The Classical Period 1750 - 1820
Dominant Classical Composers • Joseph Haydn • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart • Ludwig Van Beethoven
Joseph Haydn • 1732 – 1809 • Born in Rohrau, Austria • Father was a wagon maker • Sang folk songs to Joseph every day and danced and “whirled him around” in festivals and community events • Folk music had an influence in his life for later compositions
Expectations of his Father • Dance – Dance – Sing • Father MADE him sing and dance in public whether he wanted to or not • Father spank him publicly for refusing to participate in activities that involve music and dance • Father was murdered one night after a bar fight and Haydn was devistated!
Life with his uncle • After his father’s death, he was sent to live with his uncle (Godfather) who was already trained in Austrian folk music • Gave Joseph lessons for two years on music theory and counterpoint • At age 8, his uncle took him to Vienna to become a choirboy in the Cathedral of St. Stephens (A VERY prestigious honor!)
St. Stephens wasn’t what he wanted • Haydn had a great voice, and was appeciated at St. Stephens, but did not have the ability to learn composition or counterpoint (which is what he longed for) • Haydn’s lessons from his father and uncle had already surpassed any teacher he could possibly have at St. Stephens
HAYDN GETS THE BOOT!!! • After Haydns voice changed, he no longer had the soft beautiful melody he had, and St. Stephens kicked him out of the school of music • The music director went to his room, grabbed his clothes and books, and told him to “follow him”…where he led him outside in the middle of the night and locked the gates behind him…no food, no money, no warning!
Haydn takes to the streets • At age 12, he had no way of contacting his uncle to tell him what had happened, and decided to take to the streets • Haydn played violin and took odd jobs where he could, and offered to play in street bands with the nearby musicians (not mentioning that he was homeless and self-taught with music) • Street musicians would teach him music theory and counterpoint instead of paying for his playing with them on the streets; food was also offered
A BREAKTHROUGH MANY YRS LATER • Haydn lived this life until he was 29 yrs old! • He took a peasant job working for the Hungarian noble family as a slave, doing many jobs that most would not dream of • While practicing his violin one night in his chambers, the king noticed his musical talents, and offered him to play for the royal family the next day instead of cleaning and working in the wine cellar and cotton fields
THE ROYAL PERFORMANCE! • After hearing Haydn play for several days, he took the job away from the music director! • He was able to write music, and was now responsible for music and entertainment from the Hungarian Opera House, the Hungarian musical palace theatre, two concert halls, and performing nightly for the royal family and hotel that housed 126 prestigious rooms • Haydn went from having nothing to one of the highest paid people in Hungary overnight
30 YEARS OF MUSIC • From 1761 to 1791, Haydn held on to this prestigious position • Conducted the orchestra in the land of about 25 of the best players in the country • Had 20 singers and music students that he taught; they were literally fighting each other for a spot • Responsible for all instruments and the music library of Hungary • 2 performances and 2 operas each month
Haydn’s Personal Life • Married to a noble princess in the royal family, but considered her to be “snobby and selfish to no end; my sister would be a better selection for a woman” • Good humored guy; unselfish; always thought about the well being of others before himself • Worried about the well being of his fellow musicians and students; when they were ill he would visit them and bring them gifts to make them feel better
Haydn….meets…..MOZART!!?? • In the 1780’s, Haydn met a young Mozart as he was being “toured” over Europe • Became close friends, though Haydn considered him selfish and childish, but respected him for his musical talents • When Mozart publicly humiliated Haydn at a concert (alcohol was involved), Haydn left the party and never spoke or found Mozart again
His Two Masterpieces • Creation • Thank God for what we have • Thank God for what I have • Thank God for what you have • Thank God, Thank God for Creation • The Seasons • Spring, Fall, Winter, Summer • Entire selection is over 2 hrs 30 mins long!