Music Composers

Franz Joseph Haydn-Part 1

April 1, 1732 to May 31, 1809

Lessons From Haydn's Life

by Henry T. Finck

The genealogy of genius is one of the puzzles of modern science. Why should three women whose humble occupation was the cooking of meals three times a day have given birth to three of the world's greatest musical geniuses - Beethoven, Schubert, and Haydn?

We do not know; we only know that genius, like meteors, appears when and where it chooses. But is there not comfort in this very circumstance? One of the lessons we may learn from the life of Haydn, as from that of Schubert or Beethoven, is that a musician may rise to the top although he has no lineage of distinguished or intellectual ancestors.

Early Environment

Franz Joseph Haydn's father and grandfather were wheelwrights; his great grandfather, a lackey. His father had some gift for music, but not enough to make anyone dream he would beget a son who would rank with the great masters. He sang' so did his wife; and their boy had the advantage of being brought up in a musical atmosphere - an indispensable condition to the growth of musical genius. Like the other great masters, Josef Haydn had the imitative faculty strongly developed from his childhood, and used to amuse himself by taking two sticks of wood to represent violin and bow and thus imitating the playing of his schoolmaster.

The Etude Magazine January 1907






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