HAYDN’S EXTRAORDINARY ORATORIO, THE SEASONS, FIRST EDITION OF THE PIANO-VOCAL SCORE IN ORIGINAL PUBLISHER’S WRAPPERS
HAYDN, Franz Joseph. Piano-vocal score. ["Die Jahreszeiten von Joseph Haydn. Klavierauszug" (The Seasons)]. Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, no date . Oblong quarto, original printed orange paper wrappers sympathetically respined. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. $5000.
First edition of the piano-vocal score, variant issue, of Hayden's bold secular oratorio, the follow-up to The Creation, with engraved title page and publisher’s advertisements, in original paper wrappers.
"The unprecedented success of The Creation led to a second collaboration between Haydn and his librettist van Swieten in The Seasons… From the beginning of the Vivace in the introduction to 'Spring' it is clear that the character is different. In the depiction of morning and noon in 'Summer' there is something of the ethereal character of The Creation, but otherwise the many brilliant scenes are mostly tableaux of everyday country life… the combination of solo or ensemble with chorus is used here too, with fine effect, as in the brilliant depiction of sunrise in 'Summer' and the monumental final chorus in 'Winter.' But no less impressive are the very different hunting-chorus and drinking-chorus in 'Autumn,' which seem to bring to life Brueghel's paintings of peasant conviviality" (New Grove, VIII: 359). Haydn wrote The Seasons during the twilight of his career. Struggling with failing memory and increasing physical frailty, he often lamented the difficult process that went into its composition and despaired of completing it. "Perhaps the greatest miracle of the oratorio is therefore that it provides virtually no evidence of the increasing frailty and exhaustion of its composer. Quite the reverse… the sheer energy and vitality of the writing leave the astonished commentator groping for descriptive powers to come anywhere close to an understanding of how this music could have been written by a man complaining of fading powers" (Robins, Goldberg Early Music Magazine). Typeset music with engraved title page. Of the three editions published in 1802, this Breitkopf edition is the most authentic; Haydn had specifically promised the printing of the score to Breitkopf in 1801. This copy is the variant issue with the text in German and French (published simultaneously with the German-English edition). With 2-1/2 pages of publisher's ads at back. Robbins-Landon V: 123. Hoboken II: 59.
Occasional light foxing to music text, fragile paper wrappers in excellent condition.