About two months ago, I accidentally wandered into an antique shop in Fairfax, California. Inside there was a seemingly random arrangement of kipple which the shopkeeper clearly understood. It was as if I had discovered a surreptitious vault in an Indiana Jones movie filled with gleaming mounds of treasure, a glut of pearls and gold, a feast for the eyes*. I hesitated, unsure of where to start, slightly concerned that something would fall on me.
Blog topic: Music
Stanford University Libraries, Memorial Library of Music, MLM 495
Original title on the autograph score: Orfeo ed Euridice; title in Haydn’s catalogue: L'anima del filosofo ossia
Composed in 1791 and headed for the boards in the new Haymarket Theatre, Orfeo was cancelled due to recurring arts-patron rivalry between George III and his son, the Prince of Wales. The King and the Prince supported rival opera houses and seasons. The Prince was a patron of the Haymarket, and George III took it upon himself to refuse to grant a performing license to the Haymarket’s manager, Sir John Gallini, effectively mothballing the production of Orfeo at the new theatre.
Deux Duos avec accompagnement de piano forte:
Saper vorrei se m’ami, HXXVa:1
Guarda qui, che lo vedrai, HXXVa:2
À Bonn : Chez N. Simrock., [1803 or 1804]
Stanford University Libraries, Memorial Library of Music, MLM 490
This pair of pastoral duets for soprano, tenor, and piano were composed in 1796, a highly productive year for Haydn. Other major works Haydn composed that year include the Trumpet Concerto, the Missa Sancti Bernardi de Offida (‘Heiligmesse’), and the Missa in tempore belli (‘Paukenmesse’). The librettist was Carlo Francesco Badini, whom Haydn met while in London. Badini worked for the Italian opera house, and also supplied the libretto to Haydn's last opera, L'anima del filosofo, ossia Orfeo ed Euridice.
Dernière sonate pour le piano forte, avec accompaniment de violon
À Paris : publiée par Naderman ; À Londres : par Clementi & Co., 
Stanford University Libraries, Memorial Library of Music, MLM 498
In advance of a visit to Paris in 1803, Prince Esterházy asked Haydn to compose a new piano sonata as a gift for Louise-Alexandrine-Eugénie Moreau, the French-Creole wife of the famous general Jean Victor Moreau, and hostess of an influential Paris salon. Haydn, pleading illness, sent instead a copy of the sonata for piano with violin and 'cello accompaniment (HXV:31) minus the somewhat superfluous ‘cello part. In an accompanying letter to Madame Moreau, Haydn apologizes for not composing something new, due to his failing health, and promises to fulfill his duties once he regains his strength.
Die Jahreszeiten (The Seasons)
Leipzig : Breitkopf & Härtel, 
Stanford University Libraries, Memorial Library of Music, MLM 494
Composition, performance and publication of The Seasons quickly followed the resounding success of The Creation. The libretto, also provided by Baron von Swieten, was a fragmented adaptation of James Thompson’s epic poem, first published in the 1730s and which enjoyed broad popularity at the end of the century. The private premiere took place at the Schwarzenberg Winter Palace on April 24, 1801, and the public premiere took place in the Redoutensaal at the Hofburg Palace, on May 29 of that same year.
Dr. Haydn's VI original canzonettas for the voice with an accompaniment for the Piano-Forte : dedicated to Mrs. John Hunter. London : Printed for the Author, & Sold by him at No. 1, Bury Street, St. James - at Messrs. Corri, Dussek & Co. Music Sellers to her Majesty, No. 7 Dean Street, Soho & Bridge Street, Edinburgh, [1794-1795]
Second sett of Dr. Haydn's VI original canzonettas : for the voice with an accompaniment for the piano forte / dedicated to the Right Honble. Lady Charlotte Bertie. London : Printed & sold for Messrs. Corri, Dussek & Co., [1795?]
What a time Haydn must have had during his London stays in the early 1790s! Already hailed as a great composer, and preceded by the performance and publication of numerous successful works including symphonies, string quartets, and works for keyboard, he was eagerly embraced by London society.
As reported in the Lady’s Magazine, January 1791:
“A remarkable circumstance happened this evening, in the ball-room at St. James's. Haydn, the celebrated composer, though he has not yet been introduced at our court, was recognised by all the royal family, and paid them his silent respects. Mr. Haydn came into the room with Sir John Gallini, Mr. Wills, and Mr. Salomon. The prince of Wales first observed him, and upon bowing to him, the eyes of all the company were upon Mr. Haydn, everyone paying him respect.”
Arianna a Naxos, Hob. XXVIb:2
London, Printed for the author , signed by the composer
Stanford University Libraries, Memorial Library of Music, MLM 489
Arianna a Naxos was first published by Artaria in Vienna in 1790, followed by this London edition printed for Haydn by John Bland and first offered for sale on June 10, 1791. Bland was instrumental in bringing Haydn to London, and provided Haydn’s first lodging there in January 1791. Bland had visited Haydn at Eszterháza. One day during Haydn’s grooming routine, he heard the composer complain about his dull razors. “I’d give my best quartet for a pair of good razors,” he exclaimed, upon which Bland raced back to his room, grabbed his new British razors, and presented them to Haydn. In exchange Bland received the manuscript for the Quartet, op. 55 No.2, the “Razor” Quartet. Or so the story goes. We do know that Bland took away the manuscript for Arianna and a contract to publish Haydn’s flute trios.
Staff at the Archive of Recorded Sound recently came across a particularly unusual item while unboxing and sorting the Denis Condon Collection of Reproducing Pianos and Rolls, part of the recently announced Player Piano Project here at Stanford.
This small roll, just 4.5 inches wide, was found among approximately 7500 of its larger brothers and sisters - the reproducing piano rolls that make up the Condon Collection. Following further research, it was discovered that this roll was designed for a toy, a type of player saxophone called the Playasax, produced by Q.R.S. Q.R.S are in fact the only surviving piano roll company still in existence today.