- Also check our best rated Biography reviews
The Faber Pocket Guide to Haydn Paperback – 22 Jan 2009
|New from||Used from|
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
`The latest in Faber's excellent Pocket Guide series celebrates the life and work of the composer Joseph Haydn on the 200th anniversary of his death. The epitome of classical structure and restraint, this is an excellent guide to Haydn's music.' -- Choice
'A browsable pleasure in every way.....excellent layout and print quality too.' -- Classic FM Magazine
'Richard Wigmore manages to insinua te an elegant sentence of evocative adjective about virtually every significant item in [Haydn's] catalogue...vividly knits together the available evidence, judiciously assessing Haydn's character and motivation...One of the virtues of this useful handbook is to stimulate interest in lesser-known works'. -- BBC Music Magazine
'What makes [The Faber Pocket Guide to Haydn] invaluable is the fact that [Richard Wigmore] comments on virtually all the music, genre by genre, with a remarkably judicious blend of insight and judgement...With this book to hand every listener will be able to navigate his way safely through one of the most prodigious compositional outputs ever committed to paper...his music is life-enhancement made manifest.' -- Gramophone
`With each new release, Faber's enterprising pocket guide series is growing into an invaluable library. Compact, concise, and crammed with information, these conveniently sized volumes offer more than mere introductions to their subjects. Both these new offerings are models of rich but lightly worn scholarship. Richard Wigmore may stretch to breaking point the notions of `compact' and `concise' with his near-400 pages but it seems unlikely that a better or more readable one-volume book on Haydn will appear in this 200th anniversary year of his death. Edward Blakeman's Handel is an eloquent example of pouring quarts into pint pots and underpinned by an obvious enthusiasm for the subject. ... While the tone is approachable and jargon-free, the arguments are commendably well researched and argued, achieving a reach that is comprehensive and encyclopaedic - surprisingly, but satisfyingly so, given the limitations of space. What especially appeals here is how often Blakeman and Wigmore send the reader scuttling off to his record collection to test a particular claim, to be reminded in sound as well as words of a marvellous work, or to encounter something new. In that, both authors deliver in happy abundance. ... These are perfect concert companions and will please the novice and aficionado alike.' -- Michael Quinn, Classical Music
'Richard Wigmore manages to insinua te an elegant sentence of evocative adjective about virtually every significant item in [Haydn's] catalogue...vividly knits together the available evidence, judiciously assessing Haydn's character and motivation...One of the virtues of this useful handbook is to stimulate interest in lesser-known works'.See all Product description
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
To allay any raised eyebrows for the award of “only” FOUR stars for this excellent book on Haydn, I should explain that this is because there is no general index of names and subject matter. There is, however, a comprehensive index of Haydn’s works grouped in categories. Admittedly a fully comprehensive index for a book of this stature (don’t be fooled by the word “pocket” it comprises 388 pages), I do feel an index in some form or other is essential in order to do the book and its reader’s full justice.
This edition was first published in 2009 the year in which we celebrated the 200th anniversary of Haydn’s death. It more than compensates for the long overdue update in the J.M. Dent Master Musicians Series that was last represented in 1974 and authored by Rosemary Hughes.
Early on under the section “Haydn in 2009”, page 12, Wigmore cites the original author in the Dent series, J. Cuthbert Hadden (1902, 1911 & 1923 rev. 1934), as an illustration of a Haydn gross misconception. We quote from that book by Hadden ourselves, thus from the final page (183) of the main text ‘That he was not deep, that he does not speak a message of the inner life to the latter-day individual, who, in the Ossianic phrase, likes to indulge in “the luxury of grief,” must, of course, be admitted.’
But, then, Hughes herself could also be said to “miss the point” at times. Her comments on the Capriccio movement from Symphony No. 86, and her low rating for the penultimate Mass, Schopfungmesse, for example. As Hans Keller puts it in his 260 page “The Great Haydn Quartets”, ‘A single little phrase in her BBC Music Guide to the quartets (1966) proves Rosemary Hughes an outsider . . .’
Even some of Wigmore’s Haydn champions could also let the side down, for example in Donald Tovey. From Essays and Lectures on Music (1949) Tovey demotes the E flat String Quartet Op. 76/6 to little more than unfolding like “peeling an union”! Wigmore himself, on the other hand, lists this quartet as among his “Top 20” Haydn compositions. And those of us who have shouldered a fiddle or positioned a cello between the open legs, would have to rate this quartet as “way ahead of its time”.
Even more telling comes a remark from the great Haydn scholar and author of the massive Haydn Chronicle and works in FIVE volumes (1977-94). Landon has this in the Preface to his “Mozart’s 1791 Last Year” ‘Haydn, Mozart’s greatest contemporary, has often been compared to his younger colleague, generally to Haydn’s disadvantage. This is because Haydn’s music has something very self-contained about it; he does not invite you to share in his problems because he has reduced these problems to a brilliant intellectual tour de force. His great quartets, symphonies, and religious music unfold before us like a pageant which we watch with fascination which does not necessarily require our personal participation, our immediate emotional involvement. With Mozart, on the other hand, the relationship is entirely different: he invites us to share his emotional world . . .’ and so on and so forth.
Whether Landon came to revise his opinion on this point we shall never know. All I would remark is that whereas Haydn had to struggle in his early career in order to survive in body and mind, gaining his reputation through hard slog, Mozart was a cosseted child prodigy paraded before the world by a doting father.
Please, do not take this the wrong way; I am a devoted Mozartian in addition to being a champion of Haydn, but to compare the creations from these two great composers in terms of pure merit is in my opinion both irrational and pointless.
And so, I am not in the business of making apologies for any lack of appreciation and understanding of Haydn by the general listening public and musicians alike; that is their loss not Haydn’s.
Wigmore gives us Haydn: the Life pages 24 to 94. The rest of the book is taken up with descriptive text for the music itself, grouped according to genre. For example, the symphonies and string quartets etc are treated in groups in chronological order. Both works for solo keyboard and for keyboard, violin and cello get fair treatment that does something to compensate for their neglect by performers generally even today.
The short section at the end of the book Haydn on CD gives some useful pointers but the dedicated Haydn listener will not need to be coaxed in the direction of the internet for a comprehensive range of recordings.
In the same Faber series to date the other music composers featured are Bach, Handel and Mozart.
Don’t be put off by the cover caricature of the Composer.
The first, and main feature, this guide is lacking is a complete listing of catalogue numbers for Haydn's works (or even the ones covered in the guide, which I think is most but not necessarily all of them). The Hoboken catalogue is the standard one used for Haydn, and I'm fairly sure that it covers all his work. Hoboken numbers are given in the guide for many of the works, doubtless including all the ones that need the number for precise identification, but I would prefer not to have to look to external sources to find out, for example, that the Creation oratorio is Hob. XXI/2 or to discover the Hoboken numbers of the string quartets (even if they are more usually referred to by Opus numbers, which are given in the guide) or the fact that the traditional numbering of the symphonies (which comes from an earlier catalogue and doesn't accurately represent their chronology) is reflected in their Hoboken catalogue numbering (e.g. Symphony No. 92 is Hob. I/92).
The other feature of Kenyon's guides that I found useful and was disappointed not to find in Wigmore's was a system for indicating particularly noteworthy pieces. Kenyon uses a star rating system (from 1 to 4 stars in increasing order of notability) for works that he feels are especially worth checking out. Although it is obviously somewhat subjective, it is a useful aid for someone wanting to plot a route into discovering more of the music of the composers represented in the guides (which, presumably, is the main reason why you'd buy the book in the first place), so I was somewhat disappointed to find that Wigmore has no such system. To be fair, he does give a top 20 of his favourite Haydn pieces and a list of selected recordings which could serve a similar purpose.
In addition to the details about Haydn's compositions (which form the bulk of the book) there are several other sections, including a 50-page biographical sketch of the composer, a short chronology of his life and a set of quotes about him from other people).
If you love Haydn, you will love Mr Wigmore's book - highly recommended.
Most recent customer reviews