Monday, May 6, 2013

How Long Does It Take to Get to Know Haydn?

When I consider how I absolutely hated Haydn's music as I heard it played as a freshman in a music school, I would have to say it takes a lifetime minus 16 years.  I have been at it a long time and I am not yet finished getting to know him.

It just occurred to me the other day that he is as fascinated with single tones on the piano as with their potential.  Why else would he begin and end so many sonatas with single tones, sometimes embellished, but often at the discretion of the player?  Why else would he so often end sonatas with "weak" endings? 
It is as if he is expanding and then intensifying our field of auditory awareness exploring the range of auditory space and perception on a multi-dimensional terrain that we are always only just beginning to enter no matter how many times we play the piece.

It is because of Haydn that I have given up on themes and formal vocabulary.  Invention, variability, endless delight--these are my guideposts.

I wish he were alive so that I might tell him this.