Music Composers

Josef Haydn-Part 3

A drummer being wanted for a local procession, young Haydn undertook the part. Unfortunately he was so small of stature that the instrument had to be carried before him on the back of a colleague. That this colleague happened to be a hunchback only made the incident more ludicrous. Haydn had rather a partiality for the drum, "a satisfying instrument," as Meredith says, "because of its rotundity." According to Pohl, the particular instrument upon which he performed on the occasion is still preserved in the choir of the church of Hainburg.

The schoolmaster's wife seems to have had peculiar views about cleanliness. She compelled the boy to wear a wig. "I could not help it," Haydn remarked to Dies, his friend and biographer, "much to my own distress, that I was gradually getting very dirty and though I thought a good deal of my little person, I was not always able to avoid spots of dirt on my clothes, of which I was dreadfully ashamed."

At all events, even if deplorable neglected in these personal matters, he was really making progress with his art. Haydn himself, looking back upon these days, says: "Our Almighty Father, to Whom above all I owe the most profound gratitude, had endowed me with so much facility in music that even in my sixth year I was bold enough to sing some masses in the choir."

The Etude Magazine September 1920





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