6. Charles Burney and Thomas Twining, correspondence.

Twining, 5-6 July 1783:

(...) Haydn & Boccherini, spoil me for all other fiddle music. Haydn, I think, is much oftener charming than Boccherini. Yet when Boccherini is at his best, there is a force of serious expression, a pathos, that is not so much Haydn's fort, I think. I never see a smile upon Boccherini's face; he is all earnestness, & Tragedy. Haydn leans to Comedy: even in his adagio he is wanton, playful, & never forgets his tricks. – It is, now & then, serious comedy, but seldom, I think, amounts to Tragedy, or even to the Comedie larmoyante. Not that I mean to find fault; he is, to me, delicious, & I wish for nothing better while I am playing him. For variety, and endless resources, I know no composer like him.

Burney, 6 Sept. 1783:

(...) – I love Boccherini, as I have told you before very - very much, but I think I shall live to make you eat your words about his pathetic being superior to Haydn's, whose fort you say is not pathos. I will undertake to prove, however, when we meet, that you have not seen his merit in adagio and Cantabile movements, for want of reading more of his music...

Twining, 22 Oct. 1783:
(...) Sir? – eat my words? – "make me eat my words," I think you said? – I fancy, Sir, you will not find that so easy...(...) as to my words, I scarce know what they were; – but I think I am yet upon firm ground; for I do not say, nor, I verily think I did say, – that Haydn was never pathetic, or that he was always leaning to the comic– but only that, in his general cast & manner, Boccherini is a more serious, earnest composer. All the movements of Haydn you mention, I know very well; I allow them to be very fine,– serious, & pathetic:– but I spake of general style and character only; & it still appears to me that Boccherini's genius is Tragic, & that in Haydn the graceful, the fanciful, the enjoué, the playful &c.– prevails upon the whole. Such is my idea still– not from obstinacy, Dieu scait– but from the impression which these two charming composers make upon my ear & mind (...) I am so far from meaning to disparage Haydn, that were I obliged to give up him, or Boccherini, I do believe I shou'd turn to Haydn in preference. His wonderful variety, & intarissable [inexhaustible] fancy wd turn the scale.

Burney, 10-12 Nov. 1783:

(...) I'll allow that Boccherini is more constantly serious than Haydn– nay that he is always serious & Charming– but in Haydn's works, more serious Compositions in the true gran Gusto, may be selected, than B. has ever produced – & then you have all his fun, fancy, extravagant if you will & Capricious, for Gigantic players, di plus.– God bless 'em both, I say, but if I were forced to part with one of them– I should not hesitate a moment in locking Haydn fast in my Arms, & only sending a sigh after the other.