Music Composers

Josef Haydn-Part 2

Franz Joseph Haydn was born on the last day of March, 1732, at Rohrau, a small town on the confines of Austria and Hungary. His father was a cartwright and his mother before her marriage had been a cook in the family of Count Harrach, the lord of the village. The father united to his trade the office of parish sexton. He had a fine tenor voice, was fond of the organ and music in general. On one of those journeys which the artisans of Germany often undertake, being at Frankfort0on-the-Main, he learned to play a little on the harp and in holidays after church he used to play this instrument while his wife sang. The birth of Joseph did not alter the habits of this peaceful family. The little domestic concert was repeated every week and the child sawed an accompaniment on an improvised fiddle.

A cousin of the cartwright, whose name was Frankh, a schoolmaster at Hainburg, came to Rohrau one Sunday and assisted at the trio. He remarked that the child, then scarcely six years old, kept the time with astonishing precision, and as he was well acquainted with music he proposed to his relations to take little Joseph to his home and to teach him the first elements of music.

He set out accordingly for Hainburg in 1738. Frankh, who gave his young cousin, to use Haydn's own expression, "more cuffs than gingerbread," soon taught his young pupil not only to play the violin and other instruments, but also to understand Latin and to sing at the parish desk in a style which spread his reputation through the district.

The Etude Magazine September 1920





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