Haydn, Joseph

Haydn, Joseph one of the greatest composers of Church music in modern times, was born March 31,1732, at Rohran, in Austria. The son of parents who were very fond of music, he showed from his earliest youth a remarkable talent for the art. He studied first with a relative in Haimburg; and from his eighth to his sixteenth year, he was in the choir of St. Stephen's Cathedral at Vienna. After this, for a time, he supported himself by giving private instruction. The first six piano-sonatas of Em. Bach fell into his hands by accident, and filled him with enthusiasm. The celebrated Italian singer Porpora, whom he accompanied on the piano in musical circles, introduced him into the highest classes of society. Encouraged from all sides, he wrote several quartettes (which, however, did not escape censure) and trios, and his first opera, Der hinkende Teufil, for which he received 24 ducats. In 1759 he received from count Morzin an appointment as musical director, and soon after contracted a marriage, which, however, remained without children, and was, in general, not a happy one. In 1760 he was appointed by prince Esterhazy as chapel-master, which position al. lowed him for thirty years to give free play to his musical genius. During this time, which was mostly spent at Eisenstadt, Hulgary, or (during winter months) in Vienna, he composed most of his symphonies, many quartettes, trios, etc., 163 compositions for the baryton (the favorite instrument of the prince), eighteen operas, the oratorio II Ritorno di Tobia (1774), fifteen masses and other ecclesiastical works, music for Giethes "Gotz von Berlichingen," and the composition of the "Seven Words," which in 1795 was ordered from Cadiz as an instrumental composition to be played between the lessons of the Seven Words. Dismissed from his position after the death of prince Esterhazy (1790), but retaining his title and his salary, he went as concert director to London, where he attained the zenith of his artistic career. During his two stays in London (1790-92 and 1794-95) he wrote the operas Orfeo and Eurydicp, his 12 so-called English symphonies, quartettes, and other works. He was constantly employed as leader in concerts and societies, and was overwhelmed with marks of love and affection. After returning to Vienna, he composed, in 1797, his great oratorio The Creation, which was finished in April, 1798, and produced for the first time on March 19, 1799, in Vienna, and soon after in all the large cities of Europe, with immense applause. It remains to this day the greatest of sacred oratorios, except Handel's Messiah. In the mean while he finished his last oratorio, The four Seasons (text by Van Swieten after Thomson), which was produced for the first time April 24, 1801. He died May 31,1809. According to a list of his works, prepared by Haydn himself, they comprise 118 symphonies, 83 quartettes, 24 trios, 19 operas, 5 oratorios, 163 compositions for the baryton, 24 concerts for different instruments, 15 masses, 44 piano sonatas, 42 German and Italian hymns, 39 canons, 10 Church compositions, 13 songs in three or four parts, the harmony and thee accompaniment for 365 old Scotch airs, and several smaller pieces. In the library of the Esterhazy family at Eisealstadt, many unpublished manuscripts are said to be still extant. See Framery, Notice sur J. H. (Paris, 1810); Pohl, Mozart und Haydn in London (Vienna, 1867, 2 vols.). (A. J. S.)

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