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Haydn - Piano Music

Franz 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.

Major works:
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."

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Total pieces by Haydn: 75

Collections - Haydn
Haydn - Concertos (1 pieces)
Haydn - Sonatas (52 pieces)
Haydn - Variations (5 pieces)
Haydn - Miscellaneous Pieces (17 pieces)

Posts in the piano forum about Haydn:

xx ornaments in Haydn
January 20, 2008, 12:46:03 PM by kevink

Does anyone know where I can find resources on the performance of ornaments in Haydn sonatas?  I hear many different takes on how these should be played, and want to try to find out what is the closest to authenticity.


xx Re: Haydn
January 14, 2007, 06:32:50 AM by minstrel

I think Haydn is even more important composer than Mozart.. here's why.. Mozart was very good at excelling in the forms that were popular at the time.. But Haydn came up with the original idea that gave birth to beethoven.. I'm not sure Beethoven would have been the composer he was if it was not for Haydn, whereas Mozart could have existed or not, but it wouldn't have affected Beethoven.

If Beethoven is the greatest composer of classical music, then is Haydn just as great for giving birth to him?

Haydn experimentation in his piano works, and only a few of the later ones really have it, are the seed of Beethoven.  The 2 e-flat sonatas and the C-major English are works of the highest genius, and led the way to Beethoven who led the way to the Romantics.  It's like Haydn cracked the ice, and Beethoven shattered it.

xx trills (haydn)
March 03, 2006, 10:18:15 PM by Tash

i have to write and perform a thing on historical performance practice on a classical or romantic piece so i'm most likely playing the 1st movement of haydn's Eb sonata (no.62), except in this one little section http://i2.tinypic.com/qo6pmg.jpg i am wondering if there's some wonderful explanation as to why the trills don't start on the upper note- is it just because they're quick and it'd sound weird if you did? have skimmed c.p.e bach's essay on keyboard playing except if he mentioned something on it i missed it...thanks!!

xx Re: Haydn Sonates - Pedal..yes? or no?
January 19, 2006, 04:36:54 AM by rc

It's allowed, certain passages lend themselves to a little pedal. I rarely use it, just for connective purposes, as imperceptible as possible.

Haydn only wrote two pedal marks in his piano music, in the Sonata in C, HobXVI:50. Anything else you see will be editorial.

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