Music Composers

Franz Joseph Haydn-Part 2

April 1, 1732 to May 31, 1809

Lessons From Haydn's Life

by Henry T. Finck

This trick brought him luck. While at it one day he was observed by a distant relative named Frankh, to whom it naturally suggested the idea that the boy might be a born musician. His home was at Hainburg, where he was a schoolmaster, and he succeeded in persuading Josef's parent to let him take their son along, for regular instruction. He was very strict and kept the boy hard at work; but later in life Haydn felt grateful for this, though, as he said, he "used to get more flogging than food". The main thing was that he had plenty of opportunity, in church, in school, and elsewhere, to hear music, as well as to practice it.

Two lessons which force themselves on our attention at this stage of Haydn's life are that poverty need not be an impediment to success, and that hard work is indispensable to it. He was poor as a church mouse throughout his childhood and youth, yet he never ceased being busy as a beaver. During the two years - from his sixth to his eighth - that he remained with Frankh he was, as he himself said afterward, "a regular urchin", unavoidable untidy; but none the less he tended to his work, playing a little on the violin and the clavier, and singing masses in the church choir. Then came a change. A Viennese composer and conductor named Reutter happened to hear the boy sing and promptly offered him a place as chorister in St. Stephens, at the Austrian capital. The offer was, of course, accepted joyfully, with the consent of the parents.

The Etude Magazine January 1907






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