Milano: G. Ricordi & C. [PNs 28731-54], . Folio. Blue cloth-backed patterned paper boards, titling gilt to spine. 1f. (recto title, verso blank), 1f. (recto table of contents, verso blank), 5-300 pp.
From the collection of Italian conductor, vocal coach, and close associate of Puccini and Mascagni, Luigi Ricci (1893-1981).
Binding slightly rubbed and bumped. Slightly worn; light uniform browning; very occasional markings in lead and red pencil; pp. 17/18 with small tear to blank lower margin.
First Italian edition (1856), later issue (based on the publisher's blindstamp).
This second collaboration between Haydn and librettist Gottfried von Swieten was based on the poem by James Thomson (1700-1748) published in 1730. The work was first performed on April 24, 1801 in a private première at the Schwarzenberg Palace in Vienna; its first public production took place on May 19, 1801.
"Although the initial reception of The Seasons was favourable – Haydn wrote to Clementi that it had enjoyed ‘unanimous approval’ and that ‘many prefer it to The Creation, because of its greater variety’ – critical opinion soon became mixed, owing in part to its perceived ‘lower’ subject, in part to a growing aesthetic resistance to its many pictorialisms. Haydn himself contributed to both strands of criticism: he supposedly said to Francis II, ‘In The Creation angels speak and tell of God, but in The Seasons only Simon speaks’ (Dies); and he indiscreetly criticized Swieten’s croaking frogs (‘Frenchified trash’) and the absurdity of a choral hymn to toil (Fleiss). Nonetheless he maintained that it would join The Creation in assuring his lasting fame. For the publication he took the path of lesser resistance, selling the rights to Breitkopf & Härtel." James Webster and Georg Feder in Grove Music Online. Item #31315
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