Important autograph letter signed to French music publisher Jean-Georges Sieber. Dated Estoras [Esterházy], 5th April 1789. A significant document regarding publication rights to a number of Haydn's symphonies and pianoforte sonatas and the "affaire Tost." Joseph HAYDN.

Important autograph letter signed to French music publisher Jean-Georges Sieber. Dated Estoras [Esterházy], 5th April 1789. A significant document regarding publication rights to a number of Haydn's symphonies and pianoforte sonatas and the "affaire Tost."

2 pp. Quarto (195 x 172 mm.). In dark brown ink. With integral autograph panel addressed to Monsieur Sieber, Marchand de la Musique, Paris, with additions of Rue La Honoré a l'Hotel d'Alligre possibly in another hand. Original dark red wax seal fully intact. On laid paper with watermark "JRP." In German (with translation).

Haydn is surprised not to have heard from Sieber as the publisher was supposed to have purchased 4 symphonies and 6 pianoforte sonatas from him. The composer is apparently bound to the Viennese violinist Johann Tost (who had purchased the rights to a number of his other works) for the symphonies, but Tost has not paid him for these. Haydn pledges to compose these 4 symphonies for Sieber if he takes over Tost's debt. The composer goes on to say that Tost has no rights at all to the pianoforte sonatas and has thus "swindled" Sieber; he urges the publisher to claim damages in Vienna. Haydn then inquires about Tost's behaviour in Paris and whether or not he sold Sieber 6 quartets. He asks in closing "will the Quartet, and the 2 Symphonies be engraved and soon appear?"

"Monsieur! I am very surprised not to have received a letter from you, because (as Herr Tost wrote to me a long time ago) you were supposed to have purchased 4 Symphonies and 6 pianoforte Sonatas for one hundred Louis d'or: as far as I am concerned, I regret being bound to Herr Tost for the 4 Symphonies, because he still owes me 300f [Gulden] for the 4 pieces. If you will take over this debt of 300f, I guarantee to compose these four Symphonies for you; but Herr Tost has no rights at all to the six pianoforte Sonatas, and has thus swindled you; you can claim your damages in Vienna. Now I would ask you to tell me candidly just how, and in what fashion, Herr Tost behaved in Paris. Did he have an Amour there? And did he also sell you the 6 quartets, and for what sum? Item, will the Quartet and the 2 Symphonies be engraved and soon appear? Please let me know all this as soon as possible. Meanwhile I remain, most respectfully, Your wholly obedient servant, Josephus Haydn."

Uniform light browning, slightly heavier to central fold and extreme blank margins; one small brown spot to central fold; small (ca. 28 x 20 mm.) blank area opposite seal lacking, partially adhering to upper portion of seal; several minute holes, just touching several letters but in no way impairing legibility. In very good condition overall. Carefully laid into archival Japanese rice paper mount.

Robbins Landon: Haydn Chronicle and Works, Volume II Haydn at Esterháza 1766-1790, p. 719. Robbins Landon: The Collected Correspondence and London Notebooks of Joseph Haydn, pp. 84-85 and 326.

"Haydn’s compositional activity underwent a radical change in the 1780s. His music, which been well known and much praised since the mid-1760s, was now genuinely popular: he could scarcely keep up with the demand. He concentrated on what was salable: instrumental works that would appeal to both amateurs and connoisseurs, opera excerpts and lieder. As long as his works had been destined for the court or published without his participation, he had had little need to follow the ‘opus’ principle; now he adopted it for almost all his publications. Even the string quartet was subject to another pause of six years... before he composed three sets in rapid succession during 1787–90: op.50 (Artaria; dedicated to the King of Prussia), op. 54/55 (a single set of six, sold to Johann Tost, formerly a violinist at court, who resold them to various publishers) and op. 64." James Webster and Georg Feder in Grove Music Online. Haydn also sold his Symphonies nos. 88 and 89 (1787) to Tost, who resold them in Paris and elsewhere.

"With this letter, the affaire Tost, to which Haydn had previously referred in a letter to Artaria... [September 22, 1788], becomes even more mysterious. Tost had with him Symphonies Nos. 88, 89 and six Quartets (known as Opp. 54 and 55). Haydn never denied Tost's rights to these works, and obviously expected Tost to sell them, as the end of the present letter shows. But how the two Symphonies suddently became four is most unclear. Perhaps Haydn intended to write two more for Tost. (See also the passing reference to the four works in the letter of 22 March...). In 1788 and 1789, Haydn did in fact compose three new Symphonies (Nos. 90-92), but he dedicated them to the Comte d'Ogny in Paris, and they were patently intended for the Concert de la Loge Olympique, for which he had written the 'Paris' Symphonies. The affaire Tost is further complicated by the fact that Tost seems to have sold Sieber a Gyrowetz Symphony under Haydn's name (Symphony in G: see Larsen, HÜB, p. 115 and Landon, SYM, p. 3). The six Sonatas are possibly Nos. 34, 53 and 35 (XVI: 33, 34 and 43) together with 54-56 (XVI: 40-42); three, however may have been Nos. 32, 29 and 31 (XVI: 44-46), earlier works which Artaria issued as Op. 54 about this time." Robbins Landon: Haydn Chronicle and Works, Volume II, p. 719.

This letter was purchased from the London antiquarian booksellers Maggs Bros. in ca. 1930 and has been in the current owner's family since that time.

Haydn autograph letters with important content such as that contained in the present letter are rare to the market. Item #27859

Price: $68,000.00  other currencies

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