Sketches from Michele Trenti's essays

Haydn’s Genius (1809-2009)

Appunti di Michele Trenti

The path leading to Haydn’s development of the musical language of Viennese Classicism, starting from the galant style, is one of the richest and most amazing phenomena in the history of music. All musicians since the late eighteenth century have been in his debt for having given a systematic form to the basic concepts of modern composition. Despite not having Mozart’s innate imagination, Beethoven’s dazzling power of expression, or Schubert’s heavenly inspiration, Haydn did have the insight, clarity, and patient perseverance to pursue that which allowed him to create a new language. Other great composers did not have the attributes needed to achieve such a task. If the style has largely evolved through each of Haydn’s successors, the structural principles he identified in the Quartets, the London symphonies, "The Creation", or some of the piano sonatas have left their imprint directly on western music until the twentieth century. The technique of thematic elaboration, taking each element of the composition from a minimal original core (sinking its roots successively into the language of Bach), has paved the way to contemporary music, and is connected directly to Schoenberg’s work, revealing the perfect affinity between the first Viennese School and the second.