image of Haydn
Franz Joseph Haydn
1685 to 1759

His life
Haydn's family could not afford to give him music lessons, so his parents sent him to live with some relatives who also taught him music.

Soon his beautiful boy's voice was noticed and he went to a church in Vienna to sing in a boy's choir. There he continued to learn the rudiments of music as well as being given his meals and a roof over his head. When his voice broke, though, he could no longer sing in the choir and had a difficult time making ends meet.

Fortunately a member of the well-to-do Esterhazy family was so impressed by his abilities, that Haydn was hired to be director of all the music in the vast Esterhazy estate. Thereafter Haydn lived a secure and satisfying life employed by the Esterhazys.

As his fame grew, he was asked to write compositions for concerts further and further from home. His greatest success was when he was about to retire from his duties with the Esterhazys. At that crucial time he wrote some wonderfully successful symphonies in London.

His Works
Haydn wrote many piano sonatas and string quartets. Among the London Symphonies is his famous Surprise Symphony.

You can download this music by Haydn:
AudioAudio of
Surprise! from Movement 2 of the "Surprise" Symphony, arranged
excerpt of original
student performance

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