String Quartet Op. 76, No. 3, Hob. III. 77, Poco adagio, cantabile (second movement)
Franz Joseph Haydn
Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music, CD 8 Tracks 7-11
On Mondays I have been driving up to Mason, Ohio as a visiting artist. My project there is to assist some of the first and second grade classes of Mason Elementary School in writing anthems. By this time we are halfway through the project--the end product being a unique song book and recording--and the anthems that have emerged from these young minds are all, as one would expect and want in an anthem, very easy to sing and remember. These are memorable tunes because the composers have either borrowed a tune (Twinkle, twinkle
for instance), modified a tune (Are You Sleeping
can be taken in so many directions), or simply made good use of the Major scale (Sol-Do seems a popular point of departure).
Like these young artists in the growing community of Mason, Haydn borrowed a tune
he learned as a child, made it his own, and knew the significance of each scale degree. In this tune he accentuates the gravitational pull of 'Do.' He leaps only when he is fully confident and follows such a leap with descending steps. Most importantly, he is repetitive.
The variations, described in the anthology as a "study in nonharmonic tones," never upstage the tune but rather provide the listener an excuse to hear this heartwarming melody five times.