Advertisement

When is a Work of Music Real?

  • James Parsons
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 61)

Abstract

Although the celebrated Renaissance music theorist Johannes Tinctoris could confidently affirm in 1477 that “there does not exist a single piece of music not composed within the last forty years that is regarded by the learned as worthy of hearing,” the same statement — at least as it concerns art music — could not be made today.1 In the event, the excitement and anticipation that in previous eras greeted the musically new, nowadays is reserved for “authentic” performances of compositions from a curiously constructed past. Admittance into the canon of acceptability demands not only that a musical work have withstood the test of time, but also that it possess an unimpeachable pedigree. In other words, compositions bearing the labels “creator unknown” or “creator little known” are not granted space in today’s musical museums. At the outset two questions present themselves: why this radical shift and who is it that decides such matters?

Keywords

Musical Work Great Composer Grand Opus Quartet Movement Chamber Music 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    Johannes Tinctoris, Liber de arte contrapuncti [1477], trans. Albert Seay (Rome: American Institute of Musicology, 1961), p. 14.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Nino Pirrotta, “Ars nova e stil novo,” in Rivista italiana di musicologia, 1 (1966); trans, as “Ars Nova and Stil Novo,” in Music and Culture in Italy from the Middle Ages to the Baroque (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1984), p. 26.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    The two cantatas, along with twelve others, are listed in the “doubtful and spurious” category in the work-list accompanying the article on Johann Sebastian Bach in The New Grove Bach Family (New York and London: W. W. Norton, 1983), p. 189; the former is now thought to be the work of one “M. Hoffmann” while the latter has been assigned tentatively to Johann Kuhnau.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    See Helmut Hucke, “Die musikalische Vorlagen zu Igor Strawinskys Pulcinella,” Helmuth Osthoff zu seinem seibzigsten Geburtstag, ed. Ursula Aarbun and Peter Cahn (Tutzing: Hans Schneider, 1969), pp. 242–50. For the little that is known of Gallo, see Charles Cudworth, “Gallo, Domenico,” The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. Stanley Sadie (London: Macmillan, 1980), Vol. VII, p. 128.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    See the work-list to Heinz Becker’s article on Brahms in The New Grove Dictionary of Music, Vol. III, p. 174.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    See variously, Lorenzo Bianconi, Music in the Seventeenth Century, trans. David Bryant (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 194–96, for the most balanced assessment; Alan Curtis “La Poppea Impasticciata or, Who Wrote the Music to L’Incoronazione (1643),” Journal of the American Musicological Society, 42 (Spring 1989), 23-54, who also argues that other music in the opera may not be by Monteverdi; and Ellen Rosand, Opera in Seventeenth-Century Venice: The Creation of a Genre (Berkeley, Los Angeles, and Oxford: University of California Press, 1991), 336f. The evaluative quotation above is Curtis’s.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    See further Paul Moseley, “Mozart’s Requiem: A Ree valuation of the Evidence,” Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 114 (1989), pp. 203–37; as well as Christoph Wolff, “The Composition and Completion of Mozart’s Requiem,” in Mozart Studies, ed. Cliff Eisen (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991), pp. 61-81, and Wolff, Mozarts Requiem: Geschichte, Musik, Dokumente, Partitur des Fragments (Kassel, Basel, London, and New York: Bärenreiter, 1991).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Cited in Richard Maunder, Mozart’s Requiem: On Preparing a New Edition (Oxford and New York: Clarendon Press, 1988), p. 2.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Cäcilia: Eine Zeitschrift für die musikalische Welt, 3 (1825), pp. 205–29.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Richard Maunder, Mozart’s Requiem: On Preparing a New Edition, p. 6.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Thomas Bauman, “Requiem, but No Piece,” 19th-century Music, Vol. XV (1991), p. 152.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    See further “Über Skizzen zu Mozarts Requiem,” Bericht Über den Internationalen Musikwissenschaftlichen Kongress Kassel 1962 (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1963), pp. 184–87.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Nicomachean Ethics, vi. 4, 1140a 10—16; trans. David Ross (London: Oxford University Press, 1925).Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Perhaps the best general introduction to the Opus 3 question is to be found in the published round-table discussion, Haydn Studies, Proceedings of the International Haydn Conference, Washington, D.C, 1975, ed. Jans Peter Larsen, Howard Serwer, and James Webster (New York and London: W. W. Norton, 1981). See particularly “Problems of Authenticity-‘Opus 3’” pp. 95-106. Elsewhere, see James Webster, “External Criteria for Determining the Authenticity of Haydn’s Music,” pp. 75-78; note well Webster’s opening sentence: “The problem of authenticity has long been the most important issue in Haydn scholarship.”Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Readers of this essay interested in correlating my comments with the music itself should consult, for the Opus 3 String Quartets, 83 String Quartets by Josef Haydn in 3 Volumes (London and Mainz: Edition Eulenburg, n.d.), Vol. I, Quartets No. 13—18; for Opus 33, discussed below, see Joseph Haydn: Werke, Series XII, Vol. Ill, ed. Georg Feder and Sonja Gerlach (Munich: G. Henle Verlag, 1974), pp. 105-188; for the first movement of Opus 54, No. 3, also discussed below, see Joseph Haydn String Quartets Op. 42, 50 and 54, ed. Wilhelm Altmann (New York: Dover Publications, 1982), pp. 199–207.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Carl Friedrich Pohl, Joseph Haydn (Berlin: A. Sacco, 1874), Vol. I, p. 340: “die erste Violine hat den Gesang, die zweite bebleitet in Sechzehnteln. Est ist ein ausgesprochene Serenade voll kindlicher Einfalt, Seligkeit und Unschuld, ein Rosenbusch, der uns mit neidloser Freigebigkeit mit Blüthen überschüttet und uns alles Leid der Welt vergessen lässt.” Unless otherwise noted, all translations are mine.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Haydn, Vol. I, p. 341: “vielleicht das schonste der ganzen Sammlung. Auch hier ist Haydn wieder um zwanzig und mehr Jahre voraus. Eingeschohen in eines der späterer Quartette wüurde kaum Jemand dessen frühzeitige Entstehung ahnen.”Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    “Haydn,” Cobbett’s Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music, compiled and ed. Walter Willson Cobbett, Vol. I (London: Oxford University Press, 1929), pp. 524–25.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    See, for example, Marion Scott, “Haydn’s Opus Two and Opus Three,” Publications of the [Royal] Musical Association, Vol. LXI (1934–35), pp. 1–19.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Quoted in The American Record Guide, Vol. IXX (January 1953), p. 162.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    “Zur Echtheitsfrage des Haydn’schen’ Opus 3’,” The Haydn Yearbook, Vol. III (1965), p. 165. Somfai’s first article on the subject is: “A klasszikus kvartetthangzás megszületése Haydn vonósnégyeseiben [The Evolution of Classical Quartet Style in Haydn’s Quartets],” Zenetudományi tanulmányok, Vol. III (1960), pp. 295-420.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    James Webster, The Bass Part in Haydn’s Early String Quartets and in Austrian Chamber Music, 1750-1780 (Ph.D. diss., Princeton University, 1974), 244. Webster restates the evaluation in his “The Chronology of Haydn’s String Quartets,” The Musical Quarterly, Vol. LXI (1975), p. 17: “We must also bid farewell to the spurious ‘Opus 3,’ very probably from the dilettantish pen of pater Romanus Hoffstetter.”Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Oivind Eckhoff, “The Enigma of ‘Haydn’s Opus 3,’” Studia musicologica, Vol. IV (1978), pp. 10, 11,12, and 14 respectively.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Eckhoff, op. cit., p. 14.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Eckhoff, op. cit., p. 17.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Eckhoff, op. cit., pp. 21–22.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Eckhoff, op. cit., p. 17.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Webster, “The Form of the Finale of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony,” in Beethoven Forum (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1992), p. 40.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    “Who Composed Haydn’s Op. 3?,” The Musical Times, Vol. LV (1964), pp. 506–7. Following Somfai’s first article wherein he expressed his uncertainty as to whether or not Haydn might in fact be the composer of Opus 3, Tyson and Landon were the first to suggest Hoffstetter as the most likely candidate.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Eckhoff, op. cit., p. 35.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Eckhoff, op. cit., pp. 35–6.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Of the likely sixteen such letters, three at present are known: to Johann Caspar Lavater in Zurich, a leading figure of the literary Strum und Drang; Prince Krafft Ernst Öttingen-Wallerstein of Bavaria; and Robert Schlect, Abbot of Salmannsweiler in Gaden, Germany. See further Dénes Bartha, Joseph Haydn: Gesammelte Briefe und Aufzeichnungen (Kassel and New York: Bärenreiter Verlag, 1965), Nos. 39-40, pp. 106-6; also H. C. Robbins Landon, Haydn: Chronicle and Works, II: Haydn at Eszterháza (Bloomington, Ind., and London: Indiana University Press, 1978), p. 115.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Ludwig Finscher, Studien zur Geschichte des Streichquartetts, I. Die Entstenhung des klassischen Streichquartetts. Vond er Vorformen zur Grundlegung durch Joseph Haydn. Sarbrücker Studien zur Musikwissenschaft, ed. Walter Wiora, Vol. III (Kassel: Bärenreiter-Verlag, 1974), pp. 237–44. Charles Rosen, The Classical Style: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven (New York: W. W. Norton, 1972), pp. 116-7. It should be pointed out that the G-Major Quartet now known as Opus 33, No. 5, was the opening work in the original edition issued by Artaria; see further, the foreword to Joseph Haydn: Werke, Series XII, Vol. III, op. cit.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Gretchen A. Wheelock, “Engaging Strategies in Haydn’s Opus 33 Quartets,” Eighteenth-Century Studies, Vol. XXV (1991), pp. 14 and 30 respectively.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    The octaves return in measures 83–87 of the same movement in the violins.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Eckhoff, op. cit., p. 20. Eckhoff limits his tally of textual “curiosities” to outer movements and non-minuet movements. As he notes, p. 43, fn. 11: “In minuets, three-part and, still more, two-part writing was quite common at the time; and, as every Haydn connoisseur will know, simultaneous octave unison between the violins and between viola and cello form a characteristic feature of his particular minuet style, producing an excellent effect, and creating a satisfactory contrast to the textures of the adjacent movements.”Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Eckhoff, op. cit., p. 21.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Rosen, The Classical Style, p. 142.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Whatever the answer to these questions reasonably might be, it should be noted that at least some of Haydn’s contemporaries were troubled by such supposed stylistic laxity. Thus one reads in Ernst Ludwig Gerber’s Historisch-biographisches Lexikon der Tonkünstler (Leipzig: J. G. I. Breitkopf, 1790-92), Vol. I, col. 611: “Schon seine [Haydn’s] ersten Quatros, welche um das Jahr 1760 berkannt wurden, machten allgemeine Sensation. Man lachte und vergnügte sich auf der einen Seite an der ausservordentlichen Naivetät und Munterkeit, welche darinne herrschte, und in andern Gegenden schrie man über Herabwürdigung der Musik zu komischen Tändeleyen und über unerhörte Oktaven” [Haydn’s “first quartets, which became known around 1760, made a great sensation. On the one hand, the extraordinary naïveté and gaiety that prevail in them were smiled at and delighted in while on the other, the degradation of music to comic trifles and unheard-of octaves was deplored”].Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Laurence Dreyfus, “Early Music Defended against Its Devotees: A Theory of Historical Performance in the Twentieth Century,” The Musical Quarterly, Vol. LXIX (1983), p. 297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Quoted from James Parsons, “Notes on the Music,” program booklet, The Grand Opera House, Wilmington, Delaware, 14 December 1987.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    For more on the development of a permanent musical canon, see Joseph Kerman, “A Few Canonic Variations,” Critical Inquiry, Vol. X (1983), pp. 107–25; reprinted in Canons, ed. Robert von Hallberg (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984), pp. 177-95.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Quoted from Mary Sue Morrow, Concert Life in Haydn’s Vienna: Aspects of a Developing Musical and Social Institution, Sociology of Music No. 7 (Stuyvesant, New York: Pendragon Press, 1989), p. 141.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Morrow, op. cit., p. 143.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
  46. 46.
    Quoted in Kerman, “Canonic Variations,” Canons, p. 180.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    From Marcello’s Il teatro alla moda (1702), quoted in Oliver Strunk, Source Readings in Music History (New York: W. W. Norton, 1950), p. 526.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    John Walter Hill, “Vivaldi as Dramatic Composer: Sources and Contributing Factors,” Opera & Vivaldi, ed. Michael Collins and Elise K. Kirk (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1984), pp. 327–46; the quotations are from p. 328.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    “Handel’s Pasticci,” in Reinhard Strohm, Essays on Handel & Italian Opera (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), p. 164. On the pasticcio in general see the excellent overview by Curtis Price, “Pasticcio,” The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London: Macmillan, 1992), Vol. III, pp. 907–10.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Strohm, op. cit., p. 166.Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Strohm, op. cit., p. 165.Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Carl Dalhaus, Analysis and Value Judgment, trans. Siegmund Levarie, Monographs in Musicology No. 1 (New York: Pendragon Press, 1983), p. 23.Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Franz Liszt, An Artist’s Journey: Lettres d’un bachelier ès musique, 1835-1841, trans, and ed. Charles Suttoni (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1989), p. 207.Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Rousseau, “Essai sur l’origine des langues,” in Oeuvres de J. J. Rousseau, nouvelle édition, avec des notes historiques et critiques, éd. M. Mussay Pathay (Paris: Werdet et Pequien fils, 1826), pp. 210 and 208–9: “On voit part là que la peinture est plus près de la nature, et que la musique tient plus à l’art humain. On sent aussi que l’une intéresse plus que l’autre, précisément parce qu’elle rapproche plus l’homme de l’homme.” p. 208: “La voix annonce un être sensible; il n’y a que des corps animés qui chantent.” P. 210: “[La musique] elle peut vous transporter au fond d’un désert; mais sitôt que des signes vocaux frappent votre oreille, ils vous annoncent un être semblable à vous.”Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    See, for example, Joseph Kerman, Contemplating Music, Challenges to Musicology (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1985) and Leo Treitler, Music and the Historical Imagination (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989).Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Leon Botstein, “Between Aesthetics and History,” 19th-century Music, Vol. XIII (1989), p. 169.Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    From Goethe’s preface written for Opere poetiche di Alessandro Manzoni (1827), cited in Johann Wolfgang Goethe. Gedenkausgabe der Werke, Briefe und Gespräche, ed. Ernst Beutler (Zurich: Artemis-Verlag, 1949), 830:Jene [destructive criticism] ist sehr leicht, denn man darf sich nur irgendeinen Masstab, irgendein Musterbild, so borniert sie auch seinen, in Gedanken aufstellen, sodann aber kühnlich versichern: vorliegendes Kunstwerk passe nicht dazu, tauge deswegen nichts, die Sache sei abgetan, und man dürfe, ohne weiteres, seine Forderung als unbefriedigt erklären; und so befreit man sich von aller Dankbarkeit gegen den Künstler. Die produktive Kritik ist um ein gutes Teil schwerer, sie fragt: Was hat sich der Autor vorgesetzt? ist dieser Vorsatz vernünftig und verständig? Und inwiefern ist es gelungen, ihn auszufrühren? Werden diese Fragen einsichtig und liebevoll beantwortet, so helfen wir.Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    Hiller, preface to George Friedrich Linke’s Kurze Musiklehre (Leipzig: J. G. I. Breitkopf, 1779), p. vii. Trans, from Mark Evans Bonds, Wordless Rhetoric: Musical Form and the Metaphor of the Oration (Cambridge, Mass, and London: Harvard University Press, 1991), p. 70.Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Scott Fruehwald, Authenticity Problems in Joseph Haydn’s Early Instrumental Works, Monographs in Musicology No. 8 (New York: Pendragon Press, 1988), p. 3.Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    Barbara Herrnstein Smith, “Contingencies of Value,” in Canons, p. 34.Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    Fruehwald, op. cit., p. 3, fn. 8; italics mine.Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Georg August Griesinger, Biographische Notizen über Joseph Haydn [1810], in Vernon Gotwals, trans. and ed., Joseph Haydn: Eighteenth-Century Gentleman and Genius (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1968), p. 61.Google Scholar
  63. 63.
    Abrams, The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1953), pp. 14–26.Google Scholar
  64. 64.
    Sulzer, Allgemeine Theorie der Schonen Künste, 2nd ed. (1792–94; reprint, Hildesheim: Georg O1ms, 1967–70), Vol. IV, p. 515.Google Scholar
  65. 65.
    Lessing, Hamburgische Dramaturgie, Sechsunddreissigstes Stück (1 September 1767), in Werke, ed. Jost Perfahl, Vol. II, pp. 425–26: “wie schwach muss der Eindruck sein, den das Werk gemacht hat, wenn man in ebendem Augenblicke auf nichts begieriger ist, als die Figur des Meisters dagegenzuhalten? Das wahre Meisterstück … erfüllet uns so ganz mit sich selbst, dass wir des Urhebers darübers darüber vergessen; dass wir es nicht als das Produkt eines einzeln Wesens, sondern der allgemeinen Natur betrachten … Die Täuschung muss sehr schwach sein, man muss wenig Natur, aber desto mehr Künsttelei empfinden, wenn man so neugierig nach dem Künstler ist.”Google Scholar
  66. 66.
    Michel Foucault, “What Is an Author?” in The Foucault Reader, ed. Paul Rabinow (New York: Pantheon Books, 1984), p. 119.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Parsons
    • 1
  1. 1.Southwest Missouri State UniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations