The Godfather of musical transformation
Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) was definitely not Beethoven or Mozart and neither did he compose thrilling or mind-blowing music as most critics would say. He, however, played an important part in music and his work contributed immensely to the development and composition of symphonies.
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In addition, he composed some of the most beautiful musical pieces in his time. Many people may possibly think that the life the musician led was not worth of a person who became that famous and who is still in the memory of the generations.
Many would think that as a musician he lived a miserable life but Haydn lived a long and happy life and later on became a superstar in his sixties. He gained social respect although not to the point where Handel had reached but it was obviously more than what Mozart or Bach could ever have attained (Simon 2006).
He tried himself in different spheres of music in order to find a field that would be familiar to him and to succeed in it. He was reckoned to be one of the most outstanding composers in the instrumental sphere of the 18th-19th centuries. On his account, there is a great number of memorable concerts and performances with the presented masterpieces that are famous all over the world.
It may seem unfair to compare Haydn to Mozart yet they both gained successin Vienna in the 1780s and had great admiration for one another even though Mozart was 24 years Haydn’s junior. Critics believe that some of Mozart was greatly inspired by Haydn’s work and therefore decided to dedicate some of his own works to him.
Nevertheless, Haydn was intrigued by Mozart’s compositions, especially his last two. He wrote one of his greatest symphonies after Mozart’s death in 1791. Mozart might have been the closest companion Haydn ever had. He married Anne Marie Keller, who turned out to be a stubborn wife and lived in remorse for the next forty years (Simon 2006).
In 1761, Haydn was lucky enough to be hired and given the responsibility of composing music for special occasions under the title Vice Kapellmeister in the Esterhazy family. This position saw him to a promotion five years later and he assumed the role of Kapellmeister. The most important duties he had were training of a compliant group of court performers.
It was also necessary to check the presence of all the important instruments for the numerous and various social activities that had to be available any time. As court composer, it was expected that he be able to compose a piece of music to match a particular occasion or mood in a timely manner. As it was expected, Haydn was very busy and only visited Vienna once in a while when he had the opportunity (Peter 2002).
In 1790, right after Prince Nikolaus passed on the court, chapel was disbanded. Haydn was, however, engaged as titular Kapellmeister but was releasedfrom most of his responsibilities. He was chanced to go to England and pay a visit to Johann Peter Salomon who asked him to meet several times by sending him the invitations letters.
Salomon was a well-known violinist who greatly admired Haydn’s work. Before leaving London in June 1792, Haydn ensured that he had finished composing six symphonies and was the most renowned composer that had ever lived during his time. That very year, Beethoven who was only 22 years old learnt a lot form Haydn and his work of art. Even though his symphony came eight years later, Haydn felt Mozart’s music was too far-reaching.
Even though Haydn never got the chance to compose for a full-sized, first-class orchestra before he went to London, his symphonies showed that he was a master of his own skill; the musician carried on composing striking music, creating his inspirational set of six string quartets and an oratorio (Steinberg 1995). Critics believe that if Haydn had died young, then the world would have been robbed of a good composer and would be backwards in musical composition and performance.
It is much cheaper to purchase the two sets of symphonies at budget price than to purchase a single recording of the Haydn symphonies. There are two renowned groups that have performed and recorded the symphonies namely Sir Colin Davis and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
These two groups perform with such composure and sophistication it makes it difficult to choose between the two. Some people have or want to have only one collection of the Symphonies, therefore, it better that they get the Dorati volume which has the Surprise and London. Below are full descriptions of the symphonies and the inspiration behind each of them.
This is the first of the London symphonies written by Joseph Haydn. He finished this composition in 1791 and had planned to debut it in London during one of his visits. The composition premiered on February 17, 1792 at the Hanover Square Rooms. This particular composition is in four standard movements namely: Adagio – Allegro assai, ¾ Largo cantabile, G major, Menuetto. Allegro, 3/4 and Finale: Presto ma non troppo, 2/4.
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As the second movement winds up, the music increasingly becomes slower and softer. This only lasts till asurprising fortissimo bassoon “fart” takes the music back for the movement’s closing. This piece of work shows that Haydn had a sense of humor and preferred to incorporate jokes into his own compositions.
He wanted his works to be full of sense that would allow the audiences to enjoy and accept all the positive feelings and atmosphere out of everything he presented. This is similar to the second movement in his Surprise Symphony composition (Steinberg 1995).
The minuet is characterized by a trio that is highly original and can be compared to timpani display of pomp and outbursts which are accompanied by softer passages using the strings. In the fourth movement of the composition, the oboe is known for quoting “Viva la libertà” which is from Mozart’s work known as Don Giovanni. In his letter, Haydn writesthat he was dissatisfied with the ending because he considered it to be unenticing as compared to the first movement (Steinberg 1995). The letter was addressed to Maria Anna von Genzinger. In the letter, he indicated that he wanted to improve on it, but there was no evidence that any improvements were made.
Symphony no. 94
This particular symphony is usually referred to by its nick name, the surprise symphony. The symphony is in G-major and is the second of the twelve London symphonies composed by Joseph Haydn. He composed it in 1791 in London during one of his visits to England. The launch of his composition was March 23rd, 1792, at Hanover Square rooms in London. He led the orchestra whilst seated at a forte piano (Sinclair 1999).
The symphony is a classical-era orchestra. The main instruments played in the performance so as to produce the beautiful sounds were flutes, oboes, bassoons, horns, trumpets, and the timpani, each of which came in sets of twos. In addition, there was a string session that consisted of first and second violins, violas, cellos, and double basses. The surprise symphony lasts up to 23 minutes on a single performance (Robbins 1976).
The symphony’s nick name, the surprise, indeed did have its origin. As he talked to his biographer in his old age, Haydn mentioned that his intention wasn’t to awaken the public but to surprise them with something that was new and making a remarkable debut. He did not want his student Pleyel who at the time was performing at an orchestra in London to outdo him.
He found the first Allegro of his symphony to be rather entertaining and was received with much enthusiasmand its climax was arrived at when at the Andante there was the drum thump. That itself got many of his audiences requesting for an encore. He admitted that even Pleyel himself congratulated him on his brilliant idea.
Nevertheless, his composition contains many jokes. It is comprised of a sudden fortissimo chord at the end of piano opening theme in the variation form second movement. The tempo then goes back to its original quiet pace and the variations that ensue not to repeat the already used before, thus, inevitably altering the mood. His work is in four movements namely: I. Adagio – Vivace assai, Andante, Menuetto: Allegro molto and Finale: Allegro molto.
In the first movement, Haydn has composed his work using the monothematic sonata form. It comprises of a three quarter lyrical introduction that comes before a highly rhythmic main section in 6/8 time. His second movement is in form of variation and themes in 2/4 time in c-major.
The theme is in two eight bar sessions and each one of them is repeated. Quite unexpected for everybody moment takes place at the end of the first session when it is repeated and is achieved “through repeating the pianissimo with pizzicato in the lower strings” (Robbins 1976). A total of four variations in the strings follow. Still in the same movement, there is a coda section where the introductory notes are repeated.
The third movement is in G major. The tempo, Allegro molto, or very quickly, is easily identified because the slower, danceable, tempo toward the scherzo. The fourth and final movement is considered to be rhythmic andlively in addition to being composed in sonata rondo. The introductory bars heardat the opening and in the middle of the progressive segment.
Towards the end of his career, Haydn modified the second movement into an aria of his oratorio and is often used today by musical teachers to teach beginners in music.
This symphony was first written in 1791 and performed at a concert season in London. Strong evidence suggests that Haydn had initially combined Symphony no.95 and Symphony no.96. It is considered to be rather different from all the other symphonies because it does not have a slow introduction as is traditional for Haydn’s symphonies and it does not have a minor key.
He completely felt that the nature was quite dramatic and was thinking that it could be easily substituted by the slow tones at the beginning. The first movement has an outstanding introduction with an initial fortissimo upsurge ensued by a dotted rhythm tune. It is then covered by Sturm und Drang tension. This is a really diverse transition especially the way it is built on the opening figure. It moderates to E-flat major on the secondary theme which is a softer tune for the violins.
The primary and secondary themes can be heard in the wide-ranging development segment. However, the strong figure from the very beginning of the movement becomes dominant. Haydn decided to remove the tune from the truncated repetition because it sounded too many times and instead began the segment with the dotted rhythm theme. The second theme begins and ends in C major. The second movement is almost entirely scored for the strings only.
In the third movement, Haydn moves the symphony to C-major while still keeping in mind the typical formal limitations of the minuet and trio. The second part of the movement begins in E-flat with a new tune and repeatsthe initial section. It, however, resumes to C minor. The opposing Trio is in C major anda cello solo can be heard all the way through to the end making the piece sound more graceful and sophisticated. The symphony comes to an endon a lively note by setting the final piece in C major.
The story behind this symphony is that a chandelier broke and crashed into the hall during its debut in London’s Hanover Square Rooms in 1791. Fortunately, no one got hurt. It is from this incidence that the symphony was nick named “Miracle”.
Haydn went to great lengths to present himself as both a learned composer and a musician during the premier of this symphony. He was used to perform to a courtly crowd and now he had to appease to a bourgeois audience.
The symphony opens with a short Adagio. This piece of composition is quite busy and vibrant. It consists of sudden lively contrasts aimed to keep the volatile audience attentive. This symphony has more interesting development segments as compared to the other compositions. It worksfrom end to end employing melodic fragments that have greater thoroughness and variety than usual.
Variety is initiated mainly through orchestration instead of manipulating the notes. However, the melody benefits greatly from a contrapuntal treatment. In the Andante, the responsive phrase is composed of “brief, tentative sounds followed by a smoother, rippling passage” (Sinclair 1999). The trio uses an oboe solo which is in a Ländler tune.
At the end, there is a Vivace assai that let the audience feel ‘one of Haydn’s cheerful, dashing tunes for strings accompanied by occasional woodwind” (Sinclair 1999). This part of the symphony remains at a low vibrant level. The music adopts an energetic tune that varies and it includes a brief mode stirring but brief ending.
This symphony was the final one of the six initial symphonies composed by Haydn and was set to be performed for the first time in London on May 3, 1792. The symphony is in C-major and is characterized by the trumpet and drum tunes. The first movement has a rhythm that sounds like a marching band and a fanfare motivein a typical warlike environment.
Haydn easily makes a connection between the first movement’s slow introduction and the following sonata-form arrangement by employing the rhythm from the opening and towards the conclusion of the introduction. The Adagiois a slow movement that has a set of variations where refined orchestral special effects contribute to the alterations of the theme.
The Minuet and Trio have noticeable variations in their executions while being performed but none of the repetitions seems intentional or literal. This allows for alterations in instrumentation and smoothness while still using the old fashioned trend of repetition which is an attribute assigned to the minuet. At the end of the trio, a violin solo can be heard and this is assumed to be Haydn’s way of thanking the producer who was responsible for the most satisfying musical experience that he had ever experienced in his entire life.
Haydn’s expertise in orchestration is displayed in the way he isolates this particular single line from the rest of the orchestra which is accompanied by the timpani, violins and horns. However, this was an unusual use of tone color at the time.
On arriving in Vienna, Haydn changed the conclusion from Sprituoso to Presto assai. The first part is recurrent and eventually transforms into the main Gmajor. The second part continues with G major with the horns blowing away but it is noticeable how the accompaniments move to the trumpets and timpani. The second part of the theme is finalized by referencing to the first part which ends on the tonic and is repeated.
The middle section seems to have fresh material that is built from the first two sections which eventually return to their initial rhythms without repeating anything resulting in a refreshing melody. The second section in its initial composition concludes on C major, hence, there is no reason for any adjustments at its recap. However, the following coda’s confirmation of the tonic is indeed needed as the movement concludes with bits and pieces of the first theme.
Symphony no. 98
This melody is remarkably different from the other symphonies. The death of Mozart in Vienna may have had an impact on Haydn and that is why the symphony sounds so profound. Haydn wrote a letter to Michael Puchberg, a close and dear friend to Mozart. In the ,e wrote saying that Mozart’s death had indeed taken him by surprise and he could not believe that a man who was so talented would be taken from this world so soon.
The composition’s scoring is unusual as it required one flute plus two each of oboe, bassoon, horn, trumpet, timpani, strings and harpsichord obbligato. The pulse that can be heardat the beginning of the movement is so slow that it sounds more like arough idea of harmonies than an actual theme.
It is common knowledge to anybody who has a keen ear to music to see that Haydn’s slow introductions are usually based on the theme of the first movement. The striking thing is that he always managed to present it without making it sound like the actual opening of the melody.
The most appealing aspect of this symphony is the Adagio in the second movement. When we compare the previous symphonies to this one, we see that there is a depth of feelings and emotion instead of the cheerful slow movements typically featured in the other symphonies. Haydn’s grief may have influenced this outcome. However, the most outstanding feature of this symphony is an 11-measure keyboard passage that comes before the conclusion of this part.
Most orchestral works are usually conducted from the keyboard, and Haydn was just following tradition by directing his symphonies from the keyboard. He used a harpsichord as a way of keeping the composition together and appreciating what he considered tradition. By the 1790s, the use of keyboard instruments to fill in harmonies in an orchestral concert had become obsolete. Haydn’s sense of humor is displayed when he decides to use the instrument in a solo at the end of his large piece.
Symphony no. 99
This symphony was first performed in February 1794 in London in E flat major. It is one of Haydn’s first symphonies in which Haydn’s piece isamplified by a pair of clarinets that add to the totalsmooth tone color of the entire segment.
As is typical of Haydn’s slow introductions, the sonata form first movement ensues and pulses at a Vivace assai tempo. The main theme is displayed by using the strings only. A transition is introduced through a repetition of the first theme with the full orchestra. This is typical of Haydn’s work as it is marked by his legendary long segments that are actually longer than the first segment. When the main theme is introduced, the first theme is repeated, but on B flat major.
This implies that the theme is a monothematic movement. A secondary theme appears much later into the piece. The progressive section mixes the opening performances of the main theme, sometimes in transposition and joined with other components of the piece. When the ending nears, the full orchestra is heard and all the material of the showset to the tonic follows a considerablysummarized transition.
Thelow Adagio must have been influenced by Haydn’s response to the passing on of his close friend and companion, Marianne von Genziger in January, 1793. The second theme is characterized byan unusually long progressive section. The G major movement is also characterized by some intriguing re-orchestration towards the conclusion of the second theme.In the E flat major Minuet, the first section modifies to become the central theme.
This tune carries on as the second section is introduced with a rising drive that makes up for the falling figure of the first segment. This serves as a perfect illustration of Haydn’s preference for long-range harmonious balance. The introductory performances are repeated and finalize Minuet bringing back E flat major. The Trio consists of harmonies that have a limited variety as compared to those of the Minuet and is composed in C major.
It is worth noting that the Rondo Finale lives and stays that way through out in a Vivace rhythm. The unrelenting tempo pauses for a moving instant at the center of the movement. This is similar to the opening in the introduction of the first movement. Once it regains its energy, the Rondo moves to a great ending.
Symphony no. 100
On his first journey to England in 1791-1792, Haydn’s first journey to England in 1791-1792 became angry and discouraged thus he went back home to Vienna, where Prince Anton had relocated the court. Even though Haydn remained the formal and fully paid Esterházy Kapellmeister, there were no responsibilities.
A number of things made him angry and despaired and they included: the newspapers did not appreciate his return or hisamazingaccomplishments abroad, his highly valued Mozart had passed on, his wife acted more defiantly than ever, and hated the year he spent with Beethoven who at the time made it clear that if Mozart were alive he would have preferred him.
Haydn was ecstatic when he was invited back to England for a few more concerts by Johann Peter Salomon. He had been looking for permission from Prince Anton to be able to perform at those concerts and “he left Vienna on January 19, 1794, with his copyist and close friend, Joseph Elssler” (Ian 2010). The orchestra had improved and would include clarinets. On his 62nd birthday, Haydn premiered the season’s third and final debut which resulted in a soaring career.
He made an outstanding presentation and performed on the high level that was very memorable for the audience and everyone who was participating in the show; the audience also demanded “an encore following the second movement, which consisted of the triangle, crash cymbals, and bass drum” (Ian 2010). These instruments were considered to be “Turkish” instruments and were only heard in the opera house.
The symphony may have been inspired by the Ottoman attack of 1788-1790 into the Hapsburg Empire. It was at this time that Joseph II fell ill at the front and eventually passed on. The second movement of the symphony featured trumpet music which was an actual army call referred to as the Austrian General Salute, so as to compliment the military style that is featured in the symphony (Ian 2010). Currently, this symphony, with an exception of the slow movement, sounds boisterous, with typicalflares of humor.
The Military Symphony’s finale is based upon a single central theme. Following the Adagio introduction in the first movement, the main theme is characterized by a smooth melody from the flute and two oboes, which have never been witnessed in concert music before 1794. In addition, the trio of the minuet has a flamboyant dotted ostinato openinggiven emphasis to with timpani. This symphony has even more wonders than the so-called Surprise symphony (Ian 2010).
Symphony no. 101
Following the awesome accomplishment of his first trip to London in 1791, Haydn returned to Vienna. He continued to write as well as give some music lessons to a few students such as Beethoven. He arrived in February 1794 where he willingly performed alongside Salomon.
The first movement’s introduction is theatrical and quiet. When the pulsehastens to Presto, it is in a dynamic, boisterous 6/8 meter. This is indeed a very unusual attribute to be heard in the first movement of a symphony.
The symphony’s nickname came from the accompaniment that was dominant through-out the second movement and sounded like a “tick tock”. Bassoons and pizzicato strings are responsible for the tick-tock initially whichcomplemented anelegant, slightly modest melody. There is a passionate interval at the main theme which is immediately followed by a repetition of the tick-tock.
The third movement is quite long and the mostcomplicated among all of Haydn’s minuet movements. Because of this reason, the symphony’s nickname has stuck. Haydn had given his patron Prince Esterházya musical clock in 1793 and got inspired to write a set of twelve sections. One of the pieces became the foundation for this magnificent, pompous movement.
This trio composition may have inspired Beethoven inone of his symphonies referred to as “Pastoral”in the later years. The Finale is created on a dynamicmelody that is exposed to a very compoundprogression, even containinganenergeticblackout at one point. As is typical of the London symphonies, the string segment is known to perform some unusually difficult openings.
Symphony no. 102
This symphony has been regarded as Haydn’s greatest composition yet it is the least performed among all his symphonies. It lacks a nick name and a sense of humor as is typical of his other works. However, these are all shallow reasons for its abandonment. Symphony No. 96 was nicknamed the “Miracle,” but as the story goes, the actual miracle happened during the debut of this symphony when the chandelier crashed into the hall but no one was injured.
As usual, this symphony begins with a slow almost sluggish introduction. A relaxed, intense chord for completeensemble accompanied by the timpani roll introduces aconfusing Largo string theme that seems uncertain of what direction to take. The chord is repeated, following which the theme comes back more extensive and its finally replaced by an energetic Allegro Vivace that is basically an expansion of the opening.
During this part, the movement’s second subject is completely self-regulating, instead of being just a variation of the first. This is despite the fact that it is punctuated by two loud chords and it is ratherpassive with subtle hints at the minor. The progression is considered to be Haydn’s most extensive and theatrical piece, with both themes swapping off swiftly and at times overlapping. The upfrontrepetition is finalized with an extraordinarilytempestuous coda.
The Adagio elicits a long instance of tranquility. It appears in both F major and in the F sharp inversion at the center of Haydn’s Piano Trio, H. 15/26. The main theme goes through so many changes until the movement carries a light melancholy that tries to bring out something far more intense in its climaxes.
The Minuet softens the mood once more with its theme markedbypolished notes at the opening of almost every bar. The trio segment, consisting of mainly the oboe and bassoon, barely communicates the melancholy of the slow movement, but this is quickly replaced by the comeback of the first segment.
The Presto finale does not display any hints of melancholy. Instead, it is characterized by “fast string tunes frequently graced by the sounds of little sputters from the woodwinds and their soothing tunes” (Michael 1994). The tune is characterized by a thorough progression through-out the passage of the movement. It is believed that the intervals featured in this symphony predict the impending success of Beethoven (Michael 1994).
Symphony no. 103
This second last symphony was “composed for the 1795 season of Opera Concerts in London” and was “produced by the talented violinist and composer Giovanni Battista Viotti” (Michael 2010). This masterpiece was composed in 1794 and 1795, and was first performed on March 2, 1795 at the King’s Theatre This masterpiece was composed in1794 and 1795.
The “Drumroll” of the title characterizes the very opening of the symphony. There are no energetic patterns in the tune thus the real sound of the roll on the timpani rests on the particular presentation. At times, it may commence flamboyantly and gradually die out while at other instances it may commence silently, and then develop gradually into a flamboyant tune before fading out again.
The mood eventually lightens and becomes adynamic music piece. The progressive section is ranges widely and integrates a surprising come back of the gloomy introductory music, complete with timpani roll, afore a tantalizing conclusion.
A pair of folk songs that were believed to have been influenced by Haydn’s experience back home in Austria can be heard in the second movement of the symphony.
The two themes are similar to one another on various aspects that can be noted by a keen ear of musical expertise especially in the major and minor which are displayed in the introduction of the strings. Each of the melodies is exposed to a pair of variations. A magnificent violin solo, composed particularly for the Opera Concerts’ well renowned and talented leader, Viotti, can also be heard in the melody.
The third movement is more relaxed and soothing especially when one hears the divine strumming of the strings by the wood winds in the movement’s trio segment. The fourth movement, on the other hand, is characterized by a combination of the French horn cries and a sparkly violin melody that revitalizes and soothes the concentrating audience at the beginning and this style becomes dominant in the entire piece through-out the performance. As a result, the section comes off as modest yet refined and appealing (Michael 2010).
Symphony no. 104
The Symphony premiered on May 4, 1795 at London’s King’s Theatre. The concert was marked by the military-like symphony and was by far one of his greatest concerts yet to be seen in London through-out the 1790s. By this time, Haydn was extremely popular and had good pay. A farewell concert was held in his honor and was paid generously right before he returned to Austria.
The first movement is imperious and dramatic and precedes a high-spirited Allegro. The main theme is developed at length. The second movement Andante is characterized by a justly simple theme which gradually becomes quite moving and intense. As is typical in his compositions, Haydn uses folk music for the Finale with the main tune of the movement being a Croatian folk song which may have been as a result of his encounterin Eisenstadt.
It is considered and believed that the tune called forth the street cries which were known to be used by the street people and falconers in England which might have pushed him to create that old folk song. Nevertheless, the tune is characterized by some exhilarating and intricate progressions. The symphony concludes with an impressive and heartening discourse.
Franz Joseph Haydn was an outstanding musician who proved to the whole world that everything in his life was possible once one had a desire to do something or to create something. It is always important to believe in yourself and believe in the set goals which should be reached by all means.
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