Music Composers

Franz Joseph Haydn-Part 7

April 1, 1732 to May 31, 1809

Lessons From Haydn's Life

by Henry T. Finck

The London Period

Haydn was no exception; he wrote most of his works with an eye on the Count, and with no thought of the world at large, hence so many of them are now obsolete. A change fortunately came in time. In 1790 Prince Nicolaus died and the orchestra was disbanded. Haydn moved to Vienna and at last felt at liberty to accept an engagement to appear in London. He had to good sense to realize that in the symphonies he had promised to write for that city he was to address an audience of a much broader and more mixed character, the result being, in the words of Parry, that "the symphonies he wrote for the English public have almost as completely eclipsed all his previous works of the kind as those had in their turn surpassed the productions of all the earlier writers of symphonies. When any of his symphonies are performed nowadays it is almost always one of the last twelve".

Twice did Haydn visit London - in 1790 and 1794 - and the reception he got there opened the eyes of his countrymen to the fact that their prophet had not been sufficiently honored at home. The man who in his youth had brushed the clothes and blacked the shoes of a music teacher, and who subsequently, as kapellmeister at Esterhaz, had not ranked much above menials, was in England treated as a genius should be treated. Not only were his concerts enormously successful, but the aristocracy, beginning with the king, were proud to associate with him. Before he returned to Austria Count Harrach erected a monument to him at Rohrau, where he (Haydn) had seen the light of the world on April 1, 1732; and thenceforth he was one of the musical idols of Vienna.

The Etude Magazine January 1907






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