Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Clark, Caryl. "Intertextual Play and Haydn's La fedeltà premiata." Current Musicology, no. 51 (1993): 59-81.

All twelve surviving opera texts that Haydn set to music for Esterházy existed in previous versions by other composers, but La fedeltà premiata (1780) is the only one whose earlier setting, with the title L'infideltà fedele (1779) by Domenico Cimarosa, Haydn apparently knew before attempting to write his own work. Haydn's debt to Cimarosa is not great, apart from sharing the almost identical libretto. An intertextual approach reveals the incorporation of elements of the pastoral genre of the later sixteenth-century, while an unsuspected connection between the "coro di furie" from Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice (1762) and the second-act finale of La fedeltà premiata proves to be much more significant. Haydn uses the tonality, the chromaticism, and the sarabande rhythm articulated by Gluck's furies, while also evoking the austerity of the scene. This parody of Gluck's Orfeo is contrasted with an interpolated section employing Gypsy music or the "style hongrois," which provides a clash between the buffa and seria opera styles. This clash is further reflected in the second-act finale's almost tragic character within the pastoral and opera buffa world of La fedeltà premiata. By quoting from Gluck's famous opera, which would certainly be recognized by his knowledgeable audience at Esterházy, Haydn provides a commentary between texts, and through the juxtaposition of different styles he reveals the comic character behind this apparently serious finale.

Index Classifications: 1700s

Contributed by: Luiz Fernando Lopes

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