Uno Duo Trio Quatro
Franz Josef Haydn (1732 - 1809)
- Austrian composer, recognized as a dominant force in the development of the musical style of the classical era (circa 1750-circa 1820). Of humble origins, Haydn was born born into a family of twelve
children in the village of Rohrau, near Vienna, on March 31, 1732 (the same year as George
Washington). When eight years old he was accepted into the choir school of Saint Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna,
where he received his only formal education. Dismissed from the choir at the age of 17, he spent the next several
years as a struggling free-lance musician. He studied on his own the standard textbooks on counterpoint and took
occasional lessons from the noted Italian singing master and composer Nicola Porpora. In 1755 Haydn was engaged
briefly by Baron Karl Josef von Fürnberg, for whom he apparently composed his first string quartets. A more
substantial position followed in 1759, when he was hired as music director by Count Ferdinand Maximilian von
Morzin. Haydn's marriage in 1760 to Maria Anna Keller proved to be unhappy as well as childless.
Career at Esterháza
- The turning point in Haydn's fortunes came in 1761, when he was appointed assistant music director to Prince Pál
Antal Esterházy; he became full director, or Kapellmeister, in 1762. Haydn served under the patronage of three
successive princes of the Esterházy family. The second of these, Pál Antal's brother, Prince Miklós József Esterházy,
was an ardent, cultivated music lover. At Esterháza (Hungarian Eszterháza), his vast summer estate, Prince Miklós
could boast a musical establishment second to none, the management of which made immense demands on its
director. In addition to the symphonies, operas, marionette operettas, masses, chamber pieces, and dance music
that Haydn was expected to compose for the prince's entertainment, he was required to rehearse and conduct
performances of his own and others' works; coach singers; maintain the instrument collection and music library;
perform as organist, violist, and violinist when needed; and settle disputes among the musicians in his charge.
Although he frequently regretted the burdens of his job and the isolation of Esterháza, Haydn's position was
enviable by 18th-century standards. One remarkable aspect of his contract after 1779 was the freedom to sell his
music to publishers and to accept commissions. As a result, much of Haydn's work in the 1780s reached beyond
the guests at Esterháza to a far wider audience, and his fame spread accordingly.
After the death of Prince Miklós in 1790 his son, Prince Antal, greatly reduced the Esterházy musical
establishment. Although Haydn retained his title of Kapellmeister, he was at last free to travel beyond the
environs of Vienna. The enterprising British violinist and impresario Johann Peter Salomon lost no time in
engaging the composer for his concert series in London. Haydn's two trips to England for these concerts, in
1791-92 and 1794-95, were the occasion of the huge success of his last symphonies. Known as the “Salomon”
or “London” symphonies, they include several of his most popular works: Surprise (no. 94), Military (no. 100),
Clock (no. 101), Drum Roll (no. 103), and London (no. 104).
In his late years in Vienna, Haydn turned to writing masses and composed his great oratorios, The Creation
(1798) and The Seasons (1801). From this period also comes his “Emperor's Hymn” (1797), which later became
the Austrian national anthem. He died in Vienna, on May 31, 1809, a famous and wealthy man.
- Haydn was prolific in nearly all genres, vocal and instrumental, sacred and secular. Many of his works were
unknown beyond the walls of Esterháza, most notably the 125 trios and other assorted pieces featuring the
baryton, a hybrid string instrument played by Prince Miklós. Most of Haydn's 19 operas and marionette operettas
were written to accommodate the talents of the Esterháza company as well as the tastes of his prince. Haydn
freely admitted the superiority of the operas of his young friend Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In other categories,
however, his works circulated widely, and his influence was profound. The 107 symphonies and 68 string quartets
that span his career are proof of his ever-fresh approach to thematic materials and form, as well as of his mastery
of instrumentation. His 62 piano sonatas and 43 piano trios document a growth from the easy elegance suitable for
the home music making of amateurs to the public virtuosity of his late works.
Haydn's productivity is matched by his inexhaustible originality. His manner of turning a simple tune or motive into
unexpectedly complex developments was admired by his contemporaries as innovative. Dramatic surprise, often
turned to humorous effect, is characteristic of his style, as is a fondness for folklike melodies. A writer of Haydn's
day described the special appeal of his music as “popular artistry,” and indeed his balance of directness and bold
experiment transformed instrumental expression in the 18th century.
"Haydn, (Franz) Joseph," Microsoft (R) Encarta. Copyright (c) 1994 Microsoft Corporation. Copyright (c) 1994 Funk & Wagnall's Corporation.
When Haydn died at the age of 77 he was a famous and wealthy man.
(Mozart often referred to Haydn's work as.....
the standard by which all chamber music was measured.... )
Here is a very short list of some of his compositions that made him rich and famous.
Compositions for mechanical clock (music box)
- 32 andantes, marches, prestos, allegrettos, menuets, fugues and other compositions,
most of them are composed between 1792 - 1793, some of them
are composed in 1789, others in 1796.
Various orchestra works
- 1. Menuet, trio and final in C, around 1773, partly used in early edition Symphony
- 15. Ouverture 'Windsor Castle', 1795, at Salomons Opera with the same name
- 1. Concert for violone (or contraviolone), lost!
- 13. Concert for trumpet in E flat ('Concerti per il Clarino'), 1796, published
Many Divertimenti ('Cassations') for 2 oboes, 2 French horns, 2
violins, 2 violas, bass, bassoons, and other instruments.
Over 200 Menuets, Counter-dances and German dances from which the copyright is
- 2 marches (in E flat and C), ('Derbyshire'); 1795
- March (in E flat), 1792 for the Prince of Wales, 2 versions
- Marche Regimento de Marshall (in G), around 1772, published 1960
Solo cantatas and arias with orchestra
- 1. Acide, 1763, 'festa teatrale' -1 act
- 13. L'anima del filosofo, ossia orfeo ed euridice, 1791 London
Other theatre works
Haydn composed a lot of music for the puppet-theatre
in Eszterhaza (from 1752 - 1791)
- 1. Der krumme Teufel, 1752, 'Singspiel'
- 25. Hamlet, music for the Shakespeare-play (lost!)