Joseph Haydn

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).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Joseph Haydn: Selected full-text books and articles

Haydn: A Creative Life in Music By Karl Geiringer W.W. Norton, 1946
Haydn By Michael Brenet; C. Leonard Leese Oxford University Press, 1926
FREE! Haydn By J. Cuthbert Hadden J. M. Dent, 1902
The Sonata in the Classic Era By William S. Newman University of North Carolina Press, vol.2, 1963
Librarian's tip: Chap. XIV "Haydn and Mozart"
A History of the Oratorio By Howard E. Smither University of North Carolina Press, vol.3, 1987
Librarian's tip: "Joseph Haydn: Il ritorno di Tobia" begins on p. 160 and "Joseph Haydn: The Creation and The Seasons" begins on p. 488
The Age of Enlightenment, 1745-1790 By Egon Wellesz; Frederick Sternfeld Oxford University Press, 1973
Librarian's tip: "Joseph Haydn" begins on p. 300
Composers of Yesterday: A Biographical and Critical Guide to the Most Important Composers of the Past By David Ewen H. W. Wilson, 1937
Librarian's tip: "Joseph Haydn, 1732-1809" begins on p. 209
The String Quartets of Joseph Haydn By Floyd Grave; Margaret Grave Oxford University Press, 2006
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