(Franz) Joseph HAYDN
31 March 1732 - 31 May 1809 (age 77)

Austrian composer. So called "Father of the Symphony" and also "Father of the string quartet". He was an important influence on Mozart, Beethoven and many more.





Portrait of Haydn


Born: Rohrau, Austria, March 31, 1732 - May 31, 1809
Father: Mathias Haydn, wheelwright
Mother: Maria Koller, cook
Siblings: Michael, composer, Johann Evangelist - tenor
Partners: His first great love, Therese Keller, became a nun. He later married her sister Maria Anna - not a happy marriage.
He had numerous extra marital affairs.
Children: May have had children with his long term mistress singer Luigia Polzelli.
Grave: Bergkirche, Eisenstadt, Burgenland, Austria.


A small man with dark, pock marked skin, an ugly big nose, a jutting chin and protruding lower lip. Not a pretty sight - yet he was admired and pursued by women.
He had a great sense of humour and was a cheerful soul with a warm heart. He once wrote of himself "As God has given me a cheerful heart, He will forgive me for serving Him cheerfully."
He was a very hard worker and very methodical. Every day was full with concerts and rehearsals yet he managed to produce a vast volume of compositions.
He put on good clothes before composing because "“I’m going to commune with God and I must be appropriately dressed!”


 - 104 Symphonies
- over 90 String Quartets
- 32 Piano Trios

- 62 Piano Sonatas
- Concertos for Piano, Cello, Trumpet, Harpsichord
- Stabat Mater
- 14 Masses,
- Oratorios: The Creation, The Seasons
- Choral Works
- over 330 songs    

Haydn in Art
A fascinating collection of images - art, portraits, caricatures, cartoons, album covers and postage stamps.


- "Young people can learn from my example that something can come from nothing. What I have become is the result of my hard efforts."

- "I was cut off from the world. There was no one to confuse or torment me, and I was forced to become original."

- "I was never a quick writer, but composed with great care and efforts."

- “If you want to know whether you have written anything worth preserving, sing it to yourself without any accompaniment."

- "Whenever I think of God I can only conceive of Him as a Being infinitely great and infinitely good. This last quality of the divine nature inspires me with such confidence and joy that I could have written even a miserere in tempo allegro."

and a joke.....
Q: Why couldn't Mozart find his piano teacher?

A: He was Haydn!

Symphony No. 94 in G 'Surprise' - Andante
Guess why it was called 'Surprise'!    

Cello Concerto
played by Rostropovich and the Academy of St Martin

Trumpet Concerto in Eb, 1st mov.
played by Alison Balsom   

Emperor Quartet, 2 mvt
now better known as the German national anthem   

Symphony No 101 D major 'The Clock'

The curious case of Haydn's Head
Two days after he was buried, phrenologists stole his head! 

Links - and where to go for more information 

Art Alive; An excellent summary of his Life, Times and Music


Answers.com various reference sites including Wikipedia

Project Gutenberg - 'Haydn' by J.Cuthbert Hadden. Read it online or download it.

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