Joseph Haydn
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/960x540/p01bqkby.jpg
1732-03-31
https://musicbrainz.org/artist/c130b0fb-5dce-449d-9f40-1437f889f7fe
Joseph Haydn

Biography

Joseph Haydn, the son of a wheelwright from Rohrau in Lower Austria, spent nearly all of his creative life in the service of one noble family, the Esterházys, and yet became the most famous and revered composer of his time. ...

Read more


Biography

Joseph Haydn, the son of a wheelwright from Rohrau in Lower Austria, spent nearly all of his creative life in the service of one noble family, the Esterházys, and yet became the most famous and revered composer of his time.

Holed up either in Eisenstadt or at Eszterháza, the family pile in Hungary, Haydn was ‘forced to become original’ – or so he claimed. His 60-year career, though, reflects the early development of both the symphony and the string quartet, and he was active in all other genres, from sacred music to opera, from piano trios to solo sonatas.

Haydn’s greatest achievements are his 104 numbered symphonies and 68 string quartets. He was pivotal in bringing the symphony out of the salon and into the concert hall; those numbered in the 40s and 50s show him straining at the boundaries of symphonic protocol and those in the 80s, 90s and 100s (especially the sets composed for Paris and London) lead the way to the high- Classical style of Beethoven. Having virtually invented the string quartet, he showed how it could become the perfect forum for musical argument and equality.

A busy composer for the stage throughout the 1760s and 1770s, Haydn abandoned operatic composition after hearing Mozart’s operas of the 1780s. And although he considered the Masses of his younger brother, Michael, to be superior to his own, the series of six late Masses composed for the name-day of Princess Maria Hermenegild Esterházy are among the finest of all church works. These Masses, the last 20 or so symphonies and the two great oratorios from the turn of the 19th century, The Creation and The Seasons, represent the peak of Haydn’s art.

But this is only part of the story. Haydn also excelled in piano sonatas, chamber music and concertos for a variety of instruments; his are the most substantial contributions to the repertoires of such rare instruments as the baryton and the lira organizzata.

In addition, while astonishing audiences on his triumphant visits to London in the 1790s, he made nearly 400 arrangements of English, Scottish and Welsh folk songs.

However, the Europe-wide fame he enjoyed during his lifetime has not endured, and he is still less well-loved by today’s concert-goers (or concert-programmers maybe) than Mozart. Perhaps this is because he did not live fast and die romantically young – so there is no Haydnesque equivalent of Amadeus to plead his case.

What is not in doubt is that his innovations and developments in 18th-century music guarantee ‘Papa’ Haydn a unique place in music history.

Profile by David A. Threasher © BBC

Joseph Haydn Audio & Video


Joseph Haydn Tracks

Sort by

Joseph Haydn
Violin Concerto in C major, H.7a/1
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqkby.jpg
link
Violin Concerto in C major, H.7a/1
Joseph Haydn
Quartet for strings (Op.76`5) in D major, 3rd movement; Menuetto
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqkby.jpg
link
Quartet for strings (Op.76`5) in D major, 3rd movement; Menuetto
Joseph Haydn
Keyboard Sonata No.52 in E Flat Hob XVI/52
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqkby.jpg
link
Keyboard Sonata No.52 in E Flat Hob XVI/52
Joseph Haydn
Die Schopfung [The Creation] (H.21.2) Part 3 - Nos. 29 & 30
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqkby.jpg
link
Die Schopfung [The Creation] (H.21.2) Part 3 - Nos. 29 & 30
Joseph Haydn
String Quartet in G minor, Op.74 No.3 ('Rider')
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqkby.jpg
link
String Quartet in G minor, Op.74 No.3 ('Rider')
Haydn
String Quartet in C Op.74 No.1
http://static.bbci.co.uk/music_clips/0.1.70/img/track_fallback.png
link
String Quartet in C Op.74 No.1
Joseph Haydn
Minuet, from String Quartet in F major, Op 74 No 2
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqkby.jpg
link
Minuet, from String Quartet in F major, Op 74 No 2
Joseph Haydn
Sonata in B flat major H.16.41 for keyboard
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqkby.jpg
link
Sonata in B flat major H.16.41 for keyboard
Joseph Haydn
String Quartet in B flat major, Op.76'4 (Sunrise)
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqkby.jpg
link
String Quartet in B flat major, Op.76'4 (Sunrise)
Joseph Haydn
Concerto for trumpet and orchestra (H.7e.1) in E flat major, 3rd mvt; Finale...
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqkby.jpg
link
Concerto for trumpet and orchestra (H.7e.1) in E flat major, 3rd mvt; Finale...
Joseph Haydn
Symphony no.7 in C major 'Le Midi' - menuetto and trio
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqkby.jpg
link
Symphony no.7 in C major 'Le Midi' - menuetto and trio
Joseph Haydn
Cello Concerto no. 1 in C major, H.7b.1
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqkby.jpg
link
Cello Concerto no. 1 in C major, H.7b.1
Joseph Haydn
1st movement; Allegro moderato
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqkby.jpg
link
1st movement; Allegro moderato
Trad, Christopher Field, Marjorie Rycroft, John Kitchen, Joseph Haydn, Burns, Robert, Lorna Anderson & Christine Cairns
What can a young lassie do wi' an auld man
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqkby.jpg
link
What can a young lassie do wi' an auld man
Joseph Haydn
My Love she's but a lassie yet
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqkby.jpg
link
My Love she's but a lassie yet
Joseph Haydn
Trio in E flat major H.15.30 for keyboard and strings
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqkby.jpg
link
Trio in E flat major H.15.30 for keyboard and strings
Joseph Haydn
Wider den Ubermut
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqkby.jpg
link
Wider den Ubermut
Joseph Haydn
4th movt from String Quartet in D major, Op 20 No 4 [Hob.III.34]
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqkby.jpg
link
4th movt from String Quartet in D major, Op 20 No 4 [Hob.III.34]
Joseph Haydn
Trio in E flat major H.15.29 for keyboard and strings: 3rd mvt; Presto assai
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqkby.jpg
link
Trio in E flat major H.15.29 for keyboard and strings: 3rd mvt; Presto assai
Joseph Haydn
String Quartet in D major (Op.76 no.5): 1st mvt, allegretto
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqkby.jpg
link
String Quartet in D major (Op.76 no.5): 1st mvt, allegretto
Add music you love and enjoy it
Playlists featuring Joseph Haydn
Radio 3 Breakfast: Music Box
Radio 3 Breakfast: Music Box
Essential Classics: Guest Choices
Essential Classics: Guest Choices
BBC Orchestras and Choirs
BBC Orchestras and Choirs
BBC Proms 2015: Katie Derham Curates
BBC Proms 2015: Katie Derham Curates


Joseph Haydn Biography

Joseph Haydn, the son of a wheelwright from Rohrau in Lower Austria, spent nearly all of his creative life in the service of one noble family, the Esterházys, and yet became the most famous and revered composer of his time.

Holed up either in Eisenstadt or at Eszterháza, the family pile in Hungary, Haydn was ‘forced to become original’ – or so he claimed. His 60-year career, though, reflects the early development of both the symphony and the string quartet, and he was active in all other genres, from sacred music to opera, from piano trios to solo sonatas.

Haydn’s greatest achievements are his 104 numbered symphonies and 68 string quartets. He was pivotal in bringing the symphony out of the salon and into the concert hall; those numbered in the 40s and 50s show him straining at the boundaries of symphonic protocol and those in the 80s, 90s and 100s (especially the sets composed for Paris and London) lead the way to the high- Classical style of Beethoven. Having virtually invented the string quartet, he showed how it could become the perfect forum for musical argument and equality.

A busy composer for the stage throughout the 1760s and 1770s, Haydn abandoned operatic composition after hearing Mozart’s operas of the 1780s. And although he considered the Masses of his younger brother, Michael, to be superior to his own, the series of six late Masses composed for the name-day of Princess Maria Hermenegild Esterházy are among the finest of all church works. These Masses, the last 20 or so symphonies and the two great oratorios from the turn of the 19th century, The Creation and The Seasons, represent the peak of Haydn’s art.

But this is only part of the story. Haydn also excelled in piano sonatas, chamber music and concertos for a variety of instruments; his are the most substantial contributions to the repertoires of such rare instruments as the baryton and the lira organizzata.

In addition, while astonishing audiences on his triumphant visits to London in the 1790s, he made nearly 400 arrangements of English, Scottish and Welsh folk songs.

However, the Europe-wide fame he enjoyed during his lifetime has not endured, and he is still less well-loved by today’s concert-goers (or concert-programmers maybe) than Mozart. Perhaps this is because he did not live fast and die romantically young – so there is no Haydnesque equivalent of Amadeus to plead his case.

What is not in doubt is that his innovations and developments in 18th-century music guarantee ‘Papa’ Haydn a unique place in music history.

Profile by David A. Threasher © BBC

Back to artist