Autumn Falling Over Everything

Today marked the end of season at Innisfree Garden. The weather was uncertain, a bit humid and cloudy, but even so we ventured out. We weren’t the least disappointed except, of course, in the knowledge we’d not get another chance to visit until spring.

The post’s title borrows a phrase from John Ashbery’s poem, Street Musicians.” There is no straight line connection between this post and the poem, and, indeed, there may be no circuitous one either. I didn’t think Ashbery would mind, whether or no, as the phrase captures so very well all the falling autumn brings.

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Listening List

Haydn, Piano Sonata No.59 in E Flat Major, Hob. XVI: 49 (1790)

The autograph manuscript of the final sonata on this record, Hob. XVI:49 in E flat, bears the date June 1, 1790, and a dedication to Maria Anna Gerlischek, housekeeper to Prince Esterházy and the wife of a raffish violinist in the Esterházy orchestra named Johann Tost, for whom Haydn wrote his string quartets Op. 54, 55, and 64. Neither the date nor the dedication, however, reveals the true history of the sonata. Haydn’s correspondence shows that Frau Tost—or “Mademoiselle Nanette,” as he called her—had in fact commissioned the work as a present for Marianna Anna von Genzinger, the wife of the emperor’s personal physician and a lady immensely esteemed by Haydn. As the composer confided to Frau von Genzinger in a letter of June 20, 1790, moreover most of the piece was not newly written:

This sonata was destined for Your Grace a year ago, and only the Adagio is quite new, and I especially recommend this music to your attention, for it contains many things which I shall analyze for Your Grace when the time comes, it is rather difficult but full of feeling. [citation]


Credits: The sources for the quotations may be found at the links in the text. The photographs, as always on the blog unless otherwise indicated, are mine.

10 thoughts on “Autumn Falling Over Everything

  1. hilarymb

    Hi Susan – wonderful photos of the autumnal year end … Innisfree is definitely a special garden. Cheers Hilary

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      Hilary: Indeed it is! We’re always sorry when it closes, but then there are compensations, for it reminds us to get back to others of our favorite places, like Buttercup Farm and the Walkway Over the Hudson.

  2. David N

    The lead photo is worthy of Japanese or Chinese watercolour treatment. Lovely. You probably heard that storm Ophelia gave us a strange scene yesterday, which I witnessed cycling through Hyde Park to teach my opera class in the early afternoon – black clouds with a red sun peeping through. A combination of sand from the Sahara and air from the Portuguese forest fires. Very apocalyptic. Later the whole sky went yellow.

    Re the Haydn, Brendel is very elegant but try my new ‘find’ Roman Rabinovich for character: I first heard him the other week playing a Haydn sonata on what we are fairly sure was Haydn’s five and a half octave fortepiano plus Chopin on the composer’s favourite Pleyel – I wanted to take the instrument home – and Rachmaninov on an 1854 Steinway And then on Sunday, to prove that he is the master colourist, Roman played it all plus more on the Wigmore Steinway. Here’s the review of the fascinating Hatchlands recital:

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      David: Your description of the effect of Ophelia is quite something. I’m glad you weren’t blown away literally! I’m so glad for your introduction to Rabinovich. When looking around for a Haydn sonata on YouTube, I was hoping to find a performance from among up and coming pianists friends have noted to me, but came up dry. Yesterday, I discovered and listened to Rabinovich’s recording “Ballet Russes,” which includes gorgeous performances of Prokofiev transcriptions for piano from Romeo & Juliet. I feel I hear what you must mean by “master colourist” in his performances of these works, as I sometimes forgot (!) I wasn’t listening to a full orchestra performance. Last not least, your TAD review on the Hatchlands concert sure brings home what a remarkable experience that had to be. Thank you for all!

      1. David N

        You’re one up on me there – I haven’t yet heard the Ballets Russes discs, and I have to, especially as he’s made his own transcription of Ravel’s music for Daphnis and Chloe. That Hatchlands recital was a life-changer for many of us – the pianist and myself included. I’m looking forward to his article on how the experience influenced his Wigmore Hall recital.

  3. shoreacres

    I was thinking of Innisfree recently, wondering if the time of closing had come. It’s strange, really, how the patterns of another’s life — like the garden opening and closing — influence our own. It’s just another reminder that what we take in becomes a part of us, so we’d best be paying attention.

    The photos are unusually restful, and the colors seem more subtle than in past years. I’m ready for autumn to come. Shortened days bring their own inconveniences, but I like children in school and tourists gone home and boaters off to the ski slopes. It’s quieter. I like this, too, from W.S.Merwin. It seems to fit your theme:

    Now in the blessed days of more and less
    when the news about time is that each day
    there is less of it I know none of that
    as I walk out through the early garden
    only the day and I are here with no
    before or after and the dew looks up
    without a number or a present age

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      shoreacres: That’s a lovely poem (or poem excerpt?), and you’re right, it does fit the quieter quality of these photographs. Thinking back on the day, the light was softer and overcast, so that may have been part of it. Also, as the closing date was a bit earlier this year (it always depends upon when the weekend falls), a lot more of the garden than usual was still green.

      1. shoreacres

        It’s the complete poem, and not an excerpt.

        It’s still remarkably green here, too. Even without autumnal color, we’re usually drying out and getting crackly by now, but we’ve had a record year for rainfall — the most ever — so everything is holding on to its leaves. If we get some sharp cold now, we might well see more color than usual.

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      Britta: Welcome back from your travels! Yours and Alina’s visit with us and our trip to Innisfree together will always be a fond memory for us, as well.

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