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Franz Joseph Haydn

Franz Joseph Haydn

The Austrian composer Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) in his instrumental music, especially the symphonies and string quartets, essentially founded and brought to first mature realization the formal and structural principles of the classical style.

Joseph Haydn virtually created the classical formal structures of the string quartet and symphony, which were developed later by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven. He participated in the development of other forms of 18th-century instrumental music, in addition to composing prolifically in the fields of sacred music, opera, and song. Throughout a lifetime of experimentation he developed in the quartet and symphony a fully mature classical tonal idiom, characterized externally by the four-movement structure (allegro, slow movement, minuet and trio, and finale) of the majority of these works and internally by emphasis on thematic and motivic development within a balanced tonal framework. Haydn evolved a tonal language that exhibited a gradual growth toward contrapuntal complexity and a vast range of expression in comparison to the technical simplicity and expressive triviality of much mid-18th-century instrumental music of the style galant.

Haydn was born in Rohrau, Lower Austria, on March 31, 1732. At the age of 8 he became a choirboy at the Cathedral of St. Stephen's in Vienna, remaining there until his dismissal in 1749. By his own account his early years were largely given to self-instruction in music: he developed some facility as a violinist and keyboard player (but he was never a virtuoso performer); he studied briefly with the Italian opera composer and singing master Niccolò Porpora; and he became thoroughly acquainted with Viennese musical life of the period 1740-1760 and knew its leading figures.

Haydn made his first attempts at composition; as he later described them, "I wrote industriously but not quite correctly." His early works included a Singspiel entitled Der krumme Teufel (1752), a few keyboard sonatas and trios, and his first string quartet, written during the 1750s. This first period of his development concluded with 2 years (1758-1760) in private service in Bohemia, during which he evidently composed his first symphony (generally dated 1759).

In Service of Esterházy Family

In 1761 Haydn entered the private service of the noble Hungarian Esterházy family, serving under Prince Paul Esterházy and then, on his death in 1762, under Prince Nicholas. Haydn embarked on the longest and most productive period of private service at a single court enjoyed by any major composer of the 18th century and perhaps of the entire epoch of court patronage of musicians. He remained in the Esterházy service until 1790. At first he held the post of vice kapellmeister, or conductor. In 1766 Prince Nicholas opened a new estate at Esterházy (the previous one had been at Eisenstadt), and that year, on the death of Gregor Werner, Haydn was promoted to kapellmeister.

Haydn was in charge of the musical forces of the court, which included an orchestra of 12 musicians and a group of singers. His duties were to provide two operas and two concerts a week plus a Sunday Mass and whatever additional music might be wanted. Under these conditions his productivity and originality were equally remarkable. As he described it in a famous statement: "As head of an orchestra I could experiment, observe what heightened the effect and what weakened it, and so could improve, expand, cut, take risks; I was cut off from the world, there was no one near me to torment me or make me doubt myself, and so I had to become original."

During the 3 decades of his Esterházy service Haydn's output was prodigious. By 1770 he had produced some 40 symphonies, the quartets up to the six of Opus 9 (1769), much chamber music for baryton (an instrument of the viol family, played by Prince Nicholas), several concertos, operas, keyboard music, and his first Masses. During the period 1771-1780 (called by some biographers his "romantic" period) his music deepened in seriousness and elaborative richness, and he struck out in new paths; as one biographer, E.L. Gerber, put it in 1812: "Haydn's finest symphonic period begins with the year 1770 and from then on gains each year in magnificence." From 1771 and 1772 come the 12 quartets of Opus 17 and Opus 20, with special importance attaching to the latter group, several of which have fugal finales; about 30 more symphonies, including the Mourning Symphony, No. 44, and the Farewell, No. 45 (1772); and about 18 keyboard sonatas, 6 operas and other dramatic music, and two Masses.

Friendship with Mozart

During his last decade in private service, a most important influence on Haydn's music arose from his contact with Mozart. This relationship dates from the time Mozart took up residence in Vienna in 1781; in the next years Haydn came to know him during his trips to Vienna, and they admired each other's music beyond that of any other contemporary. Haydn commented often on Mozart's remarkable gifts and complained bitterly over the lack of recognition and the absence of any permanent post for Mozart comparable to the one Haydn enjoyed. When an official of Prague asked him for an opera in 1787, 2 months after the premiere of Mozart's Don Giovanni there, Haydn declined, saying in part: "It is hardly possible for anyone to stand beside the great Mozart. For if I could impress Mozart's inimitable works as deeply, and with that musical understanding and keen feeling with which I myself grasp and feel them, upon the soul of every music lover … the nations would compete for the possession of such a jewel within their borders."

Haydn's major works of this period seemed to his younger contemporaries to show a considerable influence of Mozart's mature style, and the relationship was openly reciprocal. In this decade Haydn produced about 20 symphonies, including the 6 Paris Symphonies, Nos. 82-87 (1786), and the Oxford Symphony, No. 92 (1788). He also produced the 25 quartets constituting Opus 33 (1781), "written in a new and special manner"; Opus 42 (1785); Opus 50 (1787); Opus 54 and Opus 55 (1789); and Opus 64 (1790). His reputation had by now spread throughout Europe, despite his isolation, owing in part to his being regularly published by a leading Viennese music publisher, Artaria.

Last Years

In 1791 the death of Prince Nicholas freed Haydn from private service, and he embarked on the last and most international phase of his career. He made his first visit to England, at the invitation of the impresario J. P. Salomon, to give concerts of his own works. This visit was a triumph in every respect: Haydn was awarded a degree by Oxford University, met and was honored by members of English society, and gave a highly successful series of concerts. In 1792 he returned to the Continent, passing through Bonn, where he met the young Beethoven, who became his pupil in Vienna. In 1794 he returned to London for another successful tour, then in 1795 settled in Vienna for good. In these years of his travels to England, Haydn, already in his sixties, produced many of his finest late works: his 12 last and greatest symphonies, Nos. 93-104, called the London Symphonies, and the last of his piano trios and piano sonatas.

In 1795-1800, on his return to the Continent, Haydn not only continued his extraordinary productivity but turned once again in a new and progressive direction as a composer. The quartets of Opus 71 belong to 1793; the six of Opus 76 (including the Emperor and Sunrise Quartets) were composed as late as 1797-1798; and the final quartets of Opus 77, Nos. 1 and 2, and the unfinished Opus 103 come from 1799 and 1803. In 1797 Haydn wrote the "Kaiser-Hymn" as a deliberately patriotic gesture in time of war, and it became, as he intended that it should, the Austrian national anthem. In 1796-1798 he set to work on the first of his two final major works—the oratorios The Creation and The Seasons.

The Oratorios

The Creation was based on a German translation by Baron Gottfried van Swieten of an anonymous English oratorio libretto that had been prepared for George Frederick Handel and was based on John Milton's Paradise Lost. With this work Haydn produced a work deliberately planned on the grand scale, based on a religious subject but freely developed in content, for solo voices, chorus, and orchestra. The work as a whole set him at once in the great tradition of oratorio that he had come to know in Handel's works during his visits to England. Although the strain of writing The Creation virtually exhausted him, Haydn in 1800 set to work on another oratorio of similar magnitude: The Seasons, again with libretto by Van Swieten based on James Thomson's poem.

In these oratorios Haydn came as close as he was ever to come to matching Mozart's sense of dramatic action articulated through music. Neither oratorio is truly a stage work, but both have strong elements of the dramatic and the pictorial, and at times have musicodramatic moments of the highest order. Among these is the entire first part of The Creation, beginning with a representation of "Chaos" as orchestral introduction, and then narrating the creation of the world. After the first recitative the chorus enters sotto voce with the words "And the spirit of God moved upon the waters; and God said, 'Let there be light."' The arrival of the chorus at a fortissimo climax on the word "light" electrified the audiences of Haydn's time, and at his last appearance in public before his death in Vienna on May 31, 1809, at a performance of The Creation in 1808 given as a tribute to him, he rose at this point and attributed, in effect, all his creative ability to divine power.

Enormous Output

Haydn's output was so large that at the end of his life he himself could not be absolutely sure how many works he had written. The problems of compiling an accurate catalog of his works, sorting out spurious compositions, and producing an accurate and complete edition have still not been solved. For example, the six string quartets of Opus 3 have been attributed on good grounds to a minor contemporary named Hoffstetter, whose name appeared on the title page of the original edition but was effaced and replaced with that of Haydn.

But the essential mass of Haydn's output remains unshakable in its attribution to him, and it is of formidable proportions: 104 symphonies; 78 string quartets (omitting Opus 3 and counting as separate items the seven movements of The Seven Last Words of Christ as arranged for quartet); numerous concertos for keyboard, violin, and violoncello; over 125 baryton trios; numerous divertimenti for winds and for mixed ensembles; 52 keyboard sonatas; over 30 piano trios; 12 Masses and a number of other sacred works; approximately 13 operas; and arias and songs.

Further Reading

A valuable primary source is The Collected Correspondence and London Notebooks of Joseph Haydn, edited by H. C. Robbins London (1959). The most important early biographies of Haydn are those by G.A. Griesinger (1809) and A.C. Dies (1810), both based on interviews with Haydn in his last years and available in English translation by Vernon Gotwals, Joseph Haydn: Eighteenth-Century Gentleman and Genius (1963). Modern biographies include K. Geiringer, Haydn: A Creative Life in Music (1946; 2d rev. ed. 1963), and Rosemary Hughes, Haydn (1950). Major studies in English on sectors of Haydn's work are few. Excellent contributions are H.C. Robbins Landon, The Symphonies of Joseph Haydn (1955), and D. F. Tovey, "Haydn's Chamber Music, " in his The Main Stream of Music and Other Essays (1949). Perceptive analytic studies of a number of works are in Felix Salzer, Structural Hearing: Tonal Coherence in Music (2 vols., 1952).

Additional Sources

Bobillier, Marie, Haydn, Freeport, N.Y.: Books for Libraries Press 1972; New York: B. Blom, 1972.

Butterworth, Neil, Haydn: his life and times, Tunbridge Wells, Eng.: Midas Books, 1977.

Geiringer, Karl, Haydn: a creative life in music, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982.

Greene, Carol, Franz Joseph Haydn: great man of music, Chicago: Children's Press, 1994.

Landon, H. C. Robbins (Howard Chandler Robbins), Haydn: chronicle and works, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1976-1980.

Landon, H. C. Robbins (Howard Chandler Robbins), Haydn: chronicle and works, London: Thames and Hudson, 1976-c1980.

Landon, H. C. Robbins (Howard Chandler Robbins), Haydn: his life and music, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1988.

Landon, H. C. Robbins (Howard Chandler Robbins), Haydn, a documentary study, New York: Rizzoli, 1981.

Lasker, David., The boy who loved music, New York: Viking Press, 1979.

Thompson, Wendy, Joseph Haydn, New York: Viking, 1991.

Vignal, Marc, Joseph Haydn, Paris: Fayard, 1988. □

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Haydn, Franz Joseph

Haydn, Franz Joseph (b Rohrau, 1732; d Vienna, 1809). Austrian-born composer of pure Ger. stock. The son of a farmer-wheelwright, Haydn showed immediate mus. precocity and at the age of 5 was given into the care of a Hainburg schoolmaster called Franck, who taught him the rudiments of mus. At 8 went to Vienna as choirboy at St Stephen's. When his v. broke at 17, he lived in poverty as a teacher and became accompanist and servant to the It. composer and teacher Porpora. He worked for two aristocratic patrons in 1750s, and in 1761 was engaged as vice-Kapellmeister at Eisenstadt, Hungary, by Prince Paul Esterházy. Haydn remained with the Esterházy household for 30 years, for both Prince Paul and his successor Prince Nikolaus, who reigned from 1762 to 1790, were passionate mus.-lovers. In 1766 Nikolaus built the palace of Eszterháza (modelled on Versailles) on the south side of the Neusiedlersee, spending the greater part of each year in this isolated home. Haydn's art benefited from this seclusion. ‘There was no one near to confuse me, so I was forced to become original’, he said. His duties were numerous; besides administrative work and caring for the court musicians, he cond. the orchestra, arr. and dir. operatic perfs., played in chamber mus., and produced a stream of works in many genres, incl. incidental mus. for plays, to please his patron. Haydn's fame spread from Eszterháza throughout Austria, Ger., and It. as his syms. were pubd. Fr. edns. of his works began to appear in the 1760s and later in London. In 1785 he was commissioned by Cadiz to compose an oratorio without words on the Saviour's 7 Last Words, and by the Parisian soc. Concert de la Loge Olympique to compose 6 syms. By this time he had become friends with Mozart, for whom he had the highest admiration. Their works from this date (1781) betray mutual influence. Haydn's life at Eszterháza ended in 1790 when Prince Nikolaus died and his successor dismissed the musicians, though leaving Haydn his salary and title. Haydn left the castle for Vienna where he accepted an invitation from the impresario J. P. Salomon to visit London. He stayed in England from 1 Jan. 1791 to the middle of 1792, being fêted, lionized, and entertained by royalty. He comp. syms. 93–98 on this visit, when he was deeply impressed by the 1791 Handel Fest. in Westminster Abbey. In July 1791 the hon. degree of D.Mus. was conferred on him by Oxford Univ. On his return to Vienna he bought a house there and accepted Beethoven as a pupil, an uneasy relationship for both great men. In 1794 he visited Eng. again, having been commissioned by Salomon to write 6 new syms. This 2nd visit lasted from Feb. 1794 to Aug. 1795 and was even more successful artistically and, especially, financially than the first. The Esterházy family had now reconstituted their mus. est., but Haydn comp. only for special occasions and was allowed to concentrate on his work as a composer. Between 1796 and 1802 he wrote 6 magnificent settings of the Mass. In 1797 he comp. his Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser, which was adopted as Austria's nat. anthem. But his chief pre-occupation at this time was his oratorio Die Schöpfung (The Creation), f.p. privately in Vienna, 1798. This was followed by Die Jahreszeiten (The Seasons), f.p. 1801. From then on, Haydn's health began to fail and, though he made several more public appearances, he died during the Fr. occupation of Vienna.

If Haydn's life was comparatively uneventful, his vast output of mus. is notable for the number of delights and surprises contained in almost every work. Yet though the number and magnitude of Haydn masterpieces are constantly amazing, his mus. for long failed to exert as powerful a sway over the public as that of Mozart and Beethoven. He is regarded as the ‘father’ of the sym. (which he was not) and of the str. qt., but some treasurable Haydn lies in his vocal mus., in his oratorios, masses, and in his operas (which are still in process of re-discovery). In all his mus. his inventive flair seems inexhaustible. He delighted in exploiting the capabilities of solo instr. and virtuoso performers, and every genre in which he worked he enlarged, extended, and re-shaped. The syms. are a remarkable example of his development of a particular form, hallmarked by deep feeling, drama, elegance, wit, and, in the final 12, a Mozartian perfection of all these qualities combined. But much the same can be said of the qts. and masses; nor should the kbd. sonatas be overlooked.

The cataloguing of Haydn's works has been the object of considerable scholarship. It was begun in 1766 by Haydn himself, aided by the Esterházy court copyist Joseph Elssler, whose son Johann (1769–1843) later became Haydn's copyist and faithful servant. Haydn worked on this list until about 1805. Pohl prepared a MS catalogue, and for the Breitkopf and Härtel complete edn. Mandyczewski assembled his list of 104 syms. (omitting 3 now acknowledged as such). Modern scholarship, led by H. C. Robbins Landon, has amended this list, and a thematic catalogue has been ed. by Hoboken in which works are given Hob. nos. in the manner of Köchel's Mozart catalogue.

Haydn's works are too numerous to be listed in full detail. The following is a concise list of the prin. comps.:OPERAS: 20 were comp., some of the first being lost. The extant 15 incl. La Canterina (1766); Lo Speziale (1768); Le Pescatrici (1769); L'infedeltà delusa (1773); L'incontro improvviso (1775); Il mondo della luna (1777); La vera costanza (1777–8, rev. 1785); L'isola disabitata (1779, rev. 1802); La fedeltà premiata (1780, rev. 1782); Orlando Paladino (1782); Armida (1783); Orfeo ed Euridice (1791); also 5 puppet operas incl. Philemon und Baucis (1773) and Dido (1776).MASSES: No.1 in F (Missa brevis) (1750); No.2 in E♭ (Grosse Orgelmesse) (1766); No.3 in C (St Cecilia) (1776); No.4 in G (1772); No.5 in B♭ (Kleine Orgelmesse) (c.1775); No.6 in C (Mariazellermesse) (1782); No.7 in C (In tempore belli—Paukenmesse) (1796); No.8 in B♭ (Heiligmesse) (1796); No.9 in D minor (Nelson) (1798); No.10 in B♭ (Theresien-messe) (1799); No.11 in B♭ (Schöpfungsmesse) (1801); No.12 in B♭ (Harmoniemesse) (1802). Also Mass in G (c.1750).CANTATAS & ORATORIOS: Stabat Mater (1767); Applausus (1768); Il Ritorno di Tobia (1774–5); Die sieben letzten Worte unseres Erlösers am Kreuz (The Seven Last Words of Our Saviour on the Cross, 1st version (str. qt.) 1785, choral version 1795–6); Die Schöpfung (The Creation) (1796–8); Die Jahreszeiten (The Seasons) (1799–1801).SYMPHONIES: Nos. 1–5 (1757); No.6 in D (Le Matin), No.7 in C (Le Midi), No.8 in G (Le Soir) (c.1761); No.9 in C (c.1762); No.10 in D (c.1761); No.11 in E♭ (c.1760); No.12 in E, No.13 in D (1763); No.14 in A, No.15 in D (1764); No.16 in B♭, No.17 in F, No.18 in G, No.19 in D, No.20 in C (all before 1766, prob. 1761–2); No.21 in A, No.22 in E♭ (The Philosopher), No. 23 in G, No.24 in D (1764); No.25 in C (c.1761–3); No.26 in D minor (Lamentatione) (c.1770); No.27 in G (c.1760); No.28 in A, No.29 in E, No.30 in C (Alleluia), No.31 in D (Horn Signal) (1765); No.32 in C, No.33 in C (c.1760); No.34 in D minor (c.1766); No.35 in B♭ (1767); No.36 in E♭ (c.1761–5); No.37 in C (c.1757); No.38 in C (Echo) (c.1766–8); No.39 in G minor (c.1768); No.40 in F (1763); No.41 in C (c.1769); No.42 in D (1771); No.43 in E♭ (Merkur), No.44 in E minor (Trauer) (c.1771); No.45 in F♯ minor (Abschied), No.46 in B, No.47 in G (1772); No.48 in C (Maria Theresia) (c.1768–9); No.49 in F minor (La Passione) (1768); No.50 in C (1773); No.51 in B♭, No.52 in C minor (c. 1771–3); No.53 in D (L'Impériale) (c.1780); No. 54 in G, No.55 in E♭ (Der Schulmeister), No.56 in C (1774); No.57 in D (1774); No.58 in F, No.59 in A (Feuersymphonie) (c.1776–8); No.60 in C (Il Distratto) (1774); No.61 in D (1776); No.62 in D, No.63 in C (La Roxolane) (c.1780); No.64 in A (c.1775); No.65 in A (c.1771–3); No.66 in B♭, No.67 in F, No.68 in B♭, No.69 in C (Laudon) (c.1778); No.70 in D (1779); No.71 in B♭ (c.1779–80); No.72 in D (c.1763–5); No.73 in D (La Chasse) (1780–1); No.74 in E♭ (1780); No.75 in D (1779); No.76 in E♭, No.77 in B♭, No.78 in C minor (1782); No.79 in F, No.80 in D minor, No.81 in G (1783–4); No. 82 in C (Bear) (1786); No.83 in G minor (La Poule) (1785); No.84 in E♭ (1786); No.85 in B♭ (La Reine) (1785); No.86 in D (1786); No.87 in A (1785); No.88 in G, No.89 in F (c.1787); No.90 in C, No.91 in E♭ (1788); No.92 in G (Oxford) (1789); No.93 in D, No.94 in G (Surprise), No.95 in C minor, No.96 in D (Miracle) (1791, London); No.97 in C (1792, London); No.98 in B♭ (c.1792, London); No.99 in E♭ (1793, Austria); No.100 in G (Military), No.101 in D (Clock), No.102 in B♭ (1794, London); No.103 in E♭ (Paukenwirbel, Drum Roll), No.104 in D (London) (1795, London).CONCERTOS: vc. in C (c.1765), in D (1783); Klavier in D (c.1784), Klavier and str. in G; hn. No.1 in D (1762), No.2 in D (c.1764); 2 hn. and str. in E♭; for lira organizzata No.1 in C, No.2 in G, No.3 in G, No.4 in F, No.5 in F (c.1786); org. conc. (1756); for tpt. in E♭ (1796); for vn. No.1 in A, No.2 in C, No.3 in G (c.1765); for vn., pf., and str. in F (1766); Sinfonia Concertante in B♭ for ob., bn., vn., vc. (1792).STRING QUARTETS: Op.1 (6 qts., 1760); Op.2, Nos. 7–12 (Nos. 9 and 11, with 2 hn. added) (1755–60); Op.9 (6 qts., 1771); Op.17, Nos. 25–30 (1771); Op.20, Nos. 31–6 (1772); Op.33, Nos. 37–42 (1781); Op.42, No.43 (1758); Op.50, Nos. 44–9 (c.1787); Op.51, Nos. 50–6 (1785, Seven Last Words from the Cross); Op.54, Nos. 57–9 (c.1788); Op.55, Nos. 60–2 (c.1788); Op.64, Nos. 63–8 (c.1790); Op.71, Nos. 69–71 (1793); Op.74, Nos. 72–4 (1793); Op.76, Nos. 75–80 (c.1797); Op.77, Nos. 81–2 (c.1799); Op. 103, No.83 (1802–3).KEYBOARD: 62 sonatas (c. 1761–94), Variations in F minor (1793).CHAMBER MUSIC: 32 pf. trios; 6 sonatas for klavier and vn.; fl. qts; lute qt.; divertimentos for str. trio; str. trios; 126 baryton trios; 32 pieces for mechanical clocks; and Notturnos for lira organizzata.SOLO CANTATAS: Arianna a Naxos for sop./mez. (1790); Berenice che fai (1795).VOCAL: qts. and trios (1796 and 1799); Alfred—Chorus of the Danes (1796); 12 canzonettas to Eng. words for solo v. and pf. (1794–5) incl. My mother bids me bind my hair, Spirit's Song, Piercing Eyes, She never told her love; 450 arrs. of Brit. folk-songs (1791–1805).

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"Haydn, Franz Joseph." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . 24 Apr. 2017 <>.

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Haydn, Franz Joseph (1732–1809)


HAYDN, FRANZ JOSEPH (17321809), Austrian composer considered the founder of Vienna classicism. Born in modest circumstances as the son of a wheelwright in the Lower Austrian town of Rohrau, Haydn was by 1800 the most celebrated composer in Europe. He is sometimes called the father of both the symphony and the string quartet.

Haydn was raised in a devoutly Catholic household and his parents had hopes of his entering the clergy. He showed an early aptitude for music, which was noticed by a visiting schoolmaster who convinced his parents to send the six-year-old Joseph to a parish school in the neighboring town of Hainburg. Catholic parish schools had traditionally emphasized music (the schoolmaster usually doubled as the church organist) since pupils were needed to sing or perform in the parish's annual cycle of regular masses, baptisms, funerals, and processions. Haydn acquired his first formal training in music at the Hainburg school, and at the age of eight left to continue his musical education as a pupil at the choir school of St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna. He remained a pupil at St. Stephen's for almost ten years until he was forced to leave around 1749not, as legend has it, to escape castration but because his voice broke.

Haydn's early years as a composer and musician illustrate the crucial importance of aristocratic musical patronage in eighteenth-century Europe. After struggling for several years as a teacher, freelance musician, and occasional composer for the popular Viennese stage, Haydn finally obtained a measure of financial security when Count Karl Joseph Franz Morzin took him into his household as music director around 1757. Haydn's first symphonies as well as his earliest string quartets date from this period. Decisive for his career was his entry a few years later (1761) into the service of Prince Paul Anton Esterházy, scion of the wealthiest magnate family in Hungary. Haydn, in his capacity as Vice-Kapellmeister (17611765) and later Kapellmeister (17611790), was in charge of supervising, if not composing, the music performed at the prince's palace at Esterháza. There Haydn was responsible for providing both vocal and instrumental music, including operas performed in the prince's lavish theater. Although Haydn's operas are today the least regarded part of his musical oeuvreperhaps because they would soon be so overshadowed by Mozart'sHaydn devoted much of his musical energy in the years between 1766 and 1783 to operatic compositions. Best known today are his comic (or buffa ) operas, such as those based on librettos by the eighteenth-century Italian playwright Carlo Goldoni (Lo speziale [1768)], Le pescatrici [17691770], and Il mondo della luna [1777]). But they also included dramatic pieces like Armida (1783), adapted from the late-humanist poet Torquato Tasso, which was the last opera Haydn produced. In the meantime Haydn continued to experiment with the symphonic form, moving from the syncopated eccentricities of his Sturm und Drang ('storm and stress') phase (17681772) to the exquisite sublimity of his later symphonies. During Haydn's years at Esterháza his string quartets also acquired the quintessentially conversational style that would be their hallmark, evoking the atmosphere of the Enlightenment salons he frequented during visits to Vienna in the 1770s and 1780s.

By the 1780s Haydn had begun to free himself financially from dependence on his Esterházy patrons. He did this partly by successfully marketing his compositions to publishing houses in Vienna, London, and Paris, and partly through commissions like Die sieben letzten Worte unseres Erlösers am Kreuze (17851786; Seven last words of our Redeemer on the cross), an oratorio composed for the cathedral of Cádiz in southern Spain for performance during Holy Week. But it was above all the financial success of Haydn's triumphal London tours (17911792, 17941795) that sealed his economic independence. Haydn skillfully exploited the opportunities for performance and composition offered by the city's commercialized musical culture with its theaters, subscription concerts, and public pleasure gardens. All in all, Haydn's London visits earned him some 24,000 gulden, the equivalent of twenty years' salary at Esterháza. His "London symphonies" (nos. 93104) achieved particular success in the British capital. His succeeding years in Vienna, where he spent the remainder of his life, won him popular acclaim as well. Die Schöpfung (1797; The creation) and Die Jahreszeiten (1801; The seasons), oratorios that remain two of his most beloved compositions today, served especially to crown his broad popularity in the Austrian capital.

In this respect Haydn's career epitomized the transition from aristocratic patronage to public performance that had begun to characterize the social history of music during his day. The legend of "Papa Haydn," the good-natured and self-effacing figure known for his generous encouragement of Mozart and Beethoven, can obscure the attention Haydn devoted to promoting the public reception of his own music. Commercially savvy, Haydn was keenly attuned to the tastes of his public. He often incorporated folk themes into his music, and the playful and mischievous qualities that came to be a hallmark of many of Haydn's compositions doubtless contributed to his broad appeal. As his "Surprise" Symphony (no. 94) or "Joke" Quartet (op. 33, no. 2) illustrate, Haydn loved musical gags, sudden reversals of tempo, the injection of a humorous moment into an ostensibly serious one. Critics of his day sometimes attacked this aspect of Haydn's music, noting his penchant for shifting unexpectedly between refinement and coarseness, the elevated and the vulgar. Yet Haydn's success in blurring the boundaries between high and low was a key element of his popularity, attesting to his ability to appeal to a wide audience.

See also Goldoni, Carlo ; Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus ; Music ; Vienna .


Gotwals, Vernon. Haydn: Two Contemporary Portraits. Madison, Wis., 1963.

Landon, H. C. Robbins. Haydn: Chronicle and Works. 5 vols. London, 19761980.

Landon, H. C. Robbins, and David Wyn Jones. Haydn: His Life and Music. London and Bloomington, Ind., 1988.

Webster, James. "Haydn, (Franz) Joseph." In The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, edited by Stanley Sadie, vol. 11, pp. 171271. London and New York, 2001.

James Van Horn Melton

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Haydn, Franz Joseph

Franz Joseph Haydn (fränts yō´zĕf hī´dən), 1732–1809, Austrian composer, one of the greatest masters of classical music. As a boy he sang in the choir at St. Stephen's, Vienna, where he received his principal musical training. He struggled in poverty for years, earning a meager living as a teacher and accompanist. Eventually, his compositions came to the attention of some of Vienna's music-loving aristocrats, and under their patronage his career progressed rapidly. Most of his prodigious musical output was produced during the 29 years of his service as musical director to the princes Esterházy, beginning in 1761. During the 1780s, when he received commissions from London and Paris and honors from all over Europe, he formed a close friendship with Mozart, an association that influenced the music of each. In 1791 and 1794 he made lucrative visits to London, where he held concerts featuring his own music. During this period he wrote the 12 so-called Salomon Symphonies (after the impresario who had arranged his tours), much chamber music, and a large number of songs with English texts. Haydn's works are notable for their originality, liveliness, optimism, and instrumental brilliance. He established the basic forms of symphonic music and string quartet, which were to be a model and inspiration for the works of Mozart, and of Beethoven, who studied under Haydn. Important in the development of the classic sonata form, his string quartets and symphonies expanded the three-movement sonata form of C. P. E. Bach, adding one or two minuets before the last movement. Two great oratorios, The Creation (1798) and The Seasons (1801), were written in his old age. His works include over 100 symphonies, many known by such names as the Farewell Symphony (1772), the Surprise Symphony (1791), the Military Symphony (1794), and the Clock Symphony (1794); over 80 string quartets; much other chamber music; more than 50 piano sonatas; and numerous operas, masses, and songs.

See biographies by L. Nohl (1902, 7th ed. 1971), R. Hughes (rev. ed. 1978), and K. and I. Geiringer (3d ed. 1982); H. C. R. Landon, The Symphonies of Joseph Haydn (1955) and Haydn: Chronicle and Works (5 vol., 1976–80); C. Rosen, The Classical Style (1971; expanded ed. 1997).

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Haydn, Franz Joseph

Haydn, Franz Joseph (1732–1809) Austrian composer. Haydn brought the sonata form to masterful fruition in more than 100 symphonies, notably the ‘Military’, the ‘Clock’ and the ‘London’ (all 1793–95). His most famous choral works are the oratorios The Creation (1798) and The Seasons (1801). He also wrote many string quartets, chamber works, concertos and masses.

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