Franz Joseph Haydn

As I’ve been trying to update my Music section, I chose an artist that I had little knowledge of and decided to find out more about him while selecting the music that I loved that he created.  I’m going to do a section on composers that I can use to educate my children.  I hope that it will be helpful to you as well.

Haydn portrait by Thomas Hardy, 1792

I started with Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809), an Austrian composer who is considered the “Father of the Symphony” and the “Father of the String Quartet” because of his important contributions, and the sheer volume of music that he composed.

Haydn was famous in his day and died a rich man.  He was friends with Mozart and a teacher of Beethoven.

Three ideas that struck me about his life were the following –

1.  He stated that he was “forced to become original” because he was isolated from other composers and trends in music.

I love this because it is difficult not to compare yourself and your creations to “the latest” but if you allow yourself to create what you like, you will not only be original, but you will develop your own perfected style and ability.

2.  As a young man, Haydn was poor and had been a servant, and later a busy entrepreneur, Haydn wrote his works quickly and in profusion, with frequent deadlines. As a rich man, Haydn now felt he had the privilege of taking his time and writing for posterity. Two of his symphonies – the Creation and the Seasons took over a year to compose.

It is fascinating to think about creating because you want to and creating because you must (to pay the bills, etc.)  My father’s family is always creating – art, literature, family treasures, etc.  They do it for the sheer love of making something, and because they’ve been working and practicing, they are able to sell their work.  What a contrast between that and being afraid to create because you don’t want to “get it wrong”.

3. In his older years, he was affected by illness to a point that he was unable to compose any more.  This was extremely difficult for him because “the flow of fresh musical ideas waiting to be worked out as compositions did not cease.”

This is a concept that I am all too familiar with.  So often I have 15 book ideas running around in my head and no time to write.  Aargh!

Another thing that it made me think about was how creative work breeds more creative ideas.  The human brain is amazing – you start small and more and more ideas come until you have a storage of ideas – so many that it’s hard to know what to work on first.  Becoming a being of creation rather than one of  destruction is exponential.  I wonder what other works Haydn has been writing in heaven. 🙂

Here is one my absolute all time favorite pieces of music that Haydn wrote – The Trumpet Concerto, enjoy!

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5 thoughts on “Franz Joseph Haydn

  1. Hayden is one of my faves. He’s not a heavy as Beethoven or over played at Mozart. And I love that her middle name is Thing, as that is your favorite name for everyone 🙂

  2. You know me so well!!

    I get it from my British mother, “go tell ‘thing’ that we are coming.” (When she can’t remember the name of the person).

    Remember in one of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter (I think the end of book 5) when Fudge calls Voldemort “Lord Thingy”. 🙂 We had a good laugh at that!

  3. 5 years ago I went to Austria to play in the Classical Music Festival. We played music from Haydn, Beethoven, and Mozart. Everyday we rehearsed in the Esterhaazy palace. Haydn was employed by the Esterhaazy family. Every other week he created music for the Esterhaazy family and it was performed in the palace (where we rehearsed every day). On the off weeks, they were played in the Haydnsaal (Haydn Chapel) up the street. The Esterhaazy’s created this place for him. It was fabulous to be there, and to be playing his music where it was created to be performed. I have lots of great pictures of it, if you’re ever interested. 🙂

  4. Wow, experiences like that are life changing. I would love to see your pictures Katie. Who were you there with?

  5. My two best friends from Orchestra. We visited Haydn’s home (where he was born) among other places, and it was great. My Violin teacher at WSU was the concertmaster at the Festival, and had us audition and go. It really was great. It was particularly great to see those places since we played his pieces. It’s always great to know a little more about them.

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