Writer and broadcaster Stephen Johnson reflects on Haydn's famous sense of humour - was it silly or profound?
Series considering different aspects of Haydn's life, work and reputation.
Writer and broadcaster Stephen Johnson reflects on the composer's famous sense of humour - was it silly or profound?
For few among the great composers was humour such a vital part of their creative personality as for Haydn, who thought nothing of playing outrageous tricks on the audiences of his 'serious' works. False endings, sudden orchestral crashes, knockabout humour and rude noises in the woodwind section can still cause laughter in the concert hall today, while subtler jokes designed to appeal specifically to musicians also abound.