Classical music is timeless. The greatest classical music composers have stood the test of time, and their music is still beloved and performed centuries after their deaths. One such composer is Joseph Haydn. Classical composer Haydn lived from 1732 to 1809 and produced voluminous quantities of music. He was born in Austria and is one of the most prominent figures in Western art music. During his lifetime, Haydn composed hundreds of pieces of music, including symphonies, concertos, string quartets, piano trios, and operas. His music was characterized by its clarity, balance, and elegance. Haydn is considered one of the greatest classical music composers of all time.
EARLY LIFE AND TRAINING
On March 31, 1732, Joseph Haydn was born in Austria’s hamlet of Rohrau. His father, Mathias Haydn, was a wheelwright who also served as the village’s “marktrichter”, an office akin to the mayor. Haydn’s mother, Maria Koller Haydn, was illiterate but greatly loved music and encouraged her son’s musical talent.
At age six, Haydn began school with his brother Michael at the nearby village school run by the Piarist monks. Michael later recalled: “From earliest youth, Franz was passionately fond of music and wanted to be a musician.” His father gave him a “baryton” when he was nine years old, and he played it for three years before being handed a keyboard instrument.
In 1740, Haydn’s father decided that he needed to earn some money and apprenticed his son to Johann Matthias Frank, a local violinist and composer. After six months, Frank took Haydn on as his assistant; this position allowed Haydn to study both popular and classical music.
Haydn’s style is often compared to that of his contemporary, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. However, there are some important differences between the two composers.
First and foremost, Haydn was more interested in experimentation than Mozart. In order to surprise his audience and push the limits of what was conceivable in music, he was constantly looking for new strategies. This led to the creation of some of his most innovative and original compositions.
Another important difference is that Haydn wrote much more music for smaller ensembles than Mozart. This allowed him to explore the different possibilities these groups of instruments could offer.
Finally, Haydn’s style is also characterized by its humor and playfulness. He frequently included jokes and puns in his music, which Mozart rarely did.
HAYDN’S LATE WORKS
Haydn’s late works are some of his most important and popular compositions. Many of these pieces were written in the last years of his life when he was in his 70s. They include his famous “London” Symphonies and several string quartets and piano sonatas.
These late works show Haydn at the height of his powers, continuing to create beautiful and moving music even as the years passed.
Haydn’s music was greatly admired by his contemporaries and is still loved today. He composed over 100 symphonies, regarded as among the greatest ever written. His works for the string quartet and piano are also highly praised. Haydn was an extremely talented composer who had a profound influence on the development of classical music.