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Joseph Haydn

Birth And Death

Haydn was born in the same year as George Washington (1732) and died in the same year as Abraham Lincoln (1809). 1)


When he was five years old, the young Haydn's singing voice was so good that he was invited to enter the Choir School of St Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna.2)

Left The Choir

However, things changed for Haydn when he lost his angelic voice at the age of 16; he quit the choir when his voice was characterized as “that lad doesn't sing, he crows!” by Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa: “That child doesn't sing, he crows!” Haydn then cut another young chorister's ponytail and was publicly caned. 3)


The choirmaster of St Stephen's Cathedral advised that Haydn have a particular procedure to keep his voice from cracking, but his father intervened and prevented this from occurring.4)

Symphony No.96

The premiere of Haydn's Symphony No. 96 was memorable not only for being another excellent Haydn symphony, but also for a massive chandelier falling from the ceiling during the performance. The symphony was dubbed the “Miracle” Symphony since no one was hurt during the performance. 5)

Nasal Polyps

Haydn suffered from nasal polyps throughout his life, which caused his nose to seem bulbous and deformed. It grew so unpleasant at times that he couldn't compose. He also survived a childhood episode with smallpox. 6)

Dedication To God

Haydn began all of his works with a dedication to God, using lines like “in nomine Domini” (“in the name of the Lord”).7)


Haydn had an unique affinity to the English metropolis, where he spent several years writing his 'London' symphonies. 8)


Haydn's time in London included multiple hearings of the British national anthem. He was so touched by the composition that he decided to compose a patriotic melody for his homeland, Austria, which became the national anthem of both Austria and Germany. 9)


It is said that when they were both at St Stephens Cathedral school, Haydn's younger brother Michael was far better behaved than him, and that it was Michael in whom the family had placed their hope for the future - apparently Joseph was far too involved in practical jokes to ever be a success! 10)


Haydn reputedly made nearly as much in one year in London as he had in 20 years as the Kapellmeister of the Court of the Esterhazy family, his old employers. 11)

Like Royalty

A performance of Haydn's The Creation was organized the year before he died. Beethoven and Salieri (who conducted the concert) were among the celebrities in attendance, and Haydn was brought in on a special throne. However, due to his frailty at this point, he had to depart halfway through. 12)


When Napoleon seized Vienna in 1809, Haydn was such a revered figure across Europe that two of Napoleon's sentries were stationed there to keep him safe in his old age. 13)

Farewell Symphony

When Haydn's Farewell Symphony was first played in 1772, the composer gently suggested to his employer, Prince Nikolaus, that his exhausted musicians may prefer to return home with an inventive musical statement. In the last movement, each musician stands up, extinguishes the candle on their music stand, and exits the room one by one, until just a couple of violins remain. 14)

Mozart Effect

Mozart was awestruck by Haydn and frequently asked him to his concerts. Haydn responded, and he, too, was a fan of the young genius. So fond, in fact, that Mozart's Requiem, written just a few years before his death, was performed at Haydn's funeral. 15)

joseph_haydn.txt · Last modified: 2022/01/17 02:19 by eziothekilla34