Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Haydn, Franz Josef (1732-1809), the great Austrian composer, was the son of a wheelwright, and was born at Rohrau, a village on the borders of Lower Austria and Hungary. He underwent a severe early training in singing and instrumentation from a relative named Frankh, and finished his education as a chorister at Stephen's Cantorei in Vienna. After being dismissed for a practical joke from St. Stephens, Josef took pupils and studied the compositions of Emmanuel Bach. Having become acquainted with Porpora, he acted for a time as his accompanist, and received a few lessons from him; but it was Furnberg who directed his attention to the composition of quartets, and he also it was who recommended him to Count Morzin as musical director. For the latter in 1759 he composed his first symphony. When with him at Lukavec he contracted his unfortunate marriage. In 1761 Haydn was first employed by the Esterhazys, and five years later became sole kapellmeister to Prince Nicolaus, a passionate lover of music. In this year the Wiener Diarium wrote of Haydn as the "favourite of our nation." In 1775 his oratorio II Ritorno di Tobia was given in Vienna. Ritter Rolland (Orlando Paladina) was composed in 1782, and Armida in 1783. The best of his masses were composed in 1782 and between 1796 and 1805. Early next year Haydn accompanied Salomons to London, where his company was much sought after. Six of the symphonies were performed at the Hanover Square Rooms. On his way back to Vienna he had an interview with Beethoven at Bonn, and the latter soon after took lessons from him. In 1794 Haydn paid a second visit to London, where he composed and conducted six symphonies for Salomons, the Surprise being frequently given. He was now again engaged by a Prince Esterhazy. In 1797 he composed the Emperor's Hymn, and he reached the culminating point of his career when the Creation (1798) and The Seasons (1799) were produced. Haydn must be considered the father of instrumental music. His masses are still much used in Catholic churches. Among his pupils were the Webers. His title of "Papa Haydn" is an indication of the universal feeling of veneration entertained for him.