Robert Armstead, bass-baritone
Melinda Coffey Armstead, piano & organ
Adagio for the Glass Armonica . . . Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Pieces for a Musical Clock . . . Franz Josef Haydn (1736-1809)
Song of the Quail
Allegretto in G
How Lovely Are Thy Dwellings. . . Samuel Liddle (1868-1935)
words from Psalm 84
Allegretto in F for a Musical Clock . . . F. J. Haydn
Haydn wrote 32 miniatures for musical clocks built by his pupil and friend, Pater Primitivus Niemecz, librarian to Haydn’s patron Prince Esterhazy. The pieces are charming dance movements and songs with bird-like ornamentation of their melodies. The clocks were actually tiny mechanical organs consisting of a single rank of flute-toned four-foot pipes. A timing mechanism activated a bellows and rotated a cylinder into which pegs had been inserted like a music box. These pegs opened pallets that allowed wind to enter the desired pipes, an early form of a programmable computer except without the bugs, which nobody thought of until two centuries later.
Haydn and his pupil were obviously fascinated by time. However I already covered this topic next year in a definitive Music Box on time reversal, so there’s no point repeating it here.
I want to remind you of a child’s definition of time, which has never been surpassed: it is what keeps everything from happening at once.