Notes 60.2 (2003) 435-437
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Joseph Haydn and the Eighteenth Century: Collected Essays of Karl Geiringer. Edited by Robert N. Freeman. Warren, MI: Harmonie Park Press, 2002 [xxiv, 262 p. ISBN 0-89990-112-3. $52.50.] Music examples, illustrations, bibliography, indexes.
Reflecting on his long, fruitful career, the musicologist Karl Geiringer (1899- 1989) concluded, "It seems to me that, as far as my fate allowed it, I have made adequate use of the modest resources with which nature endowed me" (Karl Geiringer, This I Remember [Santa Barbara, CA: Fithian Press, 1993], 181). Through curiosity, imagination, perseverance, and industriously cultivated talent, Geiringer achieved international distinction in five areas: musical instruments, Johann Sebastian Bach, the Bach family, Johannes Brahms, and Joseph Haydn, the subject of concern here.
Two criteria determined editor Robert Freeman's choice of materials: items "that would represent as far as possible the full scope of Karl's activities as they related to Haydn" and "versions of essays previously unpublished, long out of print or whose publication was widely spread over time and space..." (p. xxi). Freeman divides the collection into four parts, each a set of six variations on an announced theme. Through a felicitous application of "new math," he swells the expected total of twenty-four essays to thirty-three by clustering several reviews within individual chapters of part 4. The essays span roughly sixty years, from 1927 to 1989. Ranging in length from the epigrammatic to the epic, and in intended audience from the Liebhaber to the Kenner, the original works appeared in a variety of Austrian, German, British, and American journals, congress reports, Festschriften, book and score reviews, liner notes, encyclopedia entries, public lectures, critical editions, and there is even an unpublished typescript. The contents of chapters 2, 4, 13, 14, and 16 appear in English for the first time in translations by Freeman and Therese Ahren-August. A foreword by Bernice Geiringer and the editor's preface precede the essays; the volume concludes with a bibliography of Geiringer's works relating to Haydn (compiled by David Malvinni and Martin Silver) and three indexes. Twenty-six figures, one table, and ninety-one music examples contribute graphic richness while also making the collection remarkably self-contained.
Because Geiringer himself recognized two phases in his Haydn work—the attempt "to provide a complete picture of Haydn's artistic and human personality" and a more thorough investigation of "specific fields of [Haydn's] production" (p. xx)—Freeman implements a comparable plan. Aptly entitled "Haydn's Artistic and Human Personality," part 1 opens with Geiringer's entry "Haydn" for The New Encyclopaedia Britannica (Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th ed., 1975, 8: 680-84). In "The Portrait of Haydn Over the Course of Time," written for the 1932 bicentennial celebrations, Geiringer shatters the "Papa Haydn" stereotype. His public lecture, "Haydn and His Viennese Background," launched the landmark 1975 Kennedy Center Haydn Conference. Studies of autograph remarks (1962), sketches for The Creation (1932), and Haydn as protagonist of the Enlightenment (1963) complete this part. In part 2, "Haydn at Work: Specific Fields of His Production," several compositional genres draw Geiringer's scrutiny: small sacred works (1959), opera (1939-40; 1972/74), folk song of the British Isles (1949), symphony (1955), and string quartet (1952- 54). With part 3, "Haydn and His Contemporaries," the focus widens: a birthday cantata by Metastasio and Vinci (1927), Gluck and Haydn (1963), Gluck's Italian reform operas (1971/72), Gluck's Telemaco (1972), C. P. E. Bach and the Viennese "classical triad" (1988-89), and the Storaces, Stephen and Nancy (1981). The six subdivisions of part 4, "On Haydn Scholars and Scholarship," include fifteen reviews of works by individuals (Robert Sondheimer, Donald Francis Tovey, Anthony van Hoboken, H. C. Robbins Landon) and institutions (Joseph Haydn Institute, Cologne and the Hungarian Academy of Science). [End Page 435]
An editor's introduction to each essay or cluster of reviews supplies the source and date of the original(s), an assessment of the writing's significance, and, when possible, relevant passages from This I Remember. Readers...