Franz Joseph Haydn: Father Of Classical Music

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Franz Joseph Haydn is widely known as one of the creators of classical music, as well as being dubbed the “Father of the Symphony” and “Father of the String Quartet. He is also one of the greatest and most celebrated composers of all time. Haydn once remarked, “Young people can learn from my example that something can come from nothing. What I have become is the result of my hard efforts.” And it was the truth. Haydn came from humbler beginnings than most. He was born in Rohrau, Austria on March 31, 1732. His father, Mathias Haydn, was a wheelwright and a Marktrienter –similar to a village mayor. His mother, Maria Koller, worked as a cook in Count Harrach’s palace before marrying Haydn’s father. Haydn was one of three boys, all of whom pursued …show more content…
In 1803, Haydn began having health issues due to his old age. Over the next six years, the health of Haydn would only deteriorate. He died peacefully in bed at age 77 on May 31, 1809. His funeral was held on June 15 where Mozart’s Requiem was performed. In his lifetime, Haydn wrote many influential pieces. Haydn’s last set of quartets, Op. 76, is widely regarded as the highpoint of his compositions. The second quartet in this set is known as the Fifths, due to the opening falling intervals at the beginning, according to Professor Roger Parker. The movements in this monumental piece are as follows: allegro, andante, menuetto, and vivace. Conferring to Roger Parker, Op. 76 No.1 and No.2 are in “stark contrast”. While No. 1 starts with three huge, expansive notes in a noticeable, public way, No. 2 begins in a serious, almost harsh, dark tone due to the four-note motive heard with the violin, while all other instruments provide a filling accompaniment. This motive is like a theme, for it dictates the first movement, which Parker states is “a hair-stirred pleasure” due to the almost “too-unified” movement. It sounds very put-together, while maintaining a high level of emotion due to the violin. This first movement is in D minor, sonata …show more content…
The two violins and the viola and cells in pairs seem to take turns in telling a dramatic, severe tale. They play in octave unison, working seamlessly with the cello and viola following behind the violins. Parker states that this movement is known as the “Witches” minuet and trio. One can clearly imagine witches creating an evil concoction in black cauldrons with this piece. The last movement is played in D minor in the sonata allegro form. There is another contrast between this and the third movement. When one listens to it, it sounds bizarre, foreign, and yet pastoral. It is considered the character piece, as well as being dubbed “The Donkey”. This string quartet, as well as Op. 76 as a whole, exemplifies the seamless yet dramatic, severe give-and-take of themes between instruments to convey an enthralling tale. The experimentation and innovation Haydn showed throughout his musical career proved to play an important part in developing crucial forms of classical music, such as the symphony, concerto, string quartet, and the sonata. Haydn accomplished a truly arduous task, characterizing and defining classical music in the heart of the renaissance period. Haydn’s music exemplified the style, sophistication, and pureness of the era, immortalizing him as an influential symbol of the Classical

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