Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: "The Father of the Piano Sonata?" A Reception History of Joseph Haydn's Solo Keyboard Sonatas
Authors: Friedman, Jacob
Advisors: Burnham, Scott
Agawu, Kofi
Contributors: Music Department
Keywords: Joseph Haydn
Keyboard Sonatas
Piano Sonatas
Reception History
Reception Studies
Subjects: Music history
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation traces the reception history of Joseph Haydn’s keyboard sonatas, from his lifetime to the present day. Today we recognize Haydn as one of the most important composers in history, but his output for keyboard is still not venerated with the same enthusiasm as his symphonies and quartets. The development and persistence of this reality is complex, and its origins can be traced back to the beginning of the nineteenth century. The mythologization of the piano, changes in circumstances of performance, and the overall decline in Haydn’s reputation are among the most significant factors behind the low critical regard with which Haydn’s keyboard output was held. The situation began to change in the twentieth century thanks to the efforts of several important figures, but the sonatas continued to lag behind the rest of his output. Advances made in recording technology and scholarship led to a boom in recordings and print editions in the second half of the century; today, however, the sonatas still suffer as a “second-tier” genre. Considering the prominence of the keyboard sonata throughout the past several centuries and the recognized importance of Haydn to Western art music, it is important to examine the disparity in critical regard between his keyboard sonatas and other genres. Haydn’s reception history is closely linked to his contributions to the symphony and string quartet: a study of how the keyboard sonata fits into this picture fills an important gap in our comprehension of the enigmatic composer, and helps us understand how certain musical values shifted over time, among composers, critics, audiences, and scholars. Reception theorists such as Hans-Georg Gadamer and Hans Robert Jauss argue that pursuing a history of hermeneutics, or engagement with how certain works of art and literature have been interpreted and received in the past, is essential to a complete understanding of our collective history. Perhaps most importantly, then, this project gives us insight into the evolution of Western society’s musical values. It furthermore represents a critical chapter in the history of a genre that has figured significantly into the last three centuries of Western music.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Music

Files in This Item:
This content is embargoed until 2022-01-22. For more information contact the Mudd Manuscript Library.

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.