Joseph Haydn was a classical composer whose music flourished in the United States from 1770 to the 1830s in the Moravian communities in Pennsylvania and North Carolina. The Moravians looked at this music as an educational tool in schools and churches.
Professor of Music Kathleen Lamkin shared her knowledge of the topic in her faculty lecture, titled “Haydn’s Heritage and Reception in the Moravian Communities of North America,” on Monday in the President’s Dining Room.
Lamkin’s interest in the subject stems from her family background in the Moravian culture. Three of her grandparents were Moravian and when Lamkin was asked to lecture on the topic, she was thrilled.
“The Moravians took root in American colonies during the revolution,” Lamkin said. “They saw Haydn as well as other classical composers’ music as a form to educate their children in school.”
The Moravians saw music as an essential part to the life of their community, which was filled with exceptional musicians and copyists, Lamkin said.
Copyists were composers who were taught how to create musical pieces by copying the work of profound composers and then creating their own masterpieces.
“The Moravians came from Germany in the early 18th century as missionaries and founded three churches in Pennsylvania and three in North Carolina,” Lamkin said.
One famous copyist of Haydn’s was Johann Friedrich Peter from Holland. He held a variety of occupations, including clerk, teacher and composer.
“Peter is one of the most well-known copyists of Haydn’s work because he was always accurate,” Lamkin said. “Peter was also an outstanding composer because of his work as a copyist.”
Thanks to the many copyists, the music of Haydn and other classical composers was made available to the Moravian communities.
This music was performed at many venues for the Moravians to enjoy as a part of their daily lives.
“Between the years of 1797 and 1836, 241 concerts were performed for the Moravians,” Lamkin said. “This music was a major part of their everyday lives, educationally and for enjoyment.”
There were many famous guests who also attended these concerts such as George and Martha Washington, Benjamin Franklin and John Hancock.
“George Washington would request a musical accompaniment with his dinner while he was visiting these communities,” Lamkin said. “They even had the Washington room which became a venue for chamber music.”
“It is interesting just how important copyists were in this time,” Associate Professor of English David Werner said. “The accuracy of the copyists was very important to the people of the time so they could enjoy the music.”
At the end of the lecture, Lamkin played a piece by Haydn for those in attendance so they could get a taste of the music, Lamkin said.
“I liked the way that she spoke and that she played music at the end of the lecture,” junior speech communication and English major Brittany Martinez said. “This lecture was a lot more interesting than other ones I have been to.”
Lamkin showed slides of original copies of Haydn’s work by Peter, which helped show the significance of the music and the art of copying in that time.
Brianna Means can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.