Brief History of Joseph Haydn

Joseph Haydn as portrayed by Thomas Hardy, 1792Image via Wikipedia
(Text in Large Print for Classroom Projection)

Joseph Haydn

Born in Austria in 1732 (lived till 1809). His father was an amateur musician who encouraged the young Hadyn to cultivate his obvious musical talents. Hadyn sang in the Cathedral of St. Stephen as a young boy until he reached puberty. Once he aged out of the choir, he struggled over the next decade to make ends meet. He taught lessons, performed, and eventually got a great gig with the famous Esterhazy family, a Hungarian family of nobles both powerful and extremely wealthy. Haydn's position as composer was considered a servant position. He was employed by his patron and had to compose music that his patron wished, as well as manage the usual music director duties of conducting, teaching music, and basic music management.

Haydn "Creation" The Heaven's Are Telling

The Esterhazy family lived in a magnificent estate. There many palaces also had a private opera house, concert halls, and even a theater and gave the composer hundreds of opportunities to have his works performed. Hadyn gained fame all throughout Europe and influenced other Classical Era geniuses like Mozart and Beethoven with his work. Mozart and Hadyn cultivated a wonderful friendship. Although Mozart was significantly younger than Hadyn, they each admired and respected each other's works. (At one point, Hadyn gave Beethoven lessons. However, the two clashed badly and the relationship ended quickly).

When the Esterhazy family ascended to the throne of Hungary, Hadyn regained his fame and remained content the rest of his years to compose large scale choral works.

Hadyn wrote 104 symphonies, which he mastered, as well a possibly being the creator of the string quartet. He wrote string quartets, symphonies, concertos, oratorios, masses, piano sonatas, and operas throughout his illustrious career.

Source: Roger Kamien "An Appreciation of Music"
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