Joseph Haydn, Famous Austrian Composer (1732 - 1809)
Haydn is considered the father of the classical symphony and string quartet, and an innovator in the composition of piano sonatas and trios.
The father of the Viennese Classic, Franz Joseph Haydn, was not born in Vienna, but in the village of Rohrau in the eastern part of Lower Austria on 31 March 1732
It was Haydn’s voice which first took him to Vienna to join the choir of St. Stephen’s Cathedral. When his voice broke, the young Haydn had to leave the choir, and he began to earn a living by giving lessons and playing in various orchestras. At the same time, he studied piano and composition. From 1761 to 1790, he was court conductor to Prince Esterházy, first in Eisenstadt and later in Fertod. Haydn enjoyed tremendous success in London, which he visited twice on concert tours. Nevertheless, he turned down a position offered to him by King George III.
Joseph Haydn composed over one hundred symphonies, of which the "Drum Roll" is probably the most famous, in addition to seventy string quartets and several operas. The oratorio "The Creation", the libretto which he brought with him from London, is one of the fine examples of his powers of artistic creation. Haydn died on 31 May 1809 in Vienna.
Joseph Haydn - A Star in the UK
In 1790, Prince Nikolaus I died. His successor showed no interest in music and disbanded the orchestra and choir and granted Haydn an annual pension, releasing him into the international world of music. Mozart expressed reservations that Haydn didn't even speak English. Haydn's response: “My music is understood in all the world!”
Joseph Haydn agreed to compose 27 pieces for London concert manager Johann Peter Salomon and to have them performed in concerts, conducting them himself. Haydn’s arrival in England on 1 January 1791 caused a stir - as much as the fact that Haydn was greeted at a court ball at St James Palace by the Prince of Wales with a visible bow. In July 1791, Haydn received an Honorary Doctorate for Music from the University of Oxford. The solemn celebration lasted three days and took place in the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford.
Haydn left the British Isles in June 1792 after two successful concert series. He travelled back to Austria via Bonn, where he met the talented young Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827). In 1793, he bought the suburban house Obere Windmühle at Kleine Steingasse 73 (today's Haydn Haus museum) and started to live in it in 1797. It was here that he created his oratories “The Creation” and “The Seasons”.
In January 1794, Haydn traveled to England a second time and was again met with great success. The “Military Symphony”, the most popular of all his symphonies during his lifetime, was performed for the first time. The 250 works that Haydn composed for his two London visits alone could easily stand for the life's work of any composer.
Haydn received the great honour to be included in the programmes of the “Ancient Concerts” as the only living composer. He also found official recognition by participating in the concerts of King George III (1738-1820) to whom he was introduced by George, Prince of Wales (1762-1830). The English king and his wife Charlotte tried to convince Haydn to stay longer and offered him an apartment in Windsor, but he decided to return to Austria.