String Quartet no. 38 in E♭major, Op. 50, No. 3 – Haydn

by richibi


         Frederick William II of Prussia


if there’s a difference that I can detect 
between both these “Prussian” string
quartets, the No. 21 of Mozart, Haydn’s
38th, the somewhat more boisterous 
voice of the youthful Mozart up against 
the more deferential, the more precisely 
filigreed, manner of Haydn, the more 
consummate courtier of the two via his 
actual, and constant, presence at the 
Esterházy court

Mozart is somewhat less genteel, less
mercurial, I think

both sets, six in each, were originally 
dedicated to the King of Prussia,
William ll, Haydn’s in 1787, Mozart’s 
in 1789, though each had unfortunate 
legal, and controversial outcomes 

it’s not so much the specificity of each
other’s talent at this point that settles 
their ultimate significance, but that 
their invention, the form, the structure,  
has lasted already two hundred years, 
the might of their prowess has inspired 
inexhaustibly our culture

Mozart and Haydn built the house that
our music now stands on, working, of 
course, from earlier, even glorious, 
standards, culture  – music, art, 
literature – is like a tree, growing 
organically from its local soil, our
Western earth has become 
historically especially significant,  
we could be listening to Chinese 
opera for instance now had we been 
born, however arbitrarily, in that 
culture, for better or for worse we are 
in our ever evolving ours, our 21st 
global century, and the Classical Era 
is pretty well where it all began for us 

it was also called the Age of 
Enlightenment, Mozart and Haydn 
were doing their particular part

let me add that the term “Classical”
applies only to the music of that 
period, it is not the period of 
Classical art, for instance, nor of
Classical literature, the term 
“Classical” refers to the originality
of the product and its historical
resilience, we speak of Classical 
Greece, for instance, for its 
sprouting of our Western culture,
our literature, our sculpture, our
architecture, our very philosophy

after the Age of Enlightenment, we 
get the Romantic Period

wait till you hear about that

R ! chard