Last Updated 27 Jul 2020

What Influenced Joseph Haydn’s Music

Category Classicism, Music, Opera
Words 1852 (7 pages)
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Joseph Franz Haydn was an amazing man. He was a very ambitious, hard working, a never give up type of guy. From what Louis Nohl said, Haydn started singing by age six and he was part of church choir. With all the fame and greatness, he would still achieve success coming from a poor family living in a peasant cottage. What really grabbed my attention was how Haydn loved practicing music and though with his many struggles Haydn always kept positive and a strong attitude. He would go against his family’s wishes along with starving himself throughout his youth to be part of music.Haydn taught me that do what you love to do and you will be great at doing what you love. Haydn’s organization and neatness in his music comes from his childhood, where he was taught from an early age very strictly to have a habit of organization and cleanliness (Nohl 8). His family would also sing together at the end of each day and Haydn loved music so much that he would practice the violin with a little stick who a neighbor noticed he had precise time and tone during the age of only 5 at the time (Nohl).

I believe he is very organized from the music I listen to from him, an example is his movement 2 in his symphony #22 where you can hear the order of the melodies he performs. Haydn’s influences also came when he was in Vienna starting in 1750. (Nohl, Hadden). Haydn would receive nothing but music into his life; from books, to people he lived with, and to places he went. One of the people he studied under, according to Nohl, was a teacher of Italian opera named Nicolo Porpora. The Italian opera dominated Europe during that time. Fluid melodies along with clear and simple harmonic structure were the main points of the school.

There were many works of the Italian opera made for the Prince at that time. Haydn had to compose operas for special events including marriages for the prince’s neice and later for his son in 1777. With the new development in music that Haydn made, Nohl also states that Haydn improved in his singing, compositions, and his Italian. Accordingly, Haydn developed a more refined melody and clearer harmonies in his works. Hadden shows that Haydn received many different types of musical influences; one being a poet by the name of Metastasio.

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Haydn had a lot of teaching and that strengthened his music skills and one of the students being taught the Harpsichord by him (Hadden). Haydn devoted himself to taking care of him self righteously, the Vienna Hofcappellmeister were his textbooks and he put them aside for weeks while continuingly reviewing them until he mastered them (Nohl 44). Haydn also played for Von Furnberg, the councilor at the time had Haydn compose him string quartets and gave him wonderful music for his chamber music. I think I learned a lot from Haydn not just from his music.

It seems his success comes from his love for music and also his dedication to his work. I think anyone looking to become successful from a standpoint of low or middle class need to work very hard as Haydn did. Haydn was very interested in making money. In their sources, Haydn looked to play for weddings, churches, teach music, and more. Therefore, money had a large influence on Haydn and his music; another instance was his position with the count in 1759 where he was positioned as the Director. The symphony at the time consisted of an allegro, adagio, and a second allegro, which is three movements.

According to Nohl, part of the reason Haydn became symbolized as “The Father of Symphony” was because he transferred three movements to the quartet and added the minuet, which became the fourth movement. Unfortunately, Haydn married a woman who was bad for his health, it was the count’s eldest daughter and she continually complained, asked for purchases that were more than Haydn can afford, and in many instances offended Haydn (Nohl 51). Haydn finally left her and found boarding for her but not after long years of toil and hearing her distress constantly, surprisingly for the most part Haydn kept his cool and still made wonderful music.

Due to certain circumstances with the count, Haydn had lost his position there but shortly after Prince Esterhazy hired him, this was an important impact because Nohl said this secured Haydn as a composer for the rest of his life. Here, there were music of all types and Haydn was able to practice in peace and quiet (Nohl). Based on these circumstances, I believe that this gave a huge influence to Haydn with him surrounded by a versatility of music and the ability to focus composing because the lack of distraction.

This is where Haydn had more than enough influence and his music life (or you can just say his life) took a turn in an immensely positive direction because Elaine Schneider writes that in Prince Esterhazy’s house he had to do administrative work for the musicians along with making compositions for the orchestra, chamber music, and opera performances. Prince Esterhazy knew Haydn after he performed his first symphony that he also composed and the Prince was impressed. Robbins/Landon 25) While working under Prince Esterhazy, had 11-12 string players, a flautist, two oboists, two bassoonists, two horn players, and a timpanist in the orchestra. There were also two violinists, a cellist, trumpeters and drummers. Sometimes all these instruments would come together for a special occasion. Haydn had a great sense of humor and that also influenced his music, you can hear his “surprise symphony” where it was very goofy and lazy melody to it. (Robbins/Landon 25) He would like to also have sudden outbursts of dazzle and high spirits in his music.

His neatness and orderliness helped him get the most out of different types of music. With symphonies, he realized that instrumentals were more stronger and intellectual, as for serenades it was more suited for slow and sensuous instrumentals. Haydn was the first to invent inborn, free expressive, natural art to music and this is what Beethoven admired about him. You can hear in his music the emotions, characteristics, and expressions involved in almost all of them. Sadness, happiness, anger, humor, is some of the examples he puts up when he makes music. Nohl 79) Haydn executed works of art by expressing his ideas, thoughts, and feelings. This was particularly rare in that time; which was shortly after the Baroque era and the famous Bach along with other composers of the time mainly making church music. This attributed to his fame and success along with his constant love and perseverance throughout life. For this element of music he created, it aroused many including Beethoven and Mozart. An example of his love and perseverance is when the musicians and singers sabotaged Haydn’s Italian operas in 1776 when he composed for the king’s court.

Nevertheless, he still performed his works back at the house of the prince but not much because the prince’s house became on fire. After it took fire, Haydn already had copies made back in his house. This also helped me learn to have back up documents for my work at all times. Another large reason for Haydn’s musical excellence is due to his love of music. With this strong emotion, he was able to stand out from other musicians by being able to hold and develop an idea or feeling in his works. Many other composers would jump too fast and did not make an impact the human feeling.

Many of his works comprise of human nature and characteristic to it. No. 5 is of complete buoyant human health and clearness. No. 7 gives a dark and strange twist and gives the feeling of an uneasy person. No. 8 has a beautifully melody along with a creative and intellectually composed harmony. His masterpieces would go to deeper depth, which included the operas; he was exceptional at bringing about problems and then solving them through intelligence without losing the feelings involved in the opera.

A great influence on his music was Prince Nicolaus who during 1775 to 1785, who had Haydn compose so many Italian operas that Haydn barely had time to make other works (Robbins/Landon 53). The works he did compose outside of Italian operas, were very minimal and were less popular than most others. Though there were benefits with composing many opera works, it had enriched his technique and left him with new ideas that could be worked out in other forms, this way all his music benefitted from his concentration on music for the theatre.

Haydn stated the works for his string quartets were made in a new and special way. Haydn stated that Mozart was the person who had an effect on him the most in his musical compositions and his rise to stardom (Nohl 93). The feeling was mutual; from Mozart’s letters he admired Haydn since he was a child. Around 1782, when many of Haydn’s works reached Italy it was all kept with joy and love, which influenced Haydn to make the same. Also, Mozart made six quartets for Haydn for his admiration along with writing a letter to him. Though Haydn never missed an opportunity to listen to Mozart’s works.

At the end of 1790, the Price of Esterhaz had died and thus Haydn finally was able to leave Esterhaz and went to London. In his new location, Haydn now broadened his intellectual horizon and expanded on his development. Haydn later recognized some of Beethoven works and uniquely distinguished that his music had more developed and patterned symphonies, sonatas, along with quartets (Nohl 112). Haydn had done a lot of influencing to musicians and composers as well. Though Beethoven eventually became a more popular composer than Haydn, Beethoven was first a scholar of Haydn (Nohl 179).

Haydn became a wealthy, famous person, known and visited from many high rank noblemen. He was asked by many kings and queens across Europe to perform music or work for them. The even greater aspect of all of this is that Haydn came from a small cottage house in lower Austria with not very much money and his father just a wheelwright. He is recognized in Europe as one of the best musicians who ever lived, even ranked close to Beethoven. What made Haydn’s music so amazing and wonderful was that it contained natural life and expression through them.

He had a connection with nature in his music and he was a constant worker. He once stated in his old age how he is humble and grateful of all the luxuries he receives because of his success, but no one really know strenuous and the toil he has dealt with due to his hard work. Haydn’s musical success came from many different influences, the main factor being the love of music. It all started when he was a young boy when the family had everyone sing together, to studying in different schools, being taught by many including the famous poet Mestasio, and the constant work at Esterhaz.

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