You can’t put Haydn in a box.
You can’t put Bach in a box either, because he’ll find a way to squirm out of it — those endlessly growing and weaving themes, you know, but Haydn is more deceptive.
Because he worked during that eighteenth century movement of reaction and refinement, you might think it would be easy to shove him into a box that would tell you everything about him.
But no. He is too unpredictable, too full of surprises, too quick with sleight of hand. He takes you to unexpected places, makes you wait, teases you with tense dissonances and embellishments. Oh, and those rubatos. Yes, he plays with time, too.
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In 2001, I had the privilege of living overseas. When I returned, the first question many friends and acquaintances asked was, “What are the people there like?”
I suppose it was a natural…
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