Stephen C. Fisher

About the Participants

Stephen C. Fisher


Stephen C. Fisher received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, with a dissertation on Haydn overtures.  His later work has continued to focus on the symphony and allied genres in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Publications include numerous scholarly journals and conference reports, with articles in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and the New Grove Dictionary of Opera.  Fisher also edited the works of Anton Eberl, Antoine Reicha and Friedrich Witt for the series The Symphony, 1720-1840, and served for four years as a staff editor for Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: The Complete Works, where he helped see all of Bach’s authenticated symphonies into print.  He was the principal editor of Joseph Haydn Werke, Series I, Volume 9: the Symphonies of 1778-79, and is currently editing the 10th volume of this series and a volume of C.P.E. Bach’s sonatinas for keyboard and orchestra.  

Conference Paper: “How Did Haydn Use His Hornists?”

  • Abstract:
    • Although the great majority of Haydn’s scores contain only two horn parts, the payrolls of the Esterházy court during his tenure there consistently show a larger number of players on the roster, at times as many as six.  We know that in symphonic performances the extra hornists were sometimes used as violinists, though they were not particularly strong players on the other instrument.  Why did the court employ them?

      Certainly some of the hornists played for hunts, for the Eisenstadt church ensemble, and for the Prince’s military band in addition to their duties in Haydn’s Kapelle.  An additional possibility can be added.  Following a suggestion by Bertil H. van Boer, Jr., this paper will propose that “extra” players were required for operatic performances in which two pairs of horns were used in alternation.  The two pairs never played together; one pair was always resting, dumping saliva, and changing crooks in order to be ready to come in fresh in the appropriate key in the next number.  Haydn was certainly aware of the possibility, for in three movements of Symphony no. 39 he employs two pairs of horns in different keys essentially in this fashion.  The paper will consider the implications of this for the performances of Haydn’s operas and its possible ramifications for his other music.