Franz Joseph Haydn

Powerful Essays

Dear President Schneider :

On behalf of the great Franz Joseph Haydn, I write this letter of recommendation to support the admission of a great composer into the International Enlightenment Society. In order for a musician to be eligible for your society, I understand that he must embody the characteristics of the Enlightenment and more specifically, as a composer, his music must possess the characteristics of the Classical period. I assure you that what you will find in this letter of recommendation will not be disappointing. Franz Joseph Haydn was a great composer of the Classical era. Known as the Father of Symphony and the inventor of string quartets, the examples and styles that Haydn set forth were relied upon by Mozart and Beethoven in creating their own respective masterpieces.

Born in a small town just inside Austrian borders, Haydn did not have much of a chance to be anything other than a wheelwright like his father. However, his father was a man who loved to sing and when Haydn was a boy, he memorized almost every song his father sang. This was his beginning in music. Later on, he received an education from his uncle where he gained more of an interest in music. Participation in a choir gave him the opportunity to go to Vienna and there, he studied the piano sonatas of Emanuel Bach and was given the chance to finally get a chance to compose; something he had always wanted to do. This is when the first string quartet was developed. Later on, he was employed by the Esterhazy family and was given the chance to conduct an orchestra and write symphonies. It was at this time and place that Haydn was “completely isolated from the world…he could experiment…improve, alter, add, or cut as boldly as he pleased.'; This was the start of a magnificent career.

To understand why Haydn was a great classical composer, it is important to understand the certain characteristics and themes of the Classical Period. Unlike baroque music, classical was secular; it was non-religious and it resided more in the homes of nobles or in public works rather than in the church. There was the creation of symphonies, string quartets, and piano sonatas using a method called the sonata form. Unlike the complicated baroque counterpoint ...

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..., and prancing horses down to the wrigglings of the humble earthworm.'; Despite being of a Baroque genre, it was simple and logically thematic making it more Classical than it was baroque.

As you can quite see Mrs. President, Franz Joseph Haydn, definitely belongs in the International Enlightenment society. He was the inventor of the string quartets and the father of symphony, two important genres of the Classical period. He created the sonata form which has been echoed by other great composers including Mozart and Beethoven. His wide variety of music from happy dancing to somber funeral music was greatly appreciated by the public and the nobles earning him a honorary degree from Oxford as Doctor of Music. Unlike Mozart or Beethoven, when Haydn died he was not forgotten. Two weeks after his death, “the whole art-loving world of Vienna';, went to a great memorial service at the city center in honor of the greatest composer of the Classical period. If substance, restraint, simplicity, and balance of music are important characteristics of the Classical style, then it is not difficult to see why through his music, that Haydn was the greatest composer of Classical history.
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