 Quartet, this movement has taken on a life of its own, appearing in many arrangements from piano solo to symphony orchestra. This piece is always associated in my mind with Ernie Kovacs, who used it (in its original string quartet form, I might add) on his television show as background to his silent comedy advertisements for Dutch Masters Cigars. Imagine, silent comedy on TV! Imagine, smoking and selling cigars on TV! Imagine, music by Haydn, and not on PBS!

1997-98 Season, Program III, Sunday February 1, 1997

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Perils of a Prodigy

"In the autumn of 1745, Haydn had the pleasure of welcoming his brother Michael, his junior by more than five years, as a fellow chorister at the choir-school and of helping him in his work. Michael made rapid progress, but a cloud came over Joseph’s prospects. His voice began to break, and the empress, who had before taken particular pleasure in his singing, remarked jocosely to her vice-Kapellmeister that young Haydn’s singing was more like the crowing of a cock than anything else. Reutter (the vice-Kapellmeister) took the hint, and on the festival of St. Leopold, 15 Nov. 1748, celebrated at the monastery of Klosterneuberg near Vienna, he gave the ‘Salve Regina’ to Michael, who sang it so beautifully as to charm both emperor and empress, from whom he received twenty-four ducats in gold.

Joseph was thus completely supplanted by his brother. His voice had lost all its power, and he was oppressed with grief and anxiety. In the midst of his trouble Reutter suggested a means by which his voice might be preserved, and even improved, referring him to the court chapel, which contained at least a dozen castrati .1 Haydn’s father, however, having probably heard of the proposal, came in all haste to Vienna and saved his son."2

Had Haydn’s Papa not arrived in time, "Papa" Haydn might have had a different nickname.

 

"Sunt mala mixta bonis; some of my children are well-bred, some ill-bred, and here and there there is a changeling among them."

Haydn

 

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732 - 1809)

String Quartet in B Flat Major, Op. 76, No. 4 "Sunrise" (1796 or 97)

This String Quartet, assuredly one of Haydn’s "well-bred children", belongs to a group of six known collectively as the "Erdödy Quartets". Count Joseph Erdödy commissioned them in 1796. They were composed in 1796 and 1797, and published in 1799. This quartet is known principally in England and America by the nickname "Sunrise"- suggested by the opening of the first movement, a violin melody soaring above sustained chords formed by the other three voices. In its four movements, this quartet embraces a seemingly wide variety of music. The first movement is in classical sonata form. The second movement, one of Haydn’s slowest adagios, is in three-quarter time (but no dancing here) and grows plant-like out of the opening five note motif. The third movement Menuetto, also in three-quarter time starts out like 18th Century party music. However in the trio section we are transported from the ballroom to a Central European peasant dance; vigorous melodies, with the viola and cello providing a drone bass. The movement then finishes up back in the ballroom. The rondo finale sports a theme that might be described as a ditty with a hiccup. It is said to be derived from an English folktune, perhaps heard by Haydn on one of his then recent London concert tours . The movement starts out at a jaunty pace; the initial theme is then followed by an episode in the minor mode. With the return to major, Papa cranks up the speed, from Allegro, ma non troppo (allegro, but not too…), to Piu allegro (faster!) to Piu Presto (damned fast!!).

1 An interesting novel about this horrific practice, sanctioned by the Church, and 18th Century Opera where the castrati were the superstars of the day is Cry to Heaven by Anne Rice (author of the vampire novels)

2 Article from the Fifth Edition of Groves Dictionary of Music and Musicians (reprinted 1970)

1998-1999 Season, Program III, Sunday February 7, 1999

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Haydn was separated from his termagant wife for a long time. A friend, calling on him, noted with astonishment a pile of unopened letters on the composer’s desk. "Oh, they are from my wife," Haydn explained. "She writes me monthly, and I answer her monthly. But I do not open her letters, and I am quite sure that she does not open mine."

From Slonimsky’s Book of Musical Anecdotes, Nicholas Slonimsky, Schirmer Books 1988

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

String Trio in G major Op. 53, No.1 for violin, viola, and cello (1784)

"I never was a quick writer, and always composed with care and deliberation; that alone is the way to compose works that will last, and a real connoisseur can see at a glance whether a score has been written in undue haste or not."

Franz Joseph Haydn

Given the sheer volume of music composed by Haydn, one often tends to think of his works in any medium in terms of double or even triple digits; 62 piano sonatas, 82 string quartets, 31 piano trios, 104 symphonies, as well as 125 trios for baryton (a rather bizarre-looking member of the viol family, favored and played by his patron Prince Nikolaus Esterhazy), viola, and cello.

Haydn’s Opus 53 consists of a set of three two-movement trios for violin, viola, and cello: No.1 in the key of G major, No.2 in B flat major, and No.3 in D major. They are his only works for the classical string trio-though he did compose many works for "string trio" consisting of two violins and bass.

One day some weeks ago I was working on a project in the marketing warehouse of the company where I am employed. A co-worker there had the radio tuned to a station that plays classical music instead of the rock station that usually blares there daily; sound barely masked by the din of power tools. Early that afternoon, I heard a recording of a piano sonata by Haydn, performed by Alfred Brendel. It sounded strangely familiar. That evening, I looked up the sonata in a volume of Haydn Piano sonatas, and found it to be one and the same as the String Trio in G Op. 53. No. 1! In fact, all three of the String Trios in Op. 53 are also Piano Sonatas - Nos. 38, 39, and 40. Which came first? I don’t know. However, by the time these pieces were written Haydn had already established the string quartet as a four movement work, while his piano sonatas continued to have either two or three movements; their scope probably depending on for whom they were written. In this case, all three were dedicated to Princess Marie Esterhazy, an amateur pianist. This might lead one to suspect that these works started out as piano sonatas. However, Haydn is said to have composed his works at the keyboard. Perhaps these pieces were for dual use from the beginning; or perhaps the trios were a result of his publisher desiring string trios by Haydn (Mozart and Beethoven had composed string trios). Who knows? These works seem equally suited to either medium.

The G major trio starts out with an innocent theme in 6/8 meter, whose two parts variously ornamented, along with a contrasting G minor section make up the first movement. In its piano version, the second movement Presto in 4/4 time, though light in texture, makes demands on a pianist jumping as it does to different registers at a fast pace. Perhaps the string players have the advantage in this movement.

Oh… as to why Haydn was not fond of opening letters from his wife; here’s an anecdote from Haydn’s biography in Grove’s, dating from the time of his first triumphant tour of London. "During his absence his wife (earlier described in the article as; "a regular Xanthippe, who, as her husband said, cared not a straw whether he was an artist or a shoemaker") had had the offer of a small house and garden in the suburbs of Vienna, and she wrote asking him to send her the money for it, as it would be just the house for her when she became a widow! He did not send the money, but on his return to Vienna bought it, added a story and lived there from Jan. 1797 till his death."

1998-1999 Season, Program II, Sunday December 13, 1998

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Franz Joseph Haydn (1732- 1809)

String Quartet in C Major, Op. 76, No.3

"Kaiserquartett" (Emperor Quartet) (1797)

Haydn and Mozart, who jointly developed and set the standard for string quartet writing, had taken to writing quartets in sets of six. Beethoven followed suite in his first set of quartets, then abandoned the practice. The Emperor Quartet is the third of the set of six quartets that comprise Haydn’s Op. 76. (Sierra Chamber Society has included performances of No.2 "Quinten" (Fifths) and No. 4 "Sunrise" in past seasons.) Since Count Joseph Erdödy, one of a group of music loving aristocrats commissioned the set; they are known as the Erdödy Quartets. They were composed upon Haydn’s return to Vienna from his second triumphant concert tour of London.

Haydn was then the most celebrated composer in Europe. Largely self-taught in composition, this man, who developed both the symphony and string quartet, was by all accounts a hell of a nice guy; not at all the temperamental or tortured genius that Mozart and Beethoven have been portrayed as. So don’t expect any plays or movies about his life. However, this prolific gentleman’s works seem to epitomize, in music, the best of the wit and spirit of The Enlightenment.

The C Major Quartet is nicknamed the "Emperor". The second movement of the quartet consists of 4 variations on Haydn’s hymn "Gott erhalte Franz der Kaiser"(God protect the Emperor Franz). As mentioned above, the quartet was composed upon Haydn’s return from London. Haydn was deeply impressed by the effect upon the British people when the anthem "God Save the King" (now Queen) was played. (By the way, in this country this tune is known as "America" – you know, "my country ‘tis of thee…" In fact, at various times it also served as the national anthem of Germany, the U.S.A., Sweden, Russia, Switzerland and Liechtenstein! A good tune’s a good tune.) Haydn wished to provide Austria with an equally moving anthem; this was the time of the Napoleonic Wars. He succeeded grandly. The anthem was presented on Feb. 12, 1797, the Emperor’s birthday, when it was sung in all the theaters in Vienna and the provinces. It is said this tune, more than anything else, enhanced his popularity in his country. Though composed at the same time as weightier works; the oratorio "The Creation", two large Masses, some of his finest quartets, the popular Trumpet Concerto, and a vocal arrangement of "The Seven Last Words Of Christ", the little hymn was a favorite of Haydn’s among his own compositions. In return, the Emperor gave Haydn a gold box with a portrait of the Emperor inside, and cash. Haydn would have surely preferred a state decoration; an honor he would never received from the Habsburg Court. As for the anthem, It did indeed become Austria’s first national anthem - for a time. The fickle Austrians fiddled around with a number of other tunes, before landing on their current anthem in 1946, when the Austrian cabinet decided on a tune by their beloved Mozart; with a newly commissioned text. As it turns out, the tune wasn’t by Mozart at all; but one Johann Holzer. However, Haydn’s hymn tune is probably better known in its guise as the German national anthem "Deutchland, Deutchland über alles", adopted by Germany in 1922. However, following the Second World War, in 1952 the Federal Republic adopted the third verse "Unity, Right and Freedom for the German Fatherland" as the official words. That verse has a less belligerent ring to it than the first. Finally, for you movie buffs, Mel Brooks made judicious use of the tune in his film The Producers (1967). (A test on the foregoing material will determine whether or not you are given any bran muffin during the intermission.)

In his biography of Haydn, Karl Geiringer is less than enthusiastic about this quartet as a whole. He writes, "Number 3 in C major, is a comparatively uninspired quartet that hardly would deserve its place among Haydn’s last works of this type were it not for its poco adagio cantabile."

Like Schubert in his quartet "Death and the Maiden" and in his "Trout" Quintet, in the slow movement Haydn presents variations on one of his own songs "Gott erhalte Franz der Kaiser". There are only four variations, and in each a different member of the quartet is entrusted with the melody. It is a composition of great simplicity and dignity, fully deserving the great popularity that it enjoys". Keeping that last sentence in mind, one could make the case that Haydn chose to surround this movement with music of equal simplicity and dignity, that would not overshadow the variations, which are not very adventurous as far as variations go. The first movement is constructed of a 5-note motif; actually the first 5 notes of the C major scale, contrasted with a skittering dotted rhythm. In one episode we are treated to a folk dance complete with drone accompaniment. The third movement menuetto is also a spare and simple dance, more country than courtly. A bit of drama is however introduced in the finale, where three chords announce the key of C minor. Rapid passages in triplets figure prominently before the movement is brought to a close in C major.

2000-2001 Season, Program I, Sunday October 29, 2000

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All original text on this page Copyright 2000 by Joseph Way