Choreographing Sensibility: Innocence and Politeness in Haydn's Hob. XVI: 40 and 42

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This article examines the first movements of Haydn's keyboard sonatas Hob. XVI: 40 and 42, composed for and dedicated to Princess Marie Esterházy. The movements are explored alongside the various public portraits of the princess to observe how the music might have helped confirm or reinforce the feminine ideals and behaviours of the eighteenth-century culture of sensibility. The studies of Hob. XVI: 40's Allegretto e innocente and Hob. XVI: 42's Andante con espressione focus respectively on the notions of innocence and politeness. Framed in this way, these works can be heard as a musical choreography of tasteful innocence and politeness in the culture of sensibility-the music, when performed, brings forth an experience similar to reading a sentimental fictional narrative and a chapter in a conduct-book.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)482-506
Number of pages25
JournalMusic and Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Music


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