Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
The late piano trios of Joseph Haydn, which were published in London during his two trips there in 1791 and 1794, are neglected and misunderstood works. This study examines Haydn's late trios in the light of other works of the same type which were published for the same audience, in order to gain a clearer perspective of this repertoire. A variety of cultural and economic factors influenced the music considered in this study. In particular, the presence in London of a large class of affluent but relatively unsophisticated musical amateurs provided a lucrative outlet for composers who could satisfy the public's demand for new music. The accompanied sonata, that is, the sonata for keyboard with accompaniment for other instruments, especially violin and cello, was a popular genre with London amateurs. Two varieties of accompanied sonata are found in the music studied: (1) the sonata with optional accompaniments, and (2) the concertante sonata, in which at least one of the accompanying instruments shares with the keyboard part in the presentation of melodic material and is, therefore, not optional. Twenty composers have been identified who published a total of 173 accompanied sonatas for piano, violin, and cello in London between 1791 and 1800. These composers include well known figures such as Haydn, Muzio Clementi, and others, but also many composers about whom relatively little is known. Six composers, including Haydn, Clementi, Johann Baptist Cramer, Adalbert Gyrowetz, Leopold Kozeluch, and Ignaz Pleyel, published large numbers of trios in London. The bulk of the composers, however, published very few works. In general, the trios conform closely to the standardized model of the classical style. Although the classical style has been described by many scholars, some aspects, such as phrase structure, are in need of further clarification and expansion. Of special interest is the frequent appearance in music of the classic era, and especially in the music examined in this study, of quaternary phrase patterns. An examination of the sonata cycles as a whole reveals a remarkably similar approach on the part of all of the composers with regard to such factors as the number of movements in the cycles and the tempo, meter, tonality, mode, and form of these movements. The principal departures from the normal patterns in each of these areas, with the exception of the number of movements in the cycle, are found in the works of Haydn. The similarity of approach noted with regard to the sonata cycles as a whole is also observed in an examination of the individual movements. The works of the minor composers in particular are highly conventional and resemble the stereotyped formal patterns of the classic era. Several departures from conventional formal models are found in the works of Haydn, however. One important example is Haydn's frequent synthesis of variation techniques and ternary or rondo forms. The movements of Haydn's trios that have traditional formal structures also display unusual characteristics. Examples of these include Haydn's use of unusual tonalities and complex, often enharmonic, modulations. The piano trios of Haydn seem to have had little influence on similar works published in London at the same time. Haydn's attempt to elevate the status of the accompanied sonata, through the use of imaginative compositional techniques, is not matched by other composers writing for the same audience.
Irving, Howard Lee, "The Piano Trio in London From 1791 to 1800." (1980). LSU Historical Dissertations and Theses. 3563.