William Weber, “Haydn and the late French Enlightenment: how did a canon arise?”
[Unraised and unanswered question: what was/is a canon??].
Haydn’s prominence in 1780s Paris, Concerts Spirituels. French critics “canonized” him for a Stabat Mater as good as Pergolesi’s. (Pergolesi wasn’t in a “canon,” but several of his works were regarded as paradigmatic, standard-setting) Haydn’s reputation was promoted in the French press – part of the explosion of journalism in the 1770s- 80s. [mentions book on the French Press and the Enlightenment. Central periodical: Mercure de France]
Types of music journalism: Musical reports, musical polemics, musical education (none of these are exactly “criticism”).
Philosophes and anti-philosophes (?) New development: the philosophes positioned themselves as writing for posterity, not for contemporaries. Also, important for philosophes to assert own, independent opinions, not just report or echo public opinions – EVALUATIVE criticism. Philosophes wanted NEW topics and points of reference, rather than more familiar (operatic) ones like Gluck v Piccinni, Lully v Rameau, Rameau v Pergolesi, Gluck v Lully .. These “querelles” had all been debated to death by previous generations. Haydn was a new topic, a new musician, writing in new genres (symphony, quartet).
1773, 1778-on. Performances of Haydn symphonies, rising frequency; frequency of Stabat Mater. Haydn’s symphonies supplant French symphonies, too – proportion of French symphonies dropped during this period. Not clear WHICH Haydn symphonies were played in France (performance of “Farewell” is documented.) French preferred symphonies with a lot of solo writing; Weber suggests “La Tempesta” (no 8) with solo flute and violin. Chamber-like textures. French press praised Haydn for being delightful, entertaining, surprising. Canonic status secured by 1785; Paris symphonies (“The Bear,” “The Hen,” “The Clock” etc) commissioned 1786. [but what was “canonic status”?]
Pergolesi, Stabat Mater (1737) vs Haydn, Stabat Mater (1767). [Follow-up: see Bernard Harrison, Haydn: The ‘Paris’ Symphonies (Cambridge U Press, 1998): 9-12 for a discussion of Pergolesi’s and Haydn’s Stabat Mater settings]
Pergolesi’s setting was performed all over Europe – more popular & widely performed than his comic opera La Serva Padrona. Sacred music infused with ‘touching’ (even erotic) sensibility. Set for soprano + alto w string orchestra. [this piece = flashback to Salieri’s childhood in Amadeus!]
Haydn’s for SATB soloists + chorus; orchestra with oboes, louder, more energetic style. [The passages he quoted didn’t mention any musical details, passages, movements, phrases, or specific qualities. What were they responding to, beyond the obvious/superficial differences?]
[IS he mapping pro-Haydn enthusiasm onto philosophes and secularism, pro-Pergolesi onto Jesuits and Italian/Catholicism? Kind of lost thread there.]