Obituary: Musicologist H. C. Robbins Landon, 83

Posted on: November 30, 2009

In Thursday’s (11/26) New York Times, Allan Kozinn writes, “H. C. Robbins Landon, an American musicologist whose research helped to restore many of Haydn’s works to the active repertory after more than a century of neglect, and whose popular books about Mozart countered many popular myths about that composer’s life, died on Friday at Rabastens, near Toulouse, France. He was 83. … He published a useful introduction to the life and music of Handel, ‘Handel and His World’ (1984), as well as five books about Mozart, published between 1988 and 1995. In ‘1791: Mozart’s Last Year,’ he dismissed the notions, popularized in Peter Shaffer’s 1979 play, ‘Amadeus’ (and the 1984 movie), that Mozart had been poisoned, that he had a fraught relationship with the composer Antonio Salieri, and that his Requiem was commissioned by a mysterious stranger. But Mr. Landon’s true life’s work was bringing Haydn and his music fully into the spotlight. … Mr. Landon began by editing critical editions of Haydn’s works in the ’40s, and in 1955 he published ‘The Symphonies of Joseph Haydn,’ which established the works’ chronology. He also published critical editions of Haydn’s masses and operas, many of which had not been performed in modern times.”

Posted November 30, 2009