Music Composers

Josef Haydn-Part 7

Haydn had been about a year in the service, when Prince Anton died (1762). He was succeeded by his brother, Nicolaus, who rejoiced in the soubriquet of "The Magnificent." Nicolaus loved ostentation and glitter above all things, wearing a uniform bedecked with diamonds. He loved music, was a performer himself and played the "baryton," a stringed instrument similar to the viola da gamba, something between a viola and violoncello, in general use up to the end of the eighteenth century. Haydn was continually pestered to provide new works for the noble player and thought it would flatter him if he himself learned to handle the baryton. This was a mistake, for when Haydn made his debut with the instrument the prince gave him to understand that he disapproved of such rivalry. Haydn wrote a surprising amount of music for the baryton, no fewer than one hundred and seventy-five compositions. They have gone to oblivion together with the instrument which called them into life.

At this time he wrote also several quarters and symphonies. His fame wasnow manifestly spreading. thus the Viener Diarium for 1766 includes him among the most distinguished musicians of Vienna, and describes him as "the darling of our nation." "His amiable disposition," says the panegyrist, "speaks through every one of his works. His music had beauty, purity and a delicate and noble simplicity which commends it to every hearer."

In regard to his personal appearance, his biographers say that Haydn was below the middle height and his legs were somewhat too short for his body. His expression was animated, yet at the same time temperate and gentle. His face wore a stern look when is repose, but in conversation it was smiling and cheerful. His nose was aquiline and disfigured by a polypus, which he always refused to have removed, and his face was deeply pitted with the smallpox. This latter disease was probably the cause of the dark complexion which earned him the byname of "the Moor." His under-lip was large and hanging, his jaw massive.

The Etude Magazine September 1920

 

 

 

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