Who Wrote the Haydn Double Concerto, and a New Arrangement for Winds

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This week I had the opportunity to perform the double concerto commonly attributed to Haydn. My performance was with Rose French (with piano), as a preparatory performance for her as she will be performing this work with Bruno Schneider at the 2012 Southwest Horn Conference.

This is a favorite work of mine and was last year the topic of the Doctoral project of ASU DMA graduate Guan-Lin Yeh, “Concerto for Two Horns in E-flat Major Attributed to Joseph Haydn: A New Arrangement for Wind Ensemble.” The entire project may be accessed online as a PDF download here, with the abstract reading as follows:

A new arrangement of the Concerto for Two Horns in E-flat Major, Hob. VIId/6, attributed by some to Franz Joseph Haydn, is presented here. The arrangement reduces the orchestral portion to ten wind instruments, specifically a double wind quintet, to facilitate performance of the work. A full score and a complete set of parts are included. In support of this new arrangement, a discussion of the early treatment of horns in pairs and the subsequent development of the double horn concerto in the eighteenth century provides historical context for the Concerto for Two Horns in E-flat major. A summary of the controversy concerning the identity of the composer of this concerto is followed by a description of the content and structure of each of its three movements. Some comments on the procedures of the arrangement complete the background information.

Besides the arrangement, Guan-Lin did a great job of working through the context of the work historically and of the question of composer as well.

So who wrote the work? Usually sources say Joseph Haydn but there is a version published that lists the composer as Michael Haydn. In my opinion though, the evidence really is pretty compelling that this is actually a work of Antonio Rosetti, seen at right. Rosetti wrote a lot of music for the horn, including at least seven double concertos, and stylistically and in terms of form his works are a good match for this double concerto. But the name Haydn does sell more music.

In any case it is a very attractive work that certainly deserves to be performed often, and the DMA project by Guan-Lin Yeh on this double concerto is well worth checking out as well.

UPDATE: Sorry to say, I did get a report from a reader that the arrangement did not work well for them — I thought it worked when we read it here, but be sure to take time and read it with your group to decide how it works for you.

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