Haydn, Joseph. (1732–1809) & Haydn, Michael. (1737-1806) & Führer, Robert. (1807–1861) [Beethoven, Ludwig van. (1770–1827)]

2 Regina Coelis - Musical Manuscript

Set of manuscript parts for 2 settings of the Regina coeli for voices and orchestra. The first setting, in C major, is attributed to Joseph or Michael Haydn (variously; not corresponding to any of the Haydn Regina Coelis listed in RISM) and the second, in D major, to Robert Führer. Single covering sheet with title, parts, and composers in one hand, and extensive note in red ink in a later hand. Heavy edge wear and toning to all parts, but overall in very good condition. 10 x 13 inches (25 x 33 cm). 

Parts, each single sheet double-sided with setting in C to recto and setting in D to verso: soprano (2 parts); alto; tenor; bass; violin 1 (2 parts); violin 2; violono [violone or violoncello?]; flute; clarinet 1/oboe 1; clarinet 2/oboe 2; horn 1; horn 2; flugelhorn; baritone horn; timpani; organ continuo. 36 pp. total. The parts show signs of contemporary use, with some bearing additional music in pencil at the foot; a flute part for a Tantum Ergo by another composer has been added at the foot of the timpani part. Some of the parts have been signed "Kreitmayr."

The manuscript notes in red ink on the covering sheet and on each page of music claim to identify this manuscript as an autograph in Beethoven's hand. The note to the covering sheet reads (translated from the German): "Beethoven's autographs reveal themselves, despite their differences, primarily through his forgetfulness, as he has attributed no. 1 first to Michael Haydn and then to Josef Haydn. [In] no. 2, the well-known "Vi–de" has been added afterwards in purple ink not by Robert Führer, but rather by Beethoven himself in his lifetime, on the rastrum-lined manuscript paper." This final remark refers to a small insertion of one bar, made in one of the two Violin 1 parts and marked "vi-de" in purple ink, which has been labeled in red ink. There is a shorter note in the same red ink to the foot of every page; the version for the recto pages reads (translated from German): "Jos. Haydn [or: Michael Haydn] but still Beethoven's handwriting December 2, 1896." The version for the verso pages reads: "Allegedly R. Führer, but still Beethoven's handwriting December 2, 1896." 

The ascription of this manuscript to Beethoven is, at best, wishful thinking and, at worst, fraudulent; most likely, the person entering these notes was simply deluded. Even if the style of the handwriting resembled Beethoven's, which it does not, flugelhorns and baritone horns did not exist in Beethoven's lifetime. Their parts could have only been added later by someone else. However, all parts are in the same hand. The part set most likely dates from the mid-to-late nineteenth century.

Robert Führer's authorship of the Regina coeli in D is confirmed by other manuscripts; the standard catalog of his works lists it as Regina coeli in D major (KolF 110). The Czech National Library in Prague has a part set (shelf mark 59 R 4394; RISM ID 550505025), as do the Hluboka church in Český Krumlov (shelfmark 1466; RISM ID 1001155198) and St. Ignace church in Březnice (shelf mark 223; RISM ID: 550269073). These other parts sets are sometimes for different forces (no flugelhorns and baritone horns in particular), but the soprano incipit is always the same. Maybe the ascription to Beethoven was inspired by the fact that Führer tried to pass off Franz Schubert's Mass no. 2 in G as his own in 1846. 

The question of the authorship of the C-major setting remains open. The RISM database does not list any concordant manuscripts. But authorship of either Haydn brother does not seem likely.

Robert Führer was a Bohemian (Czech) organist and composer. A criminal history hampered and finally destroyed his career after an auspicious beginning at the St. Vitus cathedral in Prague. He died as a homeless person. Still, some of his sacred music enjoyed popularity in the nineteenth century. (15927)

Manuscript Music
Classical Music