Music Composers

Josef Haydn-Part 14

The Seasons bears signs of mental effort. Perhaps the subject was not congenial to the author. The Emperor Francis Joseph once asked Haydn which of the two oratorios he himself preferred. "The Creation," he answered, "because in this work angels speak, and their talk is of God. In the Seasons no one higher speaks than the farmer Simon." Both oratorios, however, added considerable to Haydn's fame and fortune. The effort was too much for him. An illness followed, which left him a broken man. To Dies he exclaimed: "The Seasons brought on my weakness. I ought never to have undertaken that work." He composed very little after that.

After several years of seclusion Haydn appeared in public for the last time (1808) when the Creation was performed in Vienna. Salieri conducted. Haydn's entrance into the Hall of the university where the concert was given was announced by a burst of trumpets and drums and by loud cheers of the audience. Haydn was so much excited over the enthusiasm that it was thought well to take him home at the conclusion of the first part. As he was carried out Beethoven stooped to kiss his hands and forehead.

Haydn died May 31, 1809, at the age of 77 years, as Vienna was being bombarded by the French. On the 15th of June Mozart's Requiem was performed at the SchottenKirche. Many French officers were among the mourners and the guard of honor was chiefly composed of French soldiers.

Haydn had a kind of fear of his own narrow individuality, which he considered often an obstacle to the free display of fantasy and invention. He frequently put down on paper a certain number of notes taken at random, marked the time, and obliged himself to make something out of them.

The Etude Magazine September 1920

 

 

 

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