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15 October 2016

6. ex silentio

I found this score on my shelves a few months ago.  Im not sure when or where I got it.

SOURCE:  cropped scan (600 dpi) of p. 1; Edition Peters no. 4894 (Pl no. 30053), pub. 1959.

Although this appeared as recently as 1959, it is—as the note says—the first time this work was published in score.  It was published in parts by Artaria in March 1785.  As with many Haydn symphonies, the autograph score is lost.  Here, from H. C. Robbins Landon’s monumental tome on Haydn’s symphonies, is a list of the autographs whose whereabouts were known at that time (1955):
SOURCE:  cropped scan of Landon, The Symphonies of Joseph Haydn, pp. 27-28
Comparing this list with those volumes of JHW (the critical complete edition) devoted to his symphonies, one recognizes a cautious editorial strategy:  works which existed in autograph comprised those symphony volumes that appeared in the 1960s and 70s, and (the “London” symphonies excepted) the rest have waited as much as four decades to see publication.  (That said, even in 1955 Landon’s list wasn’t quite accurate:  Landon lists symphonies 98, 99, and 101 as being in the Berlin Staatsbibliothek, but these three were actually part of the “lost” cache of scores hidden by the Nazis that ended up eventually in Krakow; they were not returned to Berlin until the 1980s.  Nigel Lewis’s journalistic account of this, Paperchase, is excellent beach reading, and at the moment there are a few cheap secondhand copies on abebooks.com.)

To return to Symphony 79:  when I found this score on my shelf, I had just acquired an excellent new recording of this symphony.  I was home one day when the kids were out at lunchtime, so I set the score on the table and put on the new recording.  I hadnt even taken a bite before I was interrupted by a textual discrepancy.  Here is the whole of the first page in Lassens edition:
SOURCE:  as above, less cropped
What arrested my sandwich halfway to my open mouth was the last half of bar 4.  In Lassens edition, there is a brief silence here before the next phrase, but on the recording I heard a horn playing the dominant on repeated eight-notes.  That isnt really my story here:  I think this is a straightforward error in transcription, although I don't have adequate resources on hand to tell whether the error was already in Lassens sources or was new in his edition.

Here are the horn parts of the first few bars in a composite, comparing Lassens edition with the only other two (scpreditions this work has yet receivedthe Philharmonia edition which followed it by a few years, edited by H. C. Robbins Landon, and the much more recent JHW:
Although I think it is clearly an error, the rest at the end of bar 4 is plausible:  there is such a silence in the recapitulation at b. 105, although in that instance the next phrase is given in the parallel minor.
SOURCE:  Landon's edition, because Lassen has a page-turn that would obscure my point.
Nonetheless, the other similar passage is a false recapitulation (at b. 68) which has the repeated eighth-notes in place, this time allotted to the violas. Very unlikely, however, is Lassens reading in b. 5, in which the repeated figure in Horn II makes no sense.

Lassen lists only two sources, but gives no detail about how these were used, nor any variant readings:
By the time of the Philharmonia edition, Landon had to hand four sources, although he explicitly excludes the two that had been used by Lassen:
SOURCE:  cropped scan of Critical Commentary to Landon's edition, vol. 8, p. LXVI, with my emphasis added.
Landon does not mention Lassen's edition, and it is possible that he had not seen it.  The JHW editors jump to a different conclusion, however, because of editorial adjustments in other passages which agree in both the Lassen and the Landon editions:  post hoc ergo propter hoc, JHW surmises [p. 290 and n. 263] that Landon not only knew it but indeed used it for his working copy (that is, a copy of a prior edition marked up with any changes to be made in a new edition, saving the effort of writing out the score anew).

But I think they are wrong on this point:  Landon could very easily have devised the same editorial adjustments that Lassen had reasonably made.  Moreover, editors always go out of their way to point out how their edition is better than their predecessors.  Landon doesnt mention bar 4 at all in his commentary; JHW does mention bar 4, but has nothing to say about Horn II.  I argue from silence here, but it seems clear to me that neither of them ever noticed the erroneous reading that Lassen transmitted in b. 4.  If they had, they would have told us.

Lassens edition is not an authoritative source, and there's no reason that either Landon or JHW needed to consult it.  Clearly JHW did consult it, and I submit that the lack of a comment on b. 4 suggests that they did not do the due diligence required to make the assertion that Landon had cut some editorial corners.  The silence is telling.

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