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Haydn   By: (1816-1914)

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By J. Cuthbert Hadden



Chapter I: Birth Ancestry Early Years Chapter II: Vienna 1750 1760 Chapter III: Eisenstadt 1761 1766 Chapter IV: Esterhaz 1766 1790 Chapter V: First London Visit 1791 1792 Chapter VI: Second London Visit 1794 1795 Chapter VII: "The Creation" and "The Seasons" Chapter VIII: Last Years Chapter IX: Haydn, the Man Chapter X: Haydn, the Composer Appendix A: Haydn's Last Will and Testament Appendix B: Catalogue of Works Appendix C: Bibliography Appendix D: Haydn's Brothers Appendix E: A Selection of Haydn's Letters



To The Rev. Robert Blair, D.D. In Grateful Acknowledgment of Many Kindnesses and Much Pleasant Intercourse


The authority for Haydn's life is the biography begun by the late Dr Pohl, and completed after his death by E.V. Mandyczewski. To this work, as yet untranslated, every subsequent writer is necessarily indebted, and the present volume, which I may fairly claim to be the fullest life of Haydn that has so far appeared in English, is largely based upon Pohl. I am also under obligations to Miss Pauline D. Townsend, the author of the monograph in the "Great Musicians" series. For the rest, I trust I have acquainted myself with all the more important references made to Haydn in contemporary records and in the writings of those who knew him. Finally, I have endeavoured to tell the story of his career simply and directly, to give a clear picture of the man, and to discuss the composer without trenching on the ground of the formalist.


EDINBURGH, September 1902.



Introductory Rohrau A Poor Home Genealogy Haydn's Parents His Birth His Precocity Informal Music making His First Teacher Hainburg "A Regular Little Urchin" Attacks the Drum A Piece of Good Luck A Musical Examination Goes to Vienna Choir School of St Stephen's A House of Suffering Lessons at the Cathedral A Sixteen Part Mass Juvenile Escapades "Sang like a Crow" Dismissed from the Choir.

Haydn's position, alike in music and in musical biography, is almost unique. With the doubtful exception of Sebastian Bach, no composer of the first rank ever enjoyed a more tranquil career. Bach was not once outside his native Germany; Haydn left Austria only to make those visits to England which had so important an influence on the later manifestations of his genius: His was a long, sane, sound, and on the whole, fortunate existence. For many years he was poor and obscure, but if he had his time of trial, he never experienced a time of failure. With practical wisdom he conquered the Fates and became eminent. A hard, struggling youth merged into an easy middle age, and late years found him in comfortable circumstances, with a solid reputation as an artist, and a solid retiring allowance from a princely patron, whose house he had served for the better part of his working career. Like Goethe and Wordsworth, he lived out all his life. He was no Marcellus, shown for one brief moment and "withdrawn before his springtime had brought forth the fruits of summer." His great contemporary, Mozart, cut off while yet his light was crescent, is known to posterity only by the products of his early manhood. Haydn's sun set at the end of a long day, crowning his career with a golden splendour whose effulgence still brightens the ever widening realm of music.

Voltaire once said of Dante that his reputation was becoming greater and greater because no one ever read him. Haydn's reputation is not of that kind. It is true that he may not appeal to what has been called the "fevered modern soul," but there is an old world charm about him which is specially grateful in our bustling, nerve destroying, bilious age... Continue reading book >>

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