PPP1502DL M. Haydn/W. A. Mozart: Romance in A-flat major

PPP1502 Romance DOWNLOAD.jpg
PPP1502 Romance in Ab - score.jpg
PPP1502 Romance DOWNLOAD.jpg
PPP1502 Romance in Ab - score.jpg

PPP1502DL M. Haydn/W. A. Mozart: Romance in A-flat major

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Michael Haydn’s (1737–1806) Romance in A flat major for horn and string quartet poses many questions. It is instantly identifiable as a version of the slow movement of Mozart’s Horn Concerto in E-flat major, KV447. Which of the two works came first is hard to say. The Mozart concerto was first published by Johann Anton André (Offenbach am Main) in 1800 and André’s handwritten date of 1783 can still be seen on the manuscript housed in the British Library. More recent studies of the manuscript paper have suggested a later date of 1787. Haydn’s Romance is thought to date from 1794 and was first published in 1802. However, there are some slight peculiarities about both works that suggest it may not be as simple as it first seems as each work contains passages that are hard to conceive of having been composed without knowledge of the other’s version. 

Mozart and Michael Haydn were great friends – to the extent that Mozart helped Haydn out in 1783 by ‘ghost writing’ a set of violin and viola duets that the Archbishop of Salzburg had commissioned from Haydn, and which he, due to illness, had been unable to complete. Other Mozart works, such as the Symphony No. 37 in G major, KV444/425a are, in fact, works by Michael Haydn with some changes by Mozart. One plausible explanation may be that Haydn had also been required to write a horn concerto and, having completed the slow movement, was unable to fulfil the commission and passed the job on to his friend, only to later return to his earlier sketches and complete the work with his original intentions. The main theme of the Romance is in many ways more stately and noble than Mozart’s version. The gentle, benevolent atmosphere is eventually shattered with a turbulent passage for the strings alone. However this is a passing storm, and the entrance of the horn brings with it a welcome return to calm. 

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