By Ed Shanapy
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Extra info for 500 Piano Intros for the Great Standards (The Steinway Library of Piano Music)
Hoffmann himself distinguished Mozart’s Romanticism from Haydn’s, so the distinction existed from the outset. Mozart also died young—before Romanticism had taken hold—whereas Haydn lingered on into retirement. The choice was relatively clear. These two premises, Beethoven as a pivotal figure and Haydn as a conservative who avoided the new style of composition, permeate the opinions of virtually every writer examined in this chapter. Haydn was an easy target: he lived long enough to embrace Romanticism, but in failing to do so in the 1790s and 1800s he apparently rejected the new style in a way that confirmed the epigram on his calling card: “Gone is all my strength, old and weak am I” (Hin ist alle meine Kraft; alt und schwach bin ich).
Where Hoffmann had positioned Beethoven as a successor on more or less equal terms with Haydn, Marx reached the starker conclusion that Haydn was irrelevant except as a precursor to Beethoven. In the latter part of the century, these ideas would become firmly entrenched—reinforced through broad generalizations about Haydn and his compositions—and Haydn’s music would become useful only as a pedagogical tool in preparation for the study of Beethoven. The larger question of “why” remains: why was Haydn’s music attacked in the first place?
Wagner’s direct influence on Haydn’s reception might be questioned, given the lack of originality in his views and the late date at which they appeared. Nearly everything he wrote can be found in Hoffmann, Marx, or Liszt. His importance is twofold. First, his overt connection of folk music to Haydn would be one facet invoked during the revival seen in Britain. Second, his opinion shaped a condescending attitude toward the music as heard in the concert hall. Looking back on the nineteenth-century reception of Haydn many years later, Donald Tovey blamed everything negative on the Wagnerians: “The writer well remembers the impression made by the D Minor quartet, op.
500 Piano Intros for the Great Standards (The Steinway Library of Piano Music) by Ed Shanapy