In the 1780s, Haydn published two sets of Lieder (songs). The first set of twelve folk-songs was published by Artaria in 1781, and the second set in 1784. Both sets were published on two staves, since the vocal line was replicated in the right hand of the piano.
From this fact and the simple rhythms and harmonies of these works, music scholars have deduced the works were written for the amateur performers who showcased their talents in the musical salons that were becoming something of a trend in Viennese society at the time.
Publishers and composers alike catered to this burgeoning market of amateur musicians. And Haydn, a household name by this time, would have been much in demand—both for his presence and his music. Haydn enjoyed interacting with music lovers and amateur performers. Most scholars believe the decision to replicate the vocal line in the right hand of the piano was to aid the singer.
But I am convinced, Haydn was thinking of the amateur pianist. From his contact with amateur pianists, he would have realized that it is far more pleasurable to play an instrumental version of a song that incorporates its melody rather than an accompaniment that provides no more than harmonic support to the vocal line.
One of his correspondents, Marianne von Genzinger, the wife of the Esterházy court physician, frequently transcribed his symphonies for piano, always sending Haydn a copy of her efforts. Haydn would look these over, returning them with his comments.
He, in turn, sent her works for keyboard, and eagerly awaited her own remarks as to their difficulty. When in Vienna, he often attended the musical soirées that she organized, and took great interest in her children’s musical education.
Another music-loving friend was Franz Sales von Greiner, a Habsburg court official whose musical salons attracted composers such as Mozart and Salieri, in addition to Haydn. It was Greiner who advised Haydn on the choice of texts to set to music for his sets of Lieder.
I have often wondered whether he did not look back on those years of struggle in Vienna, when it must have seemed that his dreams were:
Waiting for [him]; ghosts with no home.
Yearning to be; destined to roam.
While he was still struggling to gain a foothold in the musical world, his middle brother Michael had already secured a good position with the Bishop of Grosswardein in Hungary. Later Michael would move on to the Archbishop of Salzburg where he would encounter the Mozarts, father and son.
Haydn’s parents, his mother, in particular, was anxious for him to go into the church, which would have provided a secure living to one of his musical talents. Fortunately, Haydn resisted, always believing that his dreams were:
Waiting for [him]; ghosts that still roam.
Yearning to be; they’ll find a home.
They’ll find a home.
And, it’s in this spirit that I offer up “Ghosts with no Home,” a song for cello and piano. Although cello takes the vocal line, it is, as in Haydn’s Lieder, replicated in the top part of the piano. To listen to the piece, click on the link—Ghosts with no Home.
The score is up on http://ntustin.musicaneo.com/sheetmusic/