5. Letters to Artaria from Boccherini and Joseph Haydn, 1781-82.

These three letters to their mutual publisher in Vienna are the only indication we have of any contact between the two composers; it appears on this evidence to have remained abortive attempts rather than the full-fledged friendship assumed by Gerber, Carpani, Boccherini's obituary, and Choron/Fayolle. In his presentation of this exchange, Speck points out that Boccherini's quintets opp. 10, 11, 13, 18, and 20, and his quartets opp. 2, 8, 9, 15, 22, and 24, had all appeared in print by the time of Haydn's first response, but that there is no evidence among the papers and possessions Haydn left at his death that he owned any copies or prints of any of Boccherini's works.

Febbraio 1781
Spero mi faranno un favore, che io stimerò moltissimo ed è che se alcuno di lor Signori (come e probabile) conoscesse il Signor Giuseppe Haidn, scrittore, da me e da tutti apprezzato al maggior segno, gli offra I miei rispetti, dicendoli che sono uno de i suoi più appassionati stimatori e ammiratori insieme del suo Genio, e Musicali componimenti de quali qui si fà tutto quel apprezzo, che in rigor di Giustizia si meritano.

February 1781
I hope you will do me a favor which I will very much appreciate, which is that if one of your gentlemen, as is probable, is acquainted with the author Signor Joseph Haydn, who is held in the highest esteem by me and by everyone, to offer him my respects, telling him that I am one of the most passionate followers and admirers both of his Genius, and of his Musical compositions, which here receive all that appreciation which in strict Justice they merit.

...übersende zugleich den Brief von Herrn Boccherini, bitte mein gehorsambstes Gegencompliment an denselben. Niemand bey uns weiß mir zu sagen: wo dieser Orth Arenas ligt. Es muß doch unweit Madrid seyn; bitte demnach mir diese zu wissen zu machen, indem ich selbst dem Herrn Boccherini schreiben werde. (...)

[May 27, 1781] I send herewith the letter from Herr Boccherini; please give my most dutiful compliments to him in return. No one here can tell me where this place Arenas is. It must not be far from Madrid; but please let me know this, so that I can write to Herr Boccherini myself.

...übersende demnach beede brief, bedaure nur, daß ich dermahlen an Herrn Boccherini nicht eigenhändig schreiben kann, wollen Sie bey gelegener zeit mein Ergebensten Respect an Hochdemselben übermachen, werden Sie mich verbinden...

[late July 1782]...Accordingly I send both letters, regretting only that I cannot write to Herr Boccherini with my own hand at this time; if you will pay most devoted respects to his honorable self at a convenient time, I shall be obliged to you...