Once upon a time, I had a very long conversation with a guy who knew Haydn personally.
Or that’s what it felt like.
And if you go over to Mike McCaffrey’s website, Haydn Seek, (he calls it a blog, but it’s really a treasure trove of historical information and reference about Haydn, as if …. as if history is still happening and he’s recording it in real time), check out some of his articles, even if you’re entirely unfamiliar with the music, read an article or two, and then go listen; see if you don’t hear it differently.
It was about six months ago that we chatted, and it was a very long conversation, and only how have we gotten to the ‘end’ (even though I’ve saved a few snippets here and there for use later maybe in an ‘unreleased footage’ episode. We shall see.), and this episode has some really wonderful highlights.
When did the classical era (according to some) begin? What is the historical value of Haydn’s earliest quartets? What was Haydn’s daily routine like? What about his brother Michael Haydn? We talk about all these things, and more, and Mike mentions, sort of in passing, “one of the mysteries of the musical canon,” so keep your ears peeled for that.
Perhaps the most stick-with-you point of the whole episode, if I had to pick one, is how we should go about listening to Haydn. I asked Mike a few questions that prompted his statements in this regard, feeling like perhaps my treatment of some of the earliest Haydn symphonies and quartets was dismissive at best, but he makes a very strong argument for their importance, as well as how a listener, even a novice listener or newbie, should approach them.
I know that I begin the article by talking about the ‘early Haydn quartets’ and that the music that plays isn’t one of those early quartets, but I hope you enjoy the snippets of ‘the lark’ that grace this episode. I’d like to do more fancy post-production if time allows… so please go listen to this episode, go check out his website, linked above, and if you haven’t, go back and listen to the previous episodes, pick up any of the albums Mike references on his website, and go start enjoying.
Also, if you are enjoying the podcast, please share with your friends or family or teachers or bus driver or dentist or music educator; I put a lot of work into this little show, chat with amazing people, and I would like more people to hear it. I also have some wonderful episodes coming up, so do stay tuned, and spread the word. Thank you.