Since building a library is what I have been doing for the last several years, I will, over time, list the books that I have acquired, along with a brief description of the nature of the contents. There will be a certain amount of editorial subjectivism involved, but I try to minimize that because my own experience probably won’t predict yours, so what’s the point? But I had nothing to go by when I was buying books, certainly no description of what's inside! So I hope you will find this useful. It is my belief that a book will only sprout a seedling if spread on fertile ground. So, for example, if you have no training in musicology or music theory, then a book that is rife with musical examples that go unexplained, will fall on barren ground indeed. I have such a book, nameless for now, which has statements such as “you can see from the first 10 measures just how deep was Schubert’s debt to Mozart…”, followed by a page long example from the score. Followed by a QED from the author!! I’m still stunned simply from the recollection! So, if a book turned out to be one of those, I will give you ample notice. It may be exactly what you were looking for. Please feel free to ask questions about any specific book and I will do my best to answer. The only one I likely won’t have an answer for is ‘where can I get a cheap copy of this?’. It is no mystery these days that books are nearly prohibitively expensive. Unless (as I was on rare occasions) you are in the right place at the right time and ready to buy, you will only get an occasional deal. If you are fortunate to live in a city with a super library, or you go to a university with an even better library, you are all set. Otherwise, there is a solid reason why it took me seven years to amass a mere 40-50 books! The books themselves are very rare, really, mainly out of print, and to find someone selling them at a price you can afford is even more rare.
The 800lb. gorilla in the room;
Haydn: Chronicle and Works 5 Volumes
Published by Thames & Hudson in England and the University of Indiana Press in the USA from 1976-79, and then again in 1995, Landon's magnum opus is the bible of Haydn research. the five volumes total 3,254 pages, each packed with meticulously documented data.
On the positive side, even though Landon could have buried us in musical examples, these are actually kept to a minimum, and often only to showcase an item of interest. They usually have a reasonable explanatory note, so not a lot is assumed. On the negative side, there pages-long quotations from historic documents in foreign languages (for an English only speaker) and usually no translation offered. So if you don't fluently read 18th century French, or Austrian German or Italian, then it is fair to say that you won't be getting the most out of the Carpani extracts, or the Zinzendorf diaries. I am fairly sure that the point of this exercise is to not burden you down with someone else's translation which may give you a push in the wrong direction. Nonetheless, it is a mixed blessing at best.
The books are difficult to find, Abe Books and Amazon Marketplace are the likely suspects for tracking them down. By far the best choice with this one is to find it in your library. The price will absolutely knock you down unless it is your lucky day. It is well worth a considerable amount though, you get your money's worth with these if your interest level in the topic warrants it.
Some other books by Landon
Landon was a prolific author, and not just in one direction. He wrote several books about composers ranging from Beethoven to Mozart, Scarlatti & Vivaldi. His forte though was Haydn. Not only as an author himself, but as a supporter of others. I won't attempt to list all of his accomplishments here, but these are some books which you might be able to obtain for your own library or at least be able to consult in a large, well-stocked public library.
The Collected Correspondence and London Notebooks of Joseph Haydn
Publisher: Barrie and Rockliff; First edition (January 1, 1959)
This book represents the first attempt to publish all of Haydn's known correspondence in English. It is a substantial book, but easily readable and quite interesting for all that. The earlier entries consist mainly of memos back and forth between Haydn and the Prince or else his chief of staff, Rahier. It helps to fill in a picture of life at home in the earlier years.
The central portion is, to a large extent, the voluminous correspondence between Haydn and his Vienna publisher, Artaria. Hardly a truer picture develops of a man’s personality than when one sees how his business dealings were made, although if you know nothing about the context of both Haydn’s life and the music business at the time it can be deceptive. Nonetheless, very interesting.
The final portion of the correspondence section contains more personal documents, for example, the letters he sent to Marianne Genzinger, and all of the letters from London to Genzinger and Polzelli. Since it also contains the three remaining ‘London Notebooks’, this is one of the best sources to supplement whatever information you might have about the London journeys. In fact, chances are that whatever you have was largely based on this material! I have never failed to open this book at random and find something interesting to think about.
Haydn: A Documentary Study
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Rizzoli International Publications; First Edition (August 30, 1984)
If you read a lot about historical subjects, you have no doubt got accustomed to blurry grayscale photos and line drawings depicting the subject of the text. I know I always wanted a color photo of Haydn! Well, in fact I still do, since I haven’t got one here. However, this large format book is jam-packed with pictures, both large and small, color and grayscale, of all the people and places that you read about when reading Haydn history.
In addition to all of the pictures, there are many pages devoted to documents, many from the London years and not appearing in the Collected Correspondence book because they aren’t by Haydn. Included with many of the texts are full page photos of the documents themselves, as a reminder that having the text reprinted is a great idea! Finally, there are several pages of photos of autograph scores from different periods.
No matter the depth of your interest in Haydn’s history specifically, this book is highly interesting with some superb illustrations and textual content.