Romantic Period - Early 19th Century#
Michael Haydn: Abendlied#
(Johann) Michael Haydn (1737 Rohrau/Lower Austria - 1806 Salzburg) who is less famous today than his
brother, Joseph Haydn, is considered the "inventor" of the men's vocal quartet, a
musical form that was extremely popular at the beginning of the 19th c.
The novelty of these quartets is the way they are composed: the upper
voice still dominates but the middle voices and the bass are more than
mere filler and support voices. Such vocal quartets as Abendlied
(Text: Matthias Claudius) presented here, reach a quality that can be
compared to the slow movements of the contemporary String Quartets
because of the equal treatment of the four voices and the high
demands made on them. It is interesting that songs like this one made
Haydn's vocal quartets famous. They were originally composed for a
private circle of friends but soon found their way into print and some
of them were even performed by men's choirs. (E. Stadler)
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