How much shelf space for the complete Haydn?

How much shelf space for the complete Haydn?

Album Of The Week

norman lebrecht

March 21, 2022

Henle Verlag have reached the last pages of its complete Haydn edition.

Quiz question: how many volumes?

Haydn wrote a helluva lot of symphonies (106) and string quartets (68) over more than 60 years.

Final answer: 113.


  • Herbie G says:

    If the edition takes up all that shelf space, what about the inevitable complete works on CD – due in 2032 to celebrate the tercentenery of his birth?

    If you buy these, they will be delivered by pantechnicon and manoeuvred into your sitting room by fork-lift trucks. The following morning, your sitting room will be the basement!

  • Hooray for Haydn!

    And hurray for his employers who gave him the opportunity to be so productive.

  • fflambeau says:

    Most Haydn symphonies are very short; around 10 minutes. They are also very forgettable as is “The Creation” (dull and unimaginative). Gimmicks assigned by writers are necessary to keep account of the symphonies. His best work is his small group work and piano repertoire. Toss the rest.

    • bgn says:

      They seem like only 10 minutes each, even though they’re generally between 20 and 30 minutes depending on what repeats you take. That they seem shorter than they are should count as some kind of achievement.

    • Anonymous says:

      The fact that you think that most Haydn symphonies last ten minutes shows that your opinion is not very informed and not to be paid attention to. Obviously, there is a certain subjectivity in musical taste, but your view that The Creation is unimaginative is confined to a relatively small number of music lovers.

    • Stuart says:

      Your opening statement is inaccurate which calls into question the value of the rest of your wayward opinion. There is a lot of lesser Haydn (the operas, for example) but to call out the symphonies and The Creation in this way must be considered an uninformed opinion. “small group work”? Is that where you classify the string quartets? Have you explored any of the masses – several of them are extraordinary.

    • David K. Nelson says:

      I don’t share fflambeau’s overall low regard for the Haydn symphonies but will grant him this: that Haydn can’t be completely absolved of an accusation that from time to time he wrote the same symphony more than once, at least, up until you get to, say, the Paris symphonies, just as Arthur Conan Doyle cannot be absolved of the charge of writing the same Sherlock Holmes story more than once.

      Where I part company from fflambeau is that to my mind even the symphonies that seems like cosmic twins are still very good music.

  • Rob Keeley says:

    Bravo Henlé!! I can’t think of anything more worth owning, if only one had the space – and the money! Haydn’s music (at its best – I could probably get by without every single baryton trio and cassation!) is an endless source of inventiveness, solace and sanity in an increasingly made world. Hats off the Papa Haydn!

  • Ernie says:

    Great! Waiting to download it all to my iPad

  • BigSir says:

    A true labor of love. Gotta respect it!

  • Alan says:

    It depends if you buy the box sets. I have the complete symphonies and concertos which take up about a foot in width.