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Acc1 responsables
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Haydn’s oratorio-making covers a quarter of a century, a period during which major spiritual changes took place. For Il ritorno di Tobia (1775), Haydn went back to A. Zeno’s text, revised for him by G. G. Boccherini. This oratorio conforms to the Viennese tradition, as regards both libretto and style. Its subject-matter, already set by various composers, corresponds to the ideas of political absolutism.

With the later setting of the Sieben Worte, Haydn’s vocal writing became closer to the type of the German-language oratorio, just like the tradition of the sepolcro. For the first time, he followed the advice of G. van Swieten in his textual revisions.

Stimulated by his experience of Handel’s oratorios in London, Haydn responded to Swieten’s advice to try and follow new directions. Swieten adapted and translated Milton’s Paradise Lost. Despite its religious content, the oratorio was heavily criticised by the Church. Swieten’s origins from Protestant Holland – where, though a Catholic, he was educated in a Protestant school –, his long-time diplomatic activities with Frederick the Great and his involvement in Freemasonry must have left a mark on his non-conformist beliefs.

In his introduction to The Seasons, one can detect deistic ideas, which Haydn willy-nilly followed. Only the final chorus is directly addressed to God, as in the tradition. The step towards secular oratorio is thus accomplished, and opens a new chapter in the history of oratorio.


Joseph Haydn und Europa

N° 7 n

Gottfried Scholz

Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien

Gottfried van Swieten und Joseph Haydn - ihr gemeinsamer Weg zur Säkularisierung der Oratorien



Gottfried Scholz
Gottfried Scholz - Gottfried von Swieten und Joseph Haydn

Jean-Marc Leblanc
Jean-Marc Leblanc - La musique de Haydn dans les traités en France

Suzel Esquier
Suzel Esquier - Haydn et ses biographes

Christine Siegert
Christine Siegert - Opera buffa als spätabsolutische Repräsentation

David Gasche
David Gasche - Bearbeitungen für Harmoniemusik

Pierre Degott
Pierre Degott - English language in Haydn’s German oratorios

János Poór
János Poór - Haydns Ungarn

Lukas Haselböck
Lukas Haselböck - Vivaldi und Haydn

Gerold Gruber
Gerold Gruber - Joseph Haydn - Kick off - Event

Albert Gier
Albert Gier - Joseph Haydn und die Libretti seiner Opern

Gerhard Winkler
Gerhard Winkler - „Gott erhalte“ – Rossini – Paris 1825

János Kalmar
János Kalmar - Nikolaus II. Esterházy

Ulrike Anton
Ulrike Anton - Johann Nepomuk Hummel