Frederick Reece.

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December 1993: the most incredible and tortuous hoax on Haydn's lost works.

As Reece very well put,... but why a hoax on Haydn's lost works?
       What are the deep reasons for elaborating such a complicated and industrious form of forgery, which, moreover, has a scarce value in financial terms, if one rather considers the exceptionally much more lucrative profits derived by the activity of forging oil paintings, for example?
       It must be said that the forgery of Haydn's lost works must surely have some obscure and appealing attractiveness of its own, being the cases of Haydnian forgeries and of Haydnian doubtful works always particularly clamorous, so to say.
       Beside the 6 lost Sonatas of 1993, let's remember here also the cases of the Cello Concerto No. 5 and of the mysterious Clarinet Concertos of doubtful origin.
       In his strictly analytical approach, Reece studies every aspects of this famous 1993 affair of the pseudo-Haydn Westphalian Manuscript, a case involving also great musicologists, musicians and music institutions such as H.C. Robbins Landon, Eva and Paul Badura-Skoda and the Joseph Haydn Institute of Cologne.
       Reece reconstructs the story behind Michel's forgery in details, starting with the amazing music works published under the fake name of certain fake Baroque authors such as Tomesini and Simonetti, who never existed, because both invented by Michel himself. Then Reece treats the incredible story of the reappearance of the lost sonatas by Haydn and the role of the Badura-Skodas in all this. And Reece offers also a formal treatment of the act of forgery itself and its psychological and social implications, seen in a desperate quest for the so called missing link.

They do not sound so bad...
A particularly interesting part is the analysis of the music of the pseudo-Haydnian scores, to understand how Michel actually conceived it, starting just from the few original still surviving bars. And what's incredible, and what created much confusion, after all, such spurious Haydnian sonatas by Michel do not sound so bad...
       In conclusion, the article by Reece is completed by Reece's interesting personal account of his personal correspondence with Michel himself, trying to understand the reasons and the facts behind such hoax (but now transformed by Michel, after ca. 30 years, into just an attempt of completion of some Haydn's surviving musical material).
       As Reece points out (and to paraphrase the Latin sentence nomina nuda tenemus), the only real music bars originally written by Haydn we still have today are those still surviving as four measures incipits in the Entwurfkatalog, or draft catalogue (Hob. XVI:2a–e and 2g–h)... and nothing else... nomina.  

Read the complete article by F. Reece (

Composing Authority in Six Forged "Haydn" Sonatas

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