04.02.2009

"Haydn Go Seek"

Posted by AJ Harbison at 5:35 am

I was reminded again by this article a few days ago that the bicentennial of Franz Josef Haydn’s death is coming up this May–he died May 31st, 1809. (The article, written by Fred Sanders, appeared on Scriptorium Daily, the blog of Biola University’s Torrey Honors Institute.) The best line from the article: “Start listening now so you’ll be ready for the big Haydn go seek party.” Sanders mentions that Haydn’s oratorio The Creation was the first piece of music to be studied as a text in the Torrey program and goes on to describe how the students study and analyze it. (My younger brother is a current Torrey student; I wonder if he’s gotten to that point of the curriculum yet?)

The article got me thinking about how little of Haydn’s music I know. Much of his work falls into the movement of Classical composition known as “Böoring” to modern listeners; but I decided that as a composer myself, I should at least make the acquaintance of some of his greater pieces.

So I shall set myself this goal: listen to three major Haydn works, at least twice apiece, during the month of April. One of them will be The Creation, since I was so inspired by Sanders’ article. Now I set you, my loyal readers, this goal: suggest for me what the other two works should be–and/or recommend recordings of those or of The Creation that you particularly enjoy. I know that many of my readers may not have a lot of experience in Haydn’s music; but maybe you can do some research on your own! So, dear readers, bring on your suggestions, and I’ll write about ’em here in a later post!

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    Darth_Harbison on 04.02.2009

    Actually, the way that Torrey works is that there’s two separate but equal (and similar curriculums) . . . I won’t go into the boring details, but essentially half of the students do one and half of them do the other. While there is a lot of overlap, the musical pieces are not any of the texts that overlap (the curriculum in which the music is studied contains most of Torrey’s music majors). So, unfortunately, I will never get to that point in the curriculum, unless they change things.

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