Blog topic: Rare books

Haydn's signature

Haydn's sonata for a Parisian lady

January 14, 2015
by Ray Heigemeir

Dernière sonate pour le piano forte, avec accompaniment de violon
À Paris : publiée par Naderman ; À Londres : par Clementi & Co., [1821]

Stanford University Libraries, Memorial Library of Music, MLM 498

Link to downloadable images of this work

In advance of a visit to Paris in 1803, Prince Esterházy asked Haydn to compose a new piano sonata as a gift for Louise-Alexandrine-Eugénie Moreau, the French-Creole wife of the famous general Jean Victor Moreau, and hostess of an influential Paris salon. Haydn, pleading illness, sent instead a copy of the sonata for piano with violin and 'cello accompaniment (HXV:31) minus the somewhat superfluous ‘cello part.  In an accompanying letter to Madame Moreau, Haydn apologizes for not composing something new, due to his failing health, and promises to fulfill his duties once he regains his strength.

Winter in the Viennese woods

The Seasons, and Haydn slows down

January 8, 2015
by Ray Heigemeir

Die Jahreszeiten (The Seasons)
Leipzig : Breitkopf & Härtel, [1802]

Stanford University Libraries, Memorial Library of Music, MLM 494

Link to downloadable images of this work: volume one | volume two

Composition, performance and publication of The Seasons quickly followed the resounding success of The Creation. The libretto, also provided by Baron von Swieten, was a fragmented adaptation of James Thompson’s epic poem, first published in the 1730s and which enjoyed broad popularity at the end of the century. The private premiere took place at the Schwarzenberg Winter Palace on April 24, 1801, and the public premiere took place in the Redoutensaal at the Hofburg Palace, on May 29 of that same year.

Bridget Whearty and Astrid Smith in the digitization lab

Making a digital medieval manuscript

As the CLIR postdoctoral fellow in Data Curation for Medieval Studies at Stanford I work primarily with data about large collections of digitized manuscripts and fragments. For example, I have helped to make our teaching collections more easily discoverable in Searchworks. I've also been bringing together partner institutions' descriptive metadata to feed a specialized manuscript search environment. 

In practice, I write code to transform batches of 70, 300, 500, or 1000+ manuscripts at a time: I've gotten very comfortable thinking of medieval manuscripts in the tens, hundreds, and even thousands. But the truth is that these large batches of digital-medieval manuscripts I curate are built of unique, single objects. Single objects that, just like the physical objects they grow from, are made by individual people, in particular environments, under specific institutional, financial, and social pressures. 

In order to better understand the process that leads to the creation of a digital-medieval book, I recently followed the digitization of a fifteenth-century book of hours, Stanford University Libraries, M0379, from the request for digitization, through the slow hard work of taking the images and hours of post-production labor, to its arrival in Stanford Digital Repository (SDR). 

Broadwood grand piano, 1810

Haydn’s English songs: the canzonettas

November 24, 2014
by Ray Heigemeir

Dr. Haydn's VI original canzonettas for the voice with an accompaniment for the Piano-Forte : dedicated to Mrs. John Hunter. London : Printed for the Author, & Sold by him at No. 1, Bury Street, St. James - at Messrs. Corri, Dussek & Co. Music Sellers to her Majesty, No. 7 Dean Street, Soho & Bridge Street, Edinburgh, [1794-1795]

Second sett of Dr. Haydn's VI original canzonettas : for the voice with an accompaniment for the piano forte / dedicated to the Right Honble. Lady Charlotte Bertie. London : Printed & sold for Messrs. Corri, Dussek & Co., [1795?]

Download images of the complete works: First set | Second set

What a time Haydn must have had during his London stays in the early 1790s! Already hailed as a great composer, and preceded by the performance and publication of numerous successful works including symphonies, string quartets, and works for keyboard, he was eagerly embraced by London society.

As reported in the Lady’s Magazine, January 1791:

“A remarkable circumstance happened this evening, in the ball-room at St. James's. Haydn, the celebrated composer, though he has not yet been introduced at our court, was recognised by all the royal family, and paid them his silent respects. Mr. Haydn came into the room with Sir John Gallini, Mr. Wills, and Mr. Salomon. The prince of Wales first observed him, and upon bowing to him, the eyes of all the company were upon Mr. Haydn, everyone paying him respect.”

Naxos temple gate

Haydn's "exquisitely captivating" Arianna a Naxos

November 20, 2014
by Ray Heigemeir

Arianna a Naxos, Hob. XXVIb:2
London, Printed for the author [1791], signed by the composer

Stanford University Libraries, Memorial Library of Music, MLM 489

Link to downloadable images of this work

Arianna a Naxos was first published by Artaria in Vienna in 1790, followed by this London edition printed for Haydn by John Bland and first offered for sale on June 10, 1791. Bland was instrumental in bringing Haydn to London, and provided Haydn’s first lodging there in January 1791. Bland had visited Haydn at Eszterháza. One day during Haydn’s grooming routine, he heard the composer complain about his dull razors. “I’d give my best quartet for a pair of good razors,” he exclaimed, upon which Bland raced back to his room, grabbed his new British razors, and presented them to Haydn. In exchange Bland received the manuscript for the Quartet, op. 55 No.2, the “Razor” Quartet.  Or so the story goes.  We do know that Bland took away the manuscript for Arianna and a contract to publish Haydn’s flute trios.

Haydn Lieder (1781) title page detail

Haydn's Lieder of 1781

November 6, 2014
by Ray Heigemeir

XII Lieder fur as Clavier, erster Teil (1781), HXXVIa:1-12
Wienn : Heraus gegeben und zu haben bey Artaria Comp., [approximately 1781]

Stanford University Libraries, Memorial Library of Music, MLM 499

Link to downloadable images of this work 

The Lieder were among the first works requested for publication by Haydn’s Austrian publisher, Artaria & Co., with whom he began a relationship at the end of the 1770s.  Artaria announced publication of this first set of Lieder in December 1781 (the second set followed in 1784), possibly to coincide with the festivities surrounding the Grand Tour of Russian Grand Duke Paul (later Tzar Paul II) and his entourage, including the Count and Countess von Norden. Other works published around this time were the highly praised op. 33 quartets. Both the Lieder and the op. 33 quartets represent a break from Haydn's more studious earlier works; the tribute to laziness that is "Lob der Faulheit" (in the second set of Lieder) in particular, has been singled out for its wit and overall affect.

Title page of the Bonaparte Edition (detail)

Haydn, Pleyel, and the complete string quartets

October 14, 2014
by Ray Heigemeir

Collection complette des quatuorsd'Haydn ; dédiée au Premier Consul Bonaparte
A Paris : Chez Pleyel, auteur et editeur de musique, [1802]

Stanford University Libraries, Memorial Library of Music, MLM 496

Link to downloadable images of this work:
violin I | violin II | viola | basso

Goethe described the classical string quartet form as “four rational people conversing,” a type of discourse embodied in the quartets of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert. Haydn, perhaps more than any of his contemporaries, shaped the string quartet into the form we know today, moving away from the typical divertimenti solo with accompaniment, to four equal voices working out thematic material in (often lively) conversation. The complete set of parts featured here is a variant of the first edition of Haydn’s complete string quartets, dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte, and known as the “Bonaparte Edition,” published by Maison Pleyel in Paris in 1803. 

Portrait of Joseph Haydn by Thomas Hardy (1791)

Haydn, Burney, England, and The Creation

May 19, 2014
by Ray Heigemeir

Die Schoepfung [The Creation]. German and English.
Vienna : [Joseph Haydn], 1800.
Stanford University Libraries, Memorial Library of Music, MLM 497
Link to downloadable images of this work

Letter from Haydn to Burney, September 14, 1799
Stanford University Libraries, Memorial Library of Music, MLM 497a
Link to downloadable images of this work

 

There are two important items in the Memorial Library of Music related to Haydn's Creation: a letter written by Haydn to his English friend Dr. Charles Burney (1726-1814), who helped Haydn arrange for the initial sale of the English-language edition of the full score; and one of the earliest copies of that score, which bears Haydn’s personal stamp on the title page. Burney is best known for his A General History of Music, (4 vols., 1776-89), a monumental publication that set a new standard for works on music history and historiography.

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