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27-Jul-2017 09:11

My question still is: did someone else get there before Haydn? If your question blends together both the movements specifically identified as a "scherzo" and the scherzo-like movements not always called scherzo, then this is going to be a rather complicated topic!For instance, Italian composer Malipiero viewed Domenico Scarlatti's Sonata K.525 as offering much similarity with Beethoven's scherzo in his seventh symphony.Is it then not conceivable that one or more of them tried quickening up their minuet movements to the point where we would regard them as scherzos? Before Beethoven, 18th century practice was simply to specify a movement's tempo, not spell out its character (allegro molto but not allegro scherzando), so calling a movement a joke would have been something of an innovation. If he's talking about the character of the movements Haydn called "scherzos," that's more elusive. 33 are indeed marked allegro or allegro di molto, which conforms with our idea of the scherzo as faster than a minuet--but the other three are marked allegretto, Haydn's standard minuet tempo. 76 series, Haydn reverted to minuetto as his title for those movements, but several are marked allegro and one is actually marked presto.I was hoping that someone on this forum might have studied the works of at least some of Haydn's lesser known contemporaries and might be in a position to to tell me if any of them had done just that before Haydn published his Op. Hans Keller, in "The Great Haydn Quartets," says that Haydn was writing anti-minuets long before the quartets op. (Also, in these days of "authentic" period performance practices, it's been argued or supposed that minuet tempo is or should be rather faster than tradition used to have it, and some performances of Mozart's Symphony #39 take the minuet startlingly fast. On the face of it, Haydn is the most likely candidate, as in his Op 33 String Quartets. Eugene Baker, aka my late father "We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. The origin of the musical use of the word scherzo or scherzi dates to well before Beethoven, in early seventeenth century Italy. The use of the term scherzo to designate a work's movement is an eighteenth century development, of which Haydn's op.The so called minuets of his later quartets often sound much more like Scherzos, particularly those of his last 2 complete ones Opus 77. Beethoven invented the scherzo, which is Italian for "joke," meant, no doubt, to recall the galumphing, awkward, peasant dance quality of the form, at least in its Beethovenian incarnation, which was the first. 33 quartets (1781) constitute a well known example.Of course the Op 33 quartets are the first where Haydn actually used the word Scherzo or Scherzando, but the point I was trying to make is that the so called minuets of his last 2 complete quartets sound even more like what we have come to know as scherzos than those Scherzi from Op 33.

Maybe Haydn wanted to highlight this quality in these six quartets by actually using the Italian word for a joke or jest as the title of a movement in each of them. I'm sure you are quite right about the 3rd movement of Beethoven's 1st Symphony.However, I have a sneaking feeling that some lesser known contemporary of his may have got there before him. Beethoven's contribution is perhaps most original for the orchestral movement. I believe your question implies the scherzo as it is currently used or known.So perhaps a scherzo actually wasn't notably faster than a minuet, not consistently anyway.) Moving on to Beethoven: the third movement of the first symphony is in no way a minuet, it's not only very fast and undanceable but the triple rhythm is as unobtrusive as in the Eroica's scherzo.Yet Beethoven gave the movement the title "menuetto." What's in a name?

Maybe Haydn wanted to highlight this quality in these six quartets by actually using the Italian word for a joke or jest as the title of a movement in each of them. I'm sure you are quite right about the 3rd movement of Beethoven's 1st Symphony.However, I have a sneaking feeling that some lesser known contemporary of his may have got there before him. Beethoven's contribution is perhaps most original for the orchestral movement. I believe your question implies the scherzo as it is currently used or known.So perhaps a scherzo actually wasn't notably faster than a minuet, not consistently anyway.) Moving on to Beethoven: the third movement of the first symphony is in no way a minuet, it's not only very fast and undanceable but the triple rhythm is as unobtrusive as in the Eroica's scherzo.Yet Beethoven gave the movement the title "menuetto." What's in a name?All I know is that Haydn and Beethoven between them probably were the first 2 well known composers to write what has come to be known as the scherzo and trio. Corlyss and I both referred to the Grove Dictionary of Music (not Wikipedia) and both identified Haydn's six quartets, op. 33 in a "new and special way," and indeed they represent a revolution in string quartet writing.