Joseph Haydn – The Seasons
Joseph Haydn (Rohrau, 31 December 1732 – Vienna, 31 May 1809) was an Austrian composer. During his life he was extremely appreciated and famous. Along with W. A. Mozart and L. van Beethoven, he is considered to be the most important representative of the Vienna classics. Born in the midst that was permeated not only by Austrian, but also by Hungarian cultural traditions, in the family of craftsmen and music lovers, Joseph and his two brothers – Mihael and Johann – were professional musicians. He received the first general and musical lessons from his cousins in Hainburg an der Donau, but at the age of 7 he joined a children’s choir in Vienna’s cathedral of St. Stephen. Haydn also learn musical theory, playing violins and harpsichord and studying music of Baroque masters (J. Mattheson, J. J. Fux). As a teenager, he had to leave the children’s choir due to his voice mutation, so he supported himself by giving music lesson, performances in church and aristocratic circles. From that period, many of his chamber compositions come from.
The change took place when the noble houses of Fürnberg and Morzin, took him in their service. 1761 Count Paul Anton and his brother Nicolaus Esterházy in Eisenstadt, hired him as a housekeeper. As the housekeeper he was appointed deputy chaplain, and initially composed mostly instrumental music (symphonies, concerts and music for baritone). From 1766 he acted as a chaplain and had to deal with church music, which reflected on his production (mass, oratories, etc.), but did not neglect either opera music for various celebrations of the Count’s family. His music from the 1770s are particularly expressive and point due to Haydn’s favoring a kind of musical Sturm und Drang. The support of the opera on the court prompted him to work as an operative contractor from 1776. Since 1764, and especially in the 1780s, his works have been regularly printed in many European cities, which is why he traveled a lot. From the 1780s Haydn became close friends with W. A. Mozart.
In 1790, after the death of N. Esterházy, the court ensemble was dissolved, and Haydn, although still in the service of Esterházy, went to Vienna; In 1790 he stayed in London and other English cities, where he held a number of concerts, composed and taught music, and received an Honorary Doctorate in Oxford. He spent his last years in Vienna; he devoted himself to composing ecclesiastical music. From this period, there are two oratory masterpieces – Die Schöpfung and Die Jahreszeiten, as well as his (official Austrian) Czarna hymn. The last time he appeared in the public, he performed The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross (The Wise Sages Erlösers am Kreutze) in 1803.
During the period of 50 creative years, his style passed from the gallant and late baroque through an extremely classical style to the lobby of romanticism. His compositions are distinguished by the transparency of the form, the balance between seriousness and wit; he more often opposed the stylistic features than synthesized them, and the compositional process was based on the traditional setting of diversity within unity and developed the style of exquisite and skillful simplicity. He painstakingly worked out the sonatas, insisting on the motive.
Half of Haydn’s creations are dedicated to vocal music. The sacred music was special to Haynd, he composed sacred music during all his compositional age: masses (short and solemn), oratories and many shorter church compositions were mostly intended for certain occasions. Although the orations of Creation and the Seasons belong to the sacral sphere, textual secularity and musical symphony stand out from the traditional sacral music.
In the field of instrumental music, Haydn composed 106 symphonies of historical and high artistic value, many of which received extraordinarily titles (eg No.101: Clock). Many of the concerts for various instruments (violin, cello, keyboard instruments, etc.) have been lost. His most distinguished music are chamber music: 68 string quartets, some of which are named after the persons they are dedicated to, 21 string trio, 126 trio for baritone and strings and a series of pieces for different ensembles. Music for Haydn music instruments was intended mostly for the harpsichord and piano. Significant years in Haydn’s life also influenced some compositional changes, from naive youthful works through the search period to the mature Classicism.