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Monday, December 03, 2007

Saturday Night Haydn

Thanks to an anonymous visitor who left a thoughtful response to one of my Haydn jeremiads.  I'm glad he or she was not provoked by my needlessly provocative attack on Haydn, which are always intended (but often do not appear) to be delivered with at least 50% of my tongue in my cheek.

It's not that I don't dislike Haydn, it's just that I recognize this is purely a question of taste.  Haydn is an excellent craftsman in the shaping of melodies; it's just that I am always listening for a certain harmonic structure (which I attempted to define in that link above) which Haydn lacks, for reasons Anonymous makes clear.  Also, the forms Haydn helped develop seem primitive in his hands--all those literal repeats don't hold my atrophied attention.

It's sad, really.  Driving home from Saturday night's inaugural Vivo concert, sponsored by the Common Cup coffeehouse at the University Lutheran Chapel, the wifeösphere expressed a timid opinion that she actually liked the Haydn symphony (conducted by the eager young maestro Brett Luginbill).  I had to assure her enjoyment was completely legit, and that she is in good company.  It helps to hear Haydn played live, in a space just the right size to make a 20ish-piece orchestra ring out loud and clear.  The Chapel makes a chamber group sound loud.  Loud is good.

Some day I'll learn to write about music without mentioning my irrelevant whims.  Meanwhile, for a more coherent essayist, see Daniel Wolf describing the role of passagework in music.



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