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Joseph Haydn was a composer born in Rohrau, Austria in 1732. He was the son of a wheel maker, whom taught himself how to play harp on an amateur and recreational basis. His family was musically inclined and Haydn was immersed in music since his early childhood as they made it a family affair to sing together and at times even along with neighbors. His father appreciated Haydn’s fine vocal ability and recognized that Rohrau was not an ideal place for Haydn to develop his musical skills. He was fostered under the care of their relative Johann Matthias Frankh at his request around the age of six, never to return home. Frankh was a schoolmaster and choirmaster in Hainburg. It was under Frankh’s care that he grasped the rudiments of music and was able to learn how to play the violin and the clavier. Karl Georg Reutter, choirmaster at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, also appreciated his singing. Reutter scouted Haydn as a choirboy and took him to Vienna, where he stayed for the next nine years and earned himself tuition in violin, clavier, and in singing. Haydn’s voice naturally “broke” around 1749 and was consequently dismissed by St. Stephens, leaving him penniless and homeless in the streets of Vienna. He couldn’t have been any place better in the world being a broke musician than in Vienna, where aristocratic families demanded fine musicians for their courts. He freelanced taking several odd jobs to scrape by; he mentored children, played violin for street bands and took the time to teach himself composition. He made a name for himself and first caught the attention of Count Ferdinand Maximillian von Morzin in 1759 and thus gained steady employment at his court. His tenure there was short-lived and the Count’s orchestra disbande…

…en and saw potentiality in him to become the greatest composer of his time. His last period of productivity was spent writing oratorios. The most famous being ‘The Creation’ and ‘The Seasons’ performed first from 1798 to 1801. Franz Joseph Haydn died at the age of 77 on the month of May in1809 after a history of declining health. His legacy includes being regarded as the father of the string quartet, or at least promoting it to prominence after the outdated baroque-era trio sonata; consisting of two violins, a viola, and cello. The ensemble was created accidentally after he was invited by a Baron to his place near Vienna to enjoy casual music, at which time only the Baron’s pastor, manager, Haydn, and another amateur player were in attendance (playing the parts of two violins, a viola, cello). Haydn is regarded today to be one of the best classical-period musicians.

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