Franz Josef Haydn

Symphony No. 101 in D Major, H. I:101 (“Clock”)

            The symphony has been the major genre for orchestra since the eighteenth century.   While its viability seemed questionable as the twentieth century waned, it still has its adherents among contemporary composers, and will probably survive, though not with the same universality and vitality as before.  As one can well imagine, from its roots in the early eighteenth-century opera overture to the extended and monumental works of late Romanticism, such a long gestation period, growth, and maturity would produce many “parents.”   Haydn has popularly been known as the “father” of the symphony, but, of course, no one is.  It must be said, though, that his contribution, at a critical time in its development was the most significant of anyone’s.   He, who was responsible more than an

Symphony No. 59 in A Major, H. I:59 (“Fire Symphony”)

            The symphony has been the major genre for orchestra since the eighteenth century.   While its viability seemed questionable as the twentieth century waned, it still has its adherents among contemporary composers, and will probably survive, though not with the same universality and vitality as before.  As one can well imagine, from its roots in the early eighteenth-century opera overture to the extended and monumental works of late Romanticism, such a long gestation period, growth, and maturity would produce many “parents.”   Haydn has popularly been known as the “father” of the symphony, but, of course, no one is.  It must be said, though, that his contribution, at a critical time in its development was the most significant of anyone’s.   He, who was responsible more than an

Symphony No. 60 in C Major, H. I/60 (“Il distratto”)

            Haydn, more than any other, contributed significantly to the development of the symphony over the course of his long career.  He wrote more than one hundred of them, taking advantage of his relative isolation out on the Hungarian plains at the estate of his employer, Prince Esterházy, to experiment and develop the genre.  There was a vigorous artistic environment at Esterháza, with a full schedule of theatre, chamber music, ballet, and large ensemble performances weekly, and Haydn was charged with composing the music for much of the festivities.  Symphony No.

Symphony No. 85 in B Flat Major, H. I/85 (“La Reine”)

            The symphony has been the major genre for orchestra since the eighteenth century.   While its viability seemed questionable as the twentieth century waned, it still has its adherents among contemporary composers, and will probably survive, though not with the same universality and vitality as before.  As one can well imagine, from its roots in the early eighteenth-century opera overture to the extended and monumental works of late Romanticism, such a long gestation period, growth, and maturity would produce many “parents.”   Haydn has popularly been known as the “father” of the symphony, but, of course, no one is.  It must be said, though, that his contribution, at a critical time in its development was the most significant of anyone’s.   He, who was responsible more than an

Symphony No. 92 in G Major, H. I/92 (“Oxford”)

            The symphony has been the major genre for orchestra since the eighteenth century.   While its viability seemed questionable as the twentieth century waned, it still has its adherents among contemporary composers, and will probably survive, though not with the same universality and vitality as before.  As one can well imagine, from its roots in the early eighteenth-century opera overture to the extended and monumental works of late Romanticism, such a long gestation period, growth, and maturity would produce many “parents.”   Haydn has popularly been known as the “father” of the symphony, but, of course, no one is.  It must be said, though, that his contribution, at a critical time in its development was the most significant of anyone’s.   He, who was responsible more than an

Trumpet Concerto in Eb Major, H. VIIe:1

            The Trumpet Concerto is from Haydn’s last period of composition, when he was universally recognized as one of the world’s greatest composers.  The composition and publication of his “London” symphonies had sealed his success, and he returned to Vienna, where he focused primarily upon sacred vocal music for the rest of his life, the Trumpet Concerto (1796) being a decided exception.  The impetus for the composition of the latter was surely the advent of the newly-invented keyed trumpet by Anton Weidinger, a virtuoso trumpeter in service to the Imperial Court in Vienna.  It must be understood that, until the late 1820s, no brass instruments had valves as they do today.  Consequently, with the exception of the trombones, trumpets and horns were very limited in the notes that we