Haydn - Piano MusicFranz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) was of short stature and not a very handsome man, but his good character and modesty were generally acknowledged, and his robust sense of humour is often evident in his music.
He has been known as the father of both the symphony and the string quartet; no other composer approaches his historical importance in these genres.
As a boy of six he was sent to train as a musician with his relative Johann Matthias Franck, who let the boy go constantly hungry. Two years later, he passed an audition to become a chorister in St. Stephen´s Cathedral in Vienna; the under-nourished Haydn especially looked forward to performances before the aristocracy, where he would sometimes have the opportunity to devour some of the refreshments.
At seventeen, Haydn was no longer able to sing high choral parts and was dismissed. During an arduous period as freelance musician he laboured to fill the gaps in his training, and eventually wrote his first string quartets and his first opera.
In 1757 he became Kapellmeister for Count Karl von Morzin, for whose small orchestra he wrote his first symphonies. When the Count got into financial trouble, Haydn was offered a similar post by the Eszterházys, one of the wealthiest and most important families in the Austrian Empire.
Haydn married in 1760, but did not get along with his wife, and carried on a long-term love affair with the singer Luigia Polzelli. He produced a flood of compositions, for his employer as well as for publication, and his popularity steadily increased.
When Mozart arrived in Vienna in 1781 the two composers developed a great friendship – they were members of the same Masonic lodge and sometimes played string quartets together.
In 1790, the new prince Eszterházy dismissed the musical establishment and put Haydn on a pension. The composer accepted an offer to visit England and conduct new symphonies with a large orchestra. Audiences flocked to these concerts and Haydn considered settling in England permanently, but eventually returned to Vienna, turning to the composition of large religious vocal works and composing the last nine of his string quartets.
From 1802 Haydn suffered from health problems which made him physically unable to compose. He died in 1809 following an attack on Vienna by Napoleon; with his last words he attempted to calm and reassure his servants as cannon shots fell on the neighbourhood.
Orchestral: 108 symphonies (incl. "The Surprise", "The Farewell", "The Clock" and many other named symphonies), several harpsichord and organ concertos, two Cello Concertos, three Violin Concertos, Horn Concerto, Trumpet Concerto
Vocal: Oratorios (incl. The Creation and The Seasons), several masses (incl. Nelson Mass), two dozen operas, many songs and cantatas in German and English.
Chamber: 83 string quartets (incl. "The Lark", "Emperor", "Sunrise" and others), and a vast number of trios, duos etc. for various instruments.
Keyboard: 54 sonatas and various other works, incl. the f minor Variations.
Franz Schubert: "If only your pure and clean mind could touch me, dear Haydn; nobody has a greater reverence for you than I have."
Piano Sheet music by Joseph Haydn to Download
Total pieces by Haydn: 75
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