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Joseph Haydn.

Joseph Haydn. 6 String Quartets, Opus 20, Hoboken III: 31-36. Edited by Simon Rowland-Jones; editorial consultant, David Ledbetter. Urtext. London: Edition Peters, c2001. [1 plate; pref. in Eng., Fr., Ger., p. v-xv; explanation of terms, p. xvi-xvii; references, p. xviii; score, 88 p.; crit. commentary, p. 89-101; and 4 parts. ISMN M-57708-356-8; ISBN 1-901507-21-1; Edition Peters no. 7594. $55.]

Joseph Haydn. 6 String Quartets, Opus 33, Hoboken III: 37-42. Edited by Simon Rowland-Jones; editorial consultant, David Ledbetter. Urtext. London: Edition Peters, c2002. [1 plate; pref., references in Eng., Fr., Ger., p. v-xxii; score, 78 p.; crit. commentary, p. 79-90; and 4 parts. ISMN M-57708-357-5; ISBN 1-901507-22-X; Edition Peters no. 7595. $55.]

Joseph Haydn. 6 String Quartets, Opus 50, Hoboken III: 44-49. Edited by Simon Rowland-Jones; editorial consultant, David Ledbetter. Urtext. London: Edition Peters, c2003. [1 plate; pref. in Eng., Fr., Ger., p. v-xxiv; references, p. xxv; opening dynamics, p. xxvi; score, 98 p.; crit. commentary, p. 99-110; and 4 parts. ISMN M-57708-463-3; Edition Peters no. 7615. $55.]

Joseph Haydn. Streichquartette "Opus 76," "Opus 77" und "Opus 103." Herausgegeben von Horst Walter mit Vorarbeiten von Lars Schmidt-Thieme. (Joseph Haydn Werke, ser. 12, vol. 6.) Munich: G. Henle Verlag, 2003. [Frontispiece (2 MS leaves from op. 103); Vorwort, p. vii-xvi; Zur Gestaltung der Ausgabe, p. xvii; score, p. 3-166; Anhang, p. 167-74; Krit. Bericht, p. 175-227. Cloth: HN 5342, [euro]165; paper: HN 5341, [euro]156.]

Although this is not spelled out by means of a general series preface, the new Peters editions of Joseph Haydn's opus 20, 33, and 50 string quartets are meant above all for the performer. Yet whereas such performing editions of old took for granted their right to alter and add to previous texts without troubling the player, times have changed, and editor Simon Rowland-Jones shows far greater care. Thus while his brief is clearly to offer explicit and full indications for the practicing musician, he also presents an extensive critical commentary for these quartets that tracks most of the editorial decisions based on the sources at hand. Editorial brackets generally appear only when dynamic levels are suggested at the start of a movement. In most other circumstances a novel system of six numerical categories alerts players to editorial intervention by placing numbers at the relevant spots in the score (and, importantly, in the individual parts). Separate listings in each movement's critical report then elucidate these emendations by dividing them into categories of general (covering such matters as varying tempo indications and fingerings), variants of pitch and duration, slurs and ties, staccato marks, ornaments, and dynamics.

One can only applaud any attempt to make the details of the editorial process more approachable and to tempt players into consulting the back pages. Even reputable ensembles may still be playing from comfortable older editions despite the availability of several better, more recent alternatives. There are the editions by Reginald Barrett-Ayres and H. C. Robbins Landon published by Doblinger (op. 20: Diletto musicale, 722-27 [Vienna, 1981-87; reissued as set, 1995, Diletto musicale, 988]; op. 33: Diletto musicale, 728-33 [1988; reissued as set, 1995, Diletto musicale, 989]; op. 50: Diletto musicale, 735-40 [1985; reissued as set, 1989, Diletto musicale, 990]), likewise available as scores and parts; and for opus 20 and 33, there is, supremely, the edition in the Joseph Haydn Werke edited by Georg Feder and Sonja Gerlach (ser. 12, vol. 3 [Munich: G. Henle, 1974]), but performance parts remain unavailable. In the case of opus 50, however, we still await the verdict from the Werke; when published, the volume covering opus 42, 50, 54, and 55 will conclude the series of quartets in the complete edition. While the Doblinger edition of opus 50 was able to incorporate information based on the rediscovery of the autographs of nos. 3-6 in 1982, it was a somewhat partial incorporation after the edition had essentially been prepared, with many details not adjusted when they might have been. The new Peters set certainly does better justice to the revelations contained in the autographs and represents the best edition currently available.

In other respects, too, Rowland-Jones's 2003 edition of opus 50 heads the pack. Compared to his preceding editions of opus 20 (2001) and 33 (2002), the presentation of the opus 50 volume is more thoughtful. It is the first to contain bibliographical details for the Eulenburg scores (edited by Wilhelm Altmann) and old Peters editions (Samtliche 83 Quartette, edited by Andreas Moser and Hugo Dechert) first published in the 1890s and referred to throughout all three volumes as secondary sources; it is the first to preface the first page of full score with a summary of editorial policy, including our six categories, as an attempt to catch the attention of those players who have skipped over the editorial preliminaries. Above all, it is the most polished of the three new Peters editions. The opus 20 volume in particular is marked by too many errors, omissions, and inconsistencies (for instance, the "Slurs" section of the critical report for the slow movement of opus 20, no. 2, begins with three consecutive entries that contain wrong measure or note numbers), although they are more often slips in presentation than of conception. There are, however, some problems that pertain to all three editions. Inconsistencies in the indication of crossed slurs offer one particular example, but a broader difficulty relates to the separate-category treatment of movements within the critical commentary. While this can work very nicely for tracing variants of dynamics or ornaments between sources, the separation of slurs from staccato marks is less happy. Since often the two types of articulation occur in close proximity and are musically linked, it is frustrating to be told about the source for a slur in one place, only to have to wait to discover the origins of a neighboring series of staccato indications. Putting such divided information together necessitates some intricate cross-referencing on the part of the reader. A further difficulty is that we are generally not informed about alternative readings in the sources aside from those chosen for the edition, presumably to avoid making the critical apparatus too forbidding. These omissions seem particularly unhelpful in the case of those quartets for which autographs are extant but the editor prefers the version found in another source (opus 20 and the final four works of opus 50).

On the other hand, Rowland-Jones makes many admirable and bold decisions, especially concerning articulation. All of his sources, quite typically for the time, present many uncertainties about the extent of slurs. Further, the absence of markings from a unit previously associated with a particular articulation might imply either the understood continuation of that pattern or a legitimate variant of it (given that the lack of slurs can of course itself determine a form of bowing). One instance where Rowland-Jones prefers the latter interpretation is found in the first movement of opus 50, no. 5, in the unmarked first violin figure at mm. 136-37, "which seems to imply a spiky effect here, followed by a slurred one in bars 139 and 141" as the previous pattern is restored (edition, p. viii). And this editor is also prepared to consider the case for simultaneous variety of articulation, as in the finale of opus 20, no. 2, where on several occasions in Haydn's autograph the articulation of two-note slur plus staccato note in the chromatic descent within the fugal first subject is met by a three-note slur in another part. The Haydn complete edition leans on the evidence of other sources in soberly tidying up these discrepancies; Rowland-Jones allows them to stand. Rather more problematic, however, is his rationale for such decisions, generally leaning on notions of "deliberate variants" and "intentions." On principle, one might object to such formulations--for instance to the reasoning that grants plausible variants the honor of stemming from the composer while discarding less appealing ones as accidents of transmission. Yet, even leaving this aside, the particular source situation almost always mutes any confidence about making such sharp distinctions. Nevertheless, on a larger scale, not just in Haydn's quartet output but in much of the music of the eighteenth century altogether, there is abundant evidence that variety in the delivery of material was a fundamental desideratum. We certainly still have a long way to go before there is any general acceptance of the importance of a highly differentiated and varied "speaking" articulation to much of the music of this time. This may be above all because we still tend to conceive and hear the musical materials of the era too much in thematic terms and not enough according to more rhetorical or speech-like models, thus promoting a preference for uniformity of execution (and of appearance on the page) over varied delivery. And, further, if we are prepared to grant a sense of conversational interchange to Haydn's quartets, why should this apply only to thematic units? Why not also a dialogue (or polyphony) of articulation? Rowland-Jones's willingness to allow "discrepancies" to stand, and to explain them, even if in sometimes flawed terms, is heartening. By taking such matters seriously, a recent recording by The Lindsays of opus 50 (ASV Gold GLD4007-8 [2004], 2 CDs), based on this new edition, demonstrates that they can indeed translate into the musical real world, creating what Rowland-Jones at one point calls "tension and energy" in performance (edition, p. viii).

The liveliness with which the editor attacks these issues is mirrored in the tone of all three prefaces. Aside from offering excellent distilled advice on such concerns as the execution of short appoggiaturas and tempo character, Rowland-Jones also contributes some broader thoughts that deserve future following up. There is an intriguing paragraph on the use of acciaccaturas in opus 33 in general and opus 33, no. 3, in particular, citing examples from Haydn's vocal works that show that their expressive import need not only be comic. He also proposes that we think of the four instruments of the ensemble as potential characters in a literary sense. In the famous opening measures of opus 33, no. 1, for example, after the two violins "begin cheerfully in what sounds like D major," the cello's entry, if hardly in the "unambiguous B minor" that Rowland-Jones describes, seems to characterize it as a "melancholy (misanthropic?) voice [that] gradually influences the other instruments" until the true tonic of B minor is firmly established (edition, p. vi). Also in this preface Rowland-Jones suggests we might reinterpret the word "besonder[er]" contained in the celebrated slogan applied by Haydn to this set of quartets, "von einer Neu, gantz besonderer Art." Normally understood to mean "special" as part of the standard translation "in an entirely new and special way," the word might also connote "unusual" or even "exquisite" (p. v), placing the composer's own portrayal of the set in a different light.

One of the most interesting aspects of the edition of opus 20, on the other hand, lies in details given in the critical commentary of the Artaria edition of these quartets issued in 1800-1801, apparently "revised and corrected" by the composer. Rowland-Jones finds that its preponderance of slurred bowings and many extra dynamic markings obscure "Haydn's highly articulated style" (edition, p. v), such indications being more redolent of a general early-nineteenth-century manner. He does not entertain the idea that such a revision, whether substantially deriving from the composer or not, has its own kind of "authenticity," and indeed the comparisons are as instructive as they are in the case of Muzio Clementi's revised editions of many of his earlier keyboard works. In both cases one of the strongest trends is toward "legato-ization," which includes cases where an original pair of repeated notes in the quartets is replaced by a tie between the two. The growing preference for smoothness of contour that this exemplifies, a move away from precisely our "speaking" articulation, is matched in other parameters. Crescendo and decrescendo markings in these revised editions frequently mediate the originally abrupt changes of dynamic level, although we must allow for the possibility that the notation is simply becoming more specific, that it spells out what players could once intuit. The same might also be said for another trend, toward heavier expressive underlining. In mm. 30 and 88 of the slow movement of opus 20, no. 1, at the moment when the restrained chorale texture of all four instruments playing continuously is broken by a brief soliloquy for the first violin, the original rhythm of two sixteenth notes is replaced in the revised edition by a dotted sixteenth followed by a thirty-second note. This creates a pronounced leaning on the first note, an appoggiatura, and so renders it more "moving." While this might reflect a different stance toward the creation of expressive affect, enforcing qualities that were once left more at the discretion of the performer, it might also simply be incorporating a likely element of performance practice.

Yet, for reasons explained at the start of this review, it is Rowland-Jones's edition of opus 50 that must be of the most vital interest. Doblinger, by way of comparison, does not show properly the extraordinary linking of minuet with trio in opus 50, no. 5. The current edition, however, reflects faithfully the autograph's maintenance of an F-major key signature for the trio. This section also begins with a unison statement of the opening figure from the minuet, rendering the sudden swerve into F minor all the more startling. This makes the autograph's lack of repeat marks for the first section, which finishes in the relative major of [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], logical, given the awkwardness of a return from that key to the apparent F major of the opening.

Curiously enough, such unexpected transitions between minuet and trio are also among the revelations contained in the new Henle edition of the quartets opus 76, 77, and 103, edited by Horst Walter. This is especially the case with opus 76, no. 2, where Haydn directs that the trio should begin with octave Ds in the two violins at the very point where the octave Ds in viola and cello complete the canon of the minuet; the two beats of silence found in the Doblinger and Eulenburg editions at this point are incorrect. It is fascinating to trace, through the compendious critical report found at the back of this volume, the "freezing" of such details through later editions, quite often originating in a contemporaneous source but not necessarily that which is now judged the most authoritative. (The critical report helpfully marks with an asterisk those entries detailing readings that would be handed down in this way.) And some of the readings given in this new edition really do go against the grain of the received tradition. The most striking of these involves the absence of an appoggiatura in the theme of the variations on "Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser," the second movement of opus 76, no. 3, at the very apex of the theme in the first violin (on the downbeat of m. 13, repeated again at m. 17). Without this resolving dissonance, the melody really does seem to contain a gaping hole, and the older, established version will take some unlearning.

Another unsettling difference is found in the "Alternativo" (trio) of opus 76, no. 6. The rising and falling octave scales upon which this section is built, in a consistent half-note, quarter-note rhythm, are articulated in the first Artaria edition of 1799 by slurs covering each individual measure. This reading then found its way into the received tradition, and we are used to hearing these slurs quite distinctly played, creating a dance-like gait that underpins the composer's display of mock-species counterpoint. But the Johann ElBler copy of opus 76 taken by Walter as his primary source contains no trace of these slurs. Perhaps, as Walter hints at the end of his entry on the subject (p. 202), such slurs were in any case meant to betoken a wider-ranging legato, which would produce yet another effect, again unsettling when we have been conditioned to hear the slurred pairs as intrinsic to the music's expressive identity. Certainly there are a number of cases elsewhere (for example in the Trio of opus 76, no. 2) where Walter interprets irregular patterns of slurs covering a whole passage not so much as a literal injunction but as a means of encouraging a super-legato execution. Indeed, many scholars and performers will be surprised by just how unstable many textual details of these very mainstream works actually are; this covers such matters as Haydn's use of the mark >, which may not always carry its modern meaning of an accent and may sometimes be read instead as a decrescendo sign. The opening of opus 76, no. 5 exemplifies this editorial problem.

Given such uncertainties, and given the necessarily conservative brief of such an important collected edition, it is perhaps not surprising that the occasional leaps of faith undertaken by Simon Rowland-Jones are less in evidence in the Henle publication. A simple example is the omission of the slur found in m. 4 of the viola part in the Poco adagio variations of opus 76, no. 3, in the first Vienna, London, and Paris editions. This is left out, according to the relevant entry, because of the "strong caesura" (starken Zasur) at this point of the music (p. 194)--the slur joins the viola's last note of the first four-measure phrase unit with the first note of the next four-measure unit. Nevertheless, this detail could also be defended on the grounds of musical sense, as an articulative counterweight to the square syntax of the tune and indeed as a sonorous link between its phrases: the other instruments, lacking any equivalent slur, will naturally shape off their final note of the first phrase before its full half-note duration. Yet it is of course the exemplary laying-out of evidence in this edition that allows us to conduct such a debate in the first place. And a welcome bonus in this edition lies in the transcription of sketches that may have been meant for a movement or movements to complete opus 103, left as a two-movement torso when the inexhaustible Haydn was finally exhausted.


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Title Annotation:6 String Quartets, Opus 20, Hoboken III: 31-36; 6 String Quartets, Opus 33, Hoboken III: 37-42; 6 String Quartets, Opus 50, Hoboken III: 44-49
Author:Sutcliffe, W. Dean
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Dec 1, 2005
Previous Article:Kurt Weill.
Next Article:Music received.

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