Tuesday, October 6, 2020

"Papa Haydn" or "Papa Bach"

 So a cultural diversion from all the current shouting.  Was it "Papa Haydn" or "Papa Bach"? And if the latter, which one, hint, probably not the more famous Johann Sebastian.

So Franz Josef Haydn (1732-1809) gets called that as he largely invented the modern form of the string quartet and the symphony (of which he composed 104), starting in the late 1750s as he held positions with various aristocratic families, following a youth in which he suffered extreme poverty and serious malnutrition.  He also codified the sonata allegro form, which, would along with firmly establishing modern keys, would become the basis by the 1780s when he completed his musical form innovations the classical form of classical music, aided by his younger friend, W.A. Mozart (1756-1791), with whom he played string quartets in Vienna and who got him into the premier masonic lodge of the city. This standard of composition would be the form that later composers would rebel and modify and extend and finally completely overthrow over the next century and a half, starting with Haydn's student, Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) and arguably culminating with the total serialism of Elliott Carter in the mid-20th century.

However, it turns out that Haydn was deeply influenced by a particular composer, one who actually invented the sonata allegro form in particular.  That was Karl Philip Emmanuel Bach (1714-1788), whose manuscripts Haydn studied deeply during the 1760s as he developed his own style while working as Kappellmeister for the Estrhazy family from 1761 until his death, although he composed nothing after 1805 due to illness, the year Beethoven invented Romantic music with his Eroica Sympnyony No. 3, beginning the long deviation from Papa Haydn's standard.  K.P.E. Bach was the oldest son of J.S. Bach (1685-1750) and was long at the Court of Frederick the Great in Berlin, until moving in 1764 to Hamburg to replace his late godfather, Philip Telemann in a position there.

In his lifetime KPE Bach was far more well known and renowned than his father.  Both Haydn and Mozart were crucially influenced by him.  It was Mozart who recognized this by calling him "Papa Bach."  However, in the 19th century, Mendelsohn would revive interest in his father, who is now much better known.

Barkley Rosser


Kaleberg said...

I was always told Haydn was called "Papa" because he wrote a lot of simple melodies that were great for students just learning an instrument.

Peter Dorman said...

Not sure about the papa stuff, although Mozart gave us (ahem) Papageno and Papagena. (That pun is for the birds.)

The transition to romanticism in music is rather more protracted than just blossoming forth in a single symphony, even though the Eroica was quite a leap. There are pages in some of Beethoven's early piano sonatas in particular that look ahead. In fact, CPE Bach's own keyboard music shows remarkable proto-romantic inclinations ("affekt"). The recently released posthumous Peter Serkin box is well worth hearing. Indeed, the recitative as it came down from baroque opera and sacred music often sounds precursorish as well.

In that context I am just starting to listen to the new recordings of Zalenka's sacred music performed by Viktora et al., not released in the US as far as I know. This is incredible stuff. He goes into harmonic regions in some of his fugues that look ahead to someone like Busoni, and there's no shortage of drama. Not quite the tunesmith that JS Bach was, but you could say the same for almost anyone else.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

You are right, Peter, that Beethoven had some premonitions in some piano pieces, but the Erioca is certainly a strong statement. Ironically it was first performed in 1805, the year that the last piece by Haydn was published, an only two movement string quartet he was unable to complete.

Funny you call him "CPE" Bach. This is a sign of how ignored he has been. I note you do not call him "Carl Marx."

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

And my wife, Marina, whom Peter knows, points out that one can see hints of Romanticism and breaking Haydn's rules in some of his late music, notably his final symphonies and the Requiem.

OTOH, the first movement of Beethoven's First Symphony could easily have been composed by Haydn, even though one can hear that it is indeed Beehthoven's.

marcel proust said...

I am pretty sure you are wrong about KPE Bach being "Papa" Bach; rather it was PDQ Bach, whose full name was Papa Don't Quit Bach because he sired even more children than his father.

Peter Dorman said...

This is *very* nitpicky, but in his own day CPE was known as Emanuel Bach, just as his dad was called Sebastian.

And yes, there are some emotionally probing passages in Haydn that argue against a sudden transition, and not only in his late works. His F minor variations are interesting in that respect -- I suppose you could say it's fairly late. But one is often struck by moments of deep reflection in his earlier output. Mozart too is often very emotionally expressive, although sometimes it seems as if, as a man of the theater, he is portraying the expression of an emotion rather than the emotion itself. (We are talking about someone who all but ignored the death of his father but put on an elaborate funeral for a bird.)

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

Actually I meant to say "Mozart" when noting the composer who pushed Haydn's system in his late works, not Haydn himself, although his works from the 1790s are his deepest and most profound.

I love PDQ Bach. My late sister actually knew Peter Schickele at Swarthmore as an undergrad.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

As for "CPE" vs "KPE," Peter has spent a lot of time in Germany, so should know better, and that he went by "Emmanuel" does not make it any more inaccurate to change that K to a C.

I also agree with Peter that KPE himself already in some respects "moved beyond" his follower, Haydn, and some of his best works are symphonies.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

(Fiddling while Rome burns?)

Powell Warns of Prolonged Economic Pain Without Help as Trump Calls Off Stimulus Talks

NY Times – October 6

Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, argued that it was better to overdo the pandemic policy response to avert “tragic” fallout than to undershoot.

WASHINGTON — Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, delivered a blunt message to Congress and the White House on Tuesday: Faced with a once-in-a-century pandemic that has inflicted economic pain on millions of households, go big.

Hours later, President Trump delivered his own message: Forget it.

In a series of conflicting tweets, the president said the economy was “doing very well” and coming back “in record numbers,” suggesting that no additional help was needed while also saying that he would wait until after the election to “pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business.”

While the chances of Congress reaching a deal on another package were already slim, Mr. Trump’s directive sent markets swooning as the reality sank in that the economic recovery, which is slowing, would not get another jolt before Nov. 3. The S&P 500 fell more than 1 percent soon after Mr. Trump’s tweet, after having been higher in the moments before.

In deciding to forego any more immediate relief, Mr. Trump could be setting the economy up for the type of painful and “tragic” outcome that Mr. Powell warned about on Tuesday. The Fed chair, who has increasingly called for more government help, said policymakers should err on the side of injecting too much money into the economy rather than too little.

“Too little support would lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship for households and businesses,” Mr. Powell said in remarks before the National Association for Business Economics.

“Over time, household insolvencies and business bankruptcies would rise, harming the productive capacity of the economy and holding back wage growth,” he said. “By contrast, the risks of overdoing it seem, for now, to be smaller.” ...

US economy without more stimulus is nearing a dangerous ‘tipping point.’

NY Times – October 7

Here is the situation the U.S. economy faces, with a month to go before Election Day: Job growth is stalling. Layoffs are mounting. And no more help is coming. ...

Stock indexes, which had risen in recent days on signs that negotiations might be making progress, dropped sharply after Mr. Trump’s announcement. Several major Wall Street banks had said in recent days that they would downgrade their growth forecasts if talks stalled.

Mr. Trump may have been listening. In a series of tweets late Tuesday, he urged both houses of Congress to “IMMEDIATELY” revive a lapsed loan program for small businesses and to approve funds for airlines and another round of stimulus checks. It remained unclear if his tweets reflected a willingness to restart negotiations.

The gridlock in Washington is a reversal from the spring, when fear of an imminent economic collapse led Congress to vote overwhelmingly to approve trillions of dollars in aid to households and businesses. The effort was largely successful: Households began spending again, companies began bringing back workers, and a predicted tidal wave of evictions and foreclosures mostly failed to materialize. The unemployment rate, which reached nearly 15 percent in April, fell to 7.9 percent in September.

But most of the aid programs expired over the summer, and in recent weeks economic gains have faltered. Economists across the ideological spectrum agree that the loss of momentum is likely to get worse if more aid doesn’t arrive soon. …

Fred C. Dobbs said...

'Peter Schickele' (aka PDQ Bach) - what a guy!

I am privileged to live not too far from the notorious
conductor & PDQ-pal Newton Wayland, who has his own
exit on Route 128 (aka I-95 these days).

(Newton & Wayland both being nearby towns.)

Newton Wayland was in fact a real, illustrious
conductor of various classical pop orchestras,
including the Boston Pops, back in the day.

March of the Two left Feet https://youtu.be/Pr39l8c0O0c via @YouTube