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Oxford Composer Companions: Haydn Paperback – June 22, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This encyclopedia on Haydn's life, works, and influence could provide the basis for a Hollywood biopic on the composer, whose music-along with Mozart's and Beethoven's-defines an era. Jones (music, Univ. of Wales) presents more than 900 authoritative, accessible articles by 41 contributors on the surroundings (Eszterh za, Vienna), people (family, teachers, composers, performers, patrons), in-the-air ideas (Josephinism, Freemasonry), and musical genres (mass, quartet, symphony) that informed the composer, along with entries on his compositions and the long-range influence of his inventions (on everything from Brahms to the name of a pastry). Within an article, a word may be printed in small capital letters, indicating that it has a separate entry. Two useful appendixes list Haydn's works (with nicknames-Surprise!-and a key to how the works are listed in New Grove) and give text incipits to vocal works cross-referenced to the Hoboken catalog. Though an index would have been preferable, a "Thematic Overview" helps locate entries of like nature, e.g., "Catalogues, Diaries and Iconography" (five entries), "Structures and Style [of Haydn's music]" (ten entries), and "Performers" (53 entries). The front matter also includes family trees and a map of Haydn's world. Formatted much like the first entry in this series (on Bach), this is indeed the first encyclopedia on the composer, and it is highly recommended for all devotees of Western concert music and their libraries.
Bonnie Jo Dopp, Univ. of Maryland Libs., College Park
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Similar in format to the Oxford Composer Companions book on J. S. Bach (1999), this well-planned, scholarly encyclopedia is a comprehensive and informative reference source on the life, music, and times of the prolific and influential eighteenth-century composer of classical music.

A "Thematic Overview" listing the book's entries under broad topics and then subdivided by specific subjects related to Haydn helps readers focus on the areas of knowledge they are researching (e.g., biography; composers; family, friends, and acquaintances; cities, towns, and villages; individual musical works). This is followed by a Haydn family genealogical chart and a sketchy map of Europe and England. The main body of the encyclopedia consists of almost 1,000 alphabetically arranged entries related to Haydn's life, music, and historical era. Each entry is followed by the initials of the author, whose full name can be determined by referring to a list of contributors located at the beginning of the book. Many entries also cite one or two sources used in the preparation of the entry. In addition, there are several megaentries that give in-depth treatment to subjects like Haydn's life, his compositional method, the keyboard sonata, and the symphony.

Appendixes include a list of Haydn's works in chart format, noting details like instruments scored for, musical key, date, and Hoboken number as well as a chart of "text incipits" noting movements in Haydn's vocal music cross-referenced to the Hoboken catalogue. There is unfortunately no index, which would help readers identify specific subjects within the text of entries.

This reference source provides comprehensive and accurate information similar to that found in the 100-page article on Haydn in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2d ed, Groves, 2001). It is most useful as a complement to The New Grove Dictionary in academic libraries supporting graduate-level programs in music and in large public libraries. RBB
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford Composer Companions
  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (June 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199554528
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199554522
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 1 x 5.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #448,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
David Wyn Jones, the editor of this outstanding 2002 reference work on Haydn, (1732 -- 1809), notes in his Preface that "Joseph Haydn was the last 'great' composer to be adequately served by scholarship." This book, part of the Oxford Composer Companion series, fulfills its promise of offering a comprensive guide to Haydn's life, music, and legacy based upon the most up-to-date modern scholarship. David Wyn Jones is senior lecturer in music at the University of Wales and the author of numerous books about Haydn and the Classical Era. The 900 plus entries in this volume were prepared by 41 contributors, each a Haydn scholar in their own right. This book is a treasure-trove of information about Haydn for the lover of his music.

I was drawn to this book to help me in my project, completed recently, of listening to CDs of each of Haydn's 104 numbered symphonies and preparing a survey of them in reviews on this site. Thus, the Oxford Companion includes a 34-page essay on Haydn's symphonies by Professor Simon McVeigh, Goldsmithe College, University of London. Professor McVeigh's article includes an introduction to symphonic form and traces its development from Haydn's earlist to his final works in nine carefully organized sections. Virtually every symphony is given some individual attention, as McVeigh examines the course of Haydn's symphonic writing throught the 36 years he employed it. I found this guide indespensable to my project of getting to understand Haydn's symphonies myself in some detail and preparing a survey of them to encourage others to hear them.

I supplemented the basic article on the symphony with many others from this volume, including, most basically, a long biography of the composer written by Wyn Jones.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By raymond Obermayr on August 22, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The amount of information in this volume with anything even remotely connected with Haydn is phenomenal. Its alphebetical organization gave me trouble at first. I bought the book because of my recent rediscovery of Haydn's music. I knew little of his life. I turned to "H" and found a satisfying 17 page biographical sketch. Most of the questions I had about Haydn were answered in the alphabetical listing from Abingdon to Zwettl. I am enjoying browsing through the Haydn related alphabet.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By 55anonymous55 on November 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
If you're curious about Haydn and have not read any books about him before, I suggest you start with David Wyn Jones's *other* Haydn book, The Life of Haydn -- a well-written, up-to-date biography. For the music, I suggest the Haydn chapters of Charles Rosen's remarkable book _The Classical Style_.

Then, if you want more, get this book. It seems to have everything, that is, biography (of Haydn and the people he knew), discussion of the music, and cultural background of Haydn's life and work. I read it cover to cover, and was repeatedly rewarded with interesting items that were new to me. The sections providing appreciations of the individual works are helpful and would be good for reading along as you listen to the music.

The book is well written. Much of it is by Jones himself, but there are contributions (it seems) from virtually all of the leading contermporary Haydn scholars. Strikingly, the prose style and tone of scholarship are rather uniform throughout the book; Jones as editor must have run a tight ship.

Comparing this book to earlier volumes I have read (for example, the biographies of Ferdinand Pohl, Karl Geiringer, and Mary Hughes), I find it to be lot more careful: it doesn't engage in psychological speculation about Haydn, and it doesn't rely very heavily on the three silly tale-spinners who wrote early unreliable biographies of Haydn (Dies, Carpani, and Framery). Another difference between this book and older biographies is that, in the past few decades, there has been a massive campaign of archival research on Haydn's life and work, whose results are effectively exploited here.

In sum, quite an accomplishment. There's no index, grr, which almost led me to leave off my fifth star.
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Format: Paperback
I was not expecting the format used. It was a pleasant surprise because this will be a more useful resource than other books on Haydn. The book contains hundreds of topics and shows how each relate to Haydn-perfect method. I'm hoping to find more on other composers but so far no luck.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Anthony P. Martin on October 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Arranged alphabetically, the articles, mostly short, have all sorts of info that otherwise might be buried in specialized journal articles. Mahler wrote recits for Creation...who knew?
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