Joseph Hyden

Franz Joseph Haydn

Joseph Haydn is regarded as one of the greatest composers of the classical period. He is often called the father of both the symphony and the string quartet, and he founded what is known as the Viennese classical school, which consisted of himself, his friend, Wolfgang Mozart, and his pupil, Ludwig van Beethoven. During his lifetime, he produced a mind-boggling amount of music. He lived from the end of the baroque period to the beginning of the romantic period, and presided over the transition between them.
Franz Joseph Haydn was born in Rohrau, Austria, on April 1, 1732, to Mathias and Anna Maria Koller Haydn. Joseph Haydn's parents had twelve children, but, sadly, six of them died during infancy. His surviving siblings included two brothers, Johann Evangelist and Johann Michael, and three sisters, Anna Maria Franziska, Anna Maria, and Anna Katharina. Many references give March 31 as Haydn's birthday, but official records disprove this. It is rumored that his brother, Michael, was the source of this inaccuracy. Supposedly, Michael didn't want it said that his big brother came into this world as an April Fool.
At age seven, young Joseph entered the choir school at St. Steven's Cathedral in Vienna, where he was to remain for the next nine years. During his early years, he became interested in composing music, but he had no formal training until his late teens, when he worked for Italian musician and composer, Niccolò Porpora. He avidly studied music, including the works of C. P. E. Bach, and held several music-related jobs in Vienna during the 1750's. His earliest composition, Missa Brevis in F, comes from this period, as does Der Krumme Teufel (The Lame Devil), a burlesque opera, which Haydn composed in 1752. This opera was banned shortly after it's opening, however, because a local nobleman thought that the main character was his caricature.
Then, in 1758, Haydn got his first regular musical job as musical director to Count Ferdinand Maximillian von Morzin in Lukavec, Bohemia, where he wrote his first orchestral compositions. The Morzin orchestra performed Haydn's first symphony, which he conducted from the harpsichord.
On November 26, 1760, he married Maria Anna Keller. Maria Anna, who was Joseph's elder by four years, was bad tempered, disliked music, and was unable to clean the house or bear children. She enjoyed making Joseph angry, and often used his compositions as tablemats. As a result, the couple fought often, and the marriage was a total disaster. He retreated into his music, while she found consolation by spending a great deal of time in church.
In 1761, Count Morzin was forced to disband his orchestra due to financial problems. It wasn't long, however, before Haydn was offered another job, this time in Eisenstadt, Austria, as assistant Kapellmeister for Prince Paul Anton Esterhazy, who was greatly impressed by the music that Haydn performed while he was with the Morzin orchestra.
Paul Anton died in 1762 and was succeeded by his brother Nicholas, who was also a music lover and played the baryton (a brass wind instrument). Thus, Haydn composed more than a hundred trios for baryton, viola, and bass during the next thirteen years. Haydn also composed several short operas and a full-length opera, named Acide.
Upon the death of Gregor Werner in 1766, Joseph Haydn was promoted to Kapellmeister (musical director). Prior to his death, Werner earned slightly over half of the wage paid to his highly talented, younger assistant. The orchestra was expanded, and Haydn composed four to five symphonies a year. He also continued to compose operas.
In 1768, Haydn and the Esterhazy orchestra moved to Eszterhaza, a beautiful new palace built by Prince Nicholas. During this time, Haydn did not maintain his usual volume of symphony production, as he composed less than ten between 1766 and 1770. However, Haydn experienced a renewed interest in writing string quartets. He composed three groups of six quartets between 1771 and 1772, which he published with the opus Nos. 9, 17, and 20.
Haydn's work underwent a transition between the years of 1768 and 1774. This was largely due to a movement in Western Europe's literature known as "Sturm und Drang", or "Storm and Stress", where emotional themes became increasingly important in literature. This movement had an effect on Haydn and his music, and he was particularly inventive in his search for new styles and forms. There are