Prufrock's Dilemma

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.

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]

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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.