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Great Composers Through History

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1 Great Composers Through History

2 Index

3 The Baroque Era 1685-1750 continue
Like most other historical titles, the Baroque era was given its name by posterity. The name Baroque is probably derived from a word meaning "irregular pearl", in other words, something that was very elaborate but badly misshapen. The name was not given out of affection, but out of contempt for the style that the next generation found badly out of date. While certain pieces and certain composers have always been popular, the Baroque period in general had to wait until the mid 1800s before general listening audiences became interested in it. This first appreciation of "golden oldies" continues through today, as Baroque music remains very popular with modern audiences. The Baroque musical style is very ornate, theatrical, elaborate, grandiose, and occasionally pompous. This also is a description often applied to Baroque art, painting, literature, and architecture. This should suggest some kind of a link between all of these and the era. Who had the gold and the power in the Baroque era? It was concentrated in two areas--the Church and the monarchy. Don't forget that the period ended several decades before the American and French revolutions, so the concept of "by the people and for the people" was only a faint glimmer on the horizon. Imagine you were a musician (or other artist) wishing to make a living at your craft. You would probably gravitate toward the sources that could pay you a living wage. Composing for the popular audience and musical freelancing were two things unknown to Baroque musicians. They operated under what is known as the "patronage system". Wealthy and powerful patrons (the Church being one of them) often retain a group of musicians to perform at their beck and call--a trade off of flexibility for job security. Most musicians of the era worked for patrons. continue

4 Think about this next idea for a few seconds--if you were to write music to please an important, powerful, and very rich boss, how would you go about it? What style would your work take on? While you're thinking about your answer, take a look at the ornamented and grandiose work produced by Baroque painters, architects, craftsmen, etc. and you'll probably come to the same conclusion as they did. Music with a powerful social message, one that appealed to the masses would not be conducive to keeping one's job very long. Is it any wonder that later eras, whose music was written to appeal to the common man, find Baroque art to be excessively ornate, pompous, and grand? Baroque performing ensembles were generally small and extensively used the harpsichord, recorder, and organ. The music is lavishly composed with a great complexity in each musical line. Music in general was far more polyphonic during this time than in later eras. Melody was less important than we are used to. Common types of instrumental music found in the Baroque era include the fugue, the suite, the concerto, and sonatas. Common types of vocal music included the opera and the oratorio, which was basically an opera with no action or staging--the singers stood still. The cantata, a smaller scale vocal piece, was very common to those who worked for the church. A great deal of modern musical theory is based on J. S. Bach's music. This means that musically, many of the things we do today are based on the way he chose to work with them almost 300 years ago. The modern form of the orchestra began to take shape in the Baroque era. Musical notation evolved to the point where it became very similar to what we use today. In Cremona, Italy, the violins being made by the Stradivari, Amati, and Guarneri families reached a quality that has never been topped--some would say has never even been matched. The Baroque era represents an age of exploration and discovery and what we would call the beginning of modern music. Similarly, many other non-musical disciplines find the Baroque era to be the beginning of their own modern thought, among them painting, philosophy, and the mathematical theory of probability. Among the most important Baroque composers were Handel, J.S. Bach, Buxtehude, Lully, Monteverdi, Purcell, A. Scarlatti, D. Scarlatti, Corelli, Telemann, and Vivaldi. Bach's music and influence were so strong that his death date is considered to be the end of the Baroque era. Index Timeline

5 Musicians Baroque Era Timeline Historical Events
King James Version of the Bible Jamestown founded (1607) Reign of Peter the Great Pompeii rediscovered Louis XIV reigns in France ( ) Louis XV reigns in France ( ) Musicians Claudio Monteverdi ( ) Jean-Baptiste Lully ( ) Arcangelo Corelli ( ) Henry Purcell (c ) Antonio Vivaldi ( ) J.S. Bach ( ) G.F. Handel ( ) Back to Baroque

6 Classical Era 1750-1825 Index Timeline
Although the Classical Era lasted for only 75 years, there was a substantial change in the music that was being produced. Classical music placed a greater stress on clarity with regard to melodic expression and instrumental color. Although opera and vocal music (both sacred and secular) were still being written, orchestral literature was performed on a much broader basis. The orchestra gained more color and flexibility as clarinets, flutes, oboes, and bassoons became permanent members of the orchestra. The classical style was dominated by homophony , which consisted of a single melodic line and an accompaniment. New forms of composition were developed to adapt to this style. The most important of these forms was the sonata. This form continued to change and evolve throughout the classical period, and it is important to note that the classical sonata was very different from the sonatas written by Baroque composers. The melodies of the Classical era were more compact and diatonic. Harmony was less structured. It used the tonic, dominant, and subdominant chords. In addition, during this period, diatonic harmony was more common then chromatic. Composers mainly used chords in triadic form and occasionally used seventh chords in their compositions. The four major composers of the Classical era were Haydn, Mozart, Gluck, and Beethoven. These composers wrote extensively for vocal and instrumental mediums. Index Timeline

7 Classical Era Timeline
Musicians C.P.E. Bach ( ) Franz Joseph Haydn ( ) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart ( ) Ludwig van Beethoven ( ) Franz Schubert Historical Events Declaration of Independence (1776) Eli Whitney invents the Cotton Gin (1793) Ed Jenner introduces smallpox vaccination (1796) Napoleonic Wars ( ) A. Volta builds first battery (1800) Robert Fulton produces first submarine (1801) Thomas Jefferson becomes president (1801) Child labor restricted to 12 hours Louisiana Purchase (1803) Gay-Lussac ascends in a hydrogen-filled balloon to 7000 meters Apert develops technique for canning food (1809) US declares war on Britain (1812) Brothers Grimm's "Fairy Tales" (1812) Stephenson builds his first steam locomotive (1814) First gas street lights (1814) Laennac invents the stethoscope (1816) "Missouri Compromise" (1820) Accordian invented (1822) Portland Cement developed (1824) First railroad opened (1825) Back to classical

8 The Romantic Era 1825-1900 Index Timeline
The Romantic era was a period of great change and emancipation. While the Classical era had strict laws of balance and restraint, the Romantic era moved away from that by allowing artistic freedom, experimentation, and creativity. The music of this time period was very expressive, and melody became the dominant feature. Composers even used this expressive means to display nationalism . This became a driving force in the late Romantic period, as composers used elements of folk music to express their cultural identity. As in any time of change, new musical techniques came about to fit in with the current trends. Composers began to experiment with length of compositions, new harmonies, and tonal relationships. Additionally, there was the increased use of dissonance and extended use of chromaticism . Another important feature of Romantic music was the use of color. While new instruments were constantly being added to the orchestra, composers also tried to get new or different sounds out of the instruments already in use. One of the new forms was the symphonic poem , which was an orchestral work that portrayed a story or had some kind of literary or artistic background to it. Another was the art song , which was a vocal musical work with tremendous emphasis placed on the text or the symbolical meanings of words within the text. Likewise, opera became increasingly popular, as it continued to musically tell a story and to express the issues of the day. Some of the themes that composers wrote about were the escape from political oppression, the fates of national or religious groups, and the events which were taking place in far off settings or exotic climates. This allowed an element of fantasy to be used by composers. During the Romantic period, the virtuoso began to be focused. Exceptionally gifted performers -pianists, violinists, and singers -- became enormously popular. Liszt, the great Hungarian pianist/composer, reportedly played with such passion and intensity that women in the audience would faint. Most composers were also virtuoso performers; it was inevitable that the music they wrote would be extremely challenging to play. Index Timeline

9 Romantic Timeline Historical Events Musicians more
Neipce produces photographs on a metal plate (1827) Hans Christian Andersen publishes first of his tales for children (1835) Morse displays his electric telegraph (1837) Froebel opens his first kindergarten (1837) Thousands of eastern Native Americans are forced West (1838) First bicycle built (1839) Adolphe Sax invents the saxophone (1841) Charles Dicken's "A Christmas Carol" (1843) Wood pulp paper invented (1844) Hunt patents the safety pin (1849) Bunsen invents the gas burner (1850) Singer devises a continuous stitch sewing machine (1850) Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection" (1859) Abraham Lincoln becomes President (1861) Civil War ( ) First oil pipeline (1865) more Musicians Felix Mendelssohn ( ) Frederic Chopin ( ) Robert Schuman ( ) Franz Liszt ( ) Richard Wagner ( ) Johannes Brahms ( ) Modest Mussorgsky ( ) Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky ( ) Antonin Dvorak ( ) Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakoff ( ) Johann Strauss, Jr. ( ) Saint-Saens

10 Romantic Timeline continued
Alfred Nobel invents dynamite (1866) US buys Alaska from Russia Remington begins to make typewriters (1873) Color photographs invented (1873) AG Bell invents the telephone (1876) Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" (1876) Edison invents phonograph (1877) Hughes invents the microphone (1878) Edison invents light bulb (1879) First skyscraper built (Chicago 1883) Benz builds gasoline engine for motor car (1885) First moving picture shows (New York 1890) Zipper invented (1891) Rontgen discovers X-rays (1895) Ramsey discovers helium (1896) First magnetic recording of sound (1899) Aspirin first manufactured (1899) Back to Romantic Era

11 Felix Mendohlssohn 1809-1847 Back to Romantic Era
Felix Bartholdy Mendelssohn was a famous German composer. Born in 1809, Mendelssohn lived a happy life from the start. Like other virtuoso composers, he was a child genius when it came to music. At age nine he gave his first piano concert, composed productively from the age of ten, and was ready to conduct the Sunday morning musicales that were the joy of his youth, by age thirteen. At age seventeen, he composed one of his well known works, The Midsummer Night's Dream. One part of this work was the "Nocturne." Inspired by the music of J.S. Bach, Mendelssohn arranged for a performance of Bach's Passion According to St. Matthew, which had not been performed in the eighty years since Bach's death. Along with his friend Devrient, Mendelssohn raised money, engaged the soloists, sold tickets, trained the chorus, and played the organ for what were three sold out shows. Mendelssohn continually promoted J.S. Bach throughout his lifetime and is party responsible for the formation of the Bach Society. Mendehlssohn went on to complete the Scotch and Italian Symphonies, and a new piano concerto called the Reformation Symphony. One of his most famous works is Elijah, an oratorio that he composed and conducted. Mendelssohn also composed two other well known pieces, Fingals Cave Overture and the Wedding March. Later in life he became the director of the first German Conservatory of Music in Leipzig, where he also taught. Mendelhssohn's music is marked by a delicacy, sparkle, seamless flow, and clarity. Back to Romantic Era

12 Twentieth Century 1900-2000 Index Timeline
The years spanning the end of the nineteenth century and the earliest part of the twentieth were a time of great expansion and development of, as well as a dramatic reaction to, the prevailing late Romanticism of previous years. In music, as in all the arts, expression became either overt (as in the early symphonic poems of Richard Strauss ( ), the huge symphonies of Gustav Mahler, or the operas of Giacomo Puccini), or was merely suggested (as in the so-called "impressionist" music of Claude Debussy. The previous century's tide of Nationalism found a twentieth century advocate in the Hungarian Béla Bartók. It was a time of deepening psychological awareness, with the works of both Nietzsche and Freud in circulation; and the horrors of the First World War brought death and destruction to the very doorsteps of many people living in Europe. Possibly in reaction to such influences, the expressionistic music of Arnold Schoenberg and his disciples germinated and flourished for a time. Experimentation and new systems of writing music were attempted by avantgarde composers like Edgard Varèse and although none gained a foothold with the public, these techniques had a profound influence on many of the composers who were to follow. Twentieth-century music has seen a great coming and going of various movements, among them post-romanticism, serialism and neoclassicism in the earlier years of the century, all of which were practiced at one time or another by Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. More recently, aleatory or "chance" music, neo-romanticism, and minimalism have been in vogue by a handful of American composers. With the commercial dissemination of music through the various media providing music as a constant background, the general populace has largely dismissed much of the music produced using bold, new, or experimental styles, preferring to turn to the forms and genres (and often the composers) with which it is most familiar. Many of the greatest and best-known composers of this century, including Russian composers Sergei Rachmaninoff, Sergei Prokofiev, and Dmitri Shostakovich, and British composer Benjamin Britten, have been those who have written music directly descended from the approved models of the past, while investing these forms with a style and modernistic tone of their own. Index Timeline

13 20th Century Timeline Musicians Back to 20th century Historical Events
First flight by Wright brothers (1903) First Model-T (1908) San Francisco earthquake (1909) Titantic sinks (1912) Panama Canal opened (1914) World War I ( ) Jazz in New Orleans (1915) Insulin first given to diabetics (1922) Insecticides used for the first time (1924) Charles Lindbergh flies across Atlantic (1927) First scheduled TV broadcasts (1928) Fleming discovers Penicillin (1928) Great Depression begins (1929) Empire State Building completed (1931) Urey discovers Hydrogen (1931) Adolph Hitler appointed Chancellor (1933) First Freeways (1934) Radar device built by Watt (1935) Margaret Mitchells' "Gone With the Wind" (1936) Focke builds helicopter (1937) Biro invents ballpoint pen (1938) World War II ( ) First atomic bomb detonated (1945) Israel comes into existence (1948) Musicians Bartok, Bela ( ) Britten, Benjamin ( ) Bernstein, Leonard ( ) Copland, Aaron ( ) Gershwin, George ( ) Ives, Charles ( ) Stravinsky, Igor ( ) Vaughn Williams, Ralph ( ) Back to 20th century

14 George Gershwin 1898-1937 continue
American born composer George Gershwin was born in Brooklyn, New York in He was a composer of both pop and concert music. As a child, Gershwin learned about music by playing the piano. At age sixteen, he received additional piano practice at a job where he played popular song hits all day long. He began to compose and play some of his original works but was largely ignored. Eventually, Gershwin took a job as a rehearsal pianist at a Ziegfeld production. At this point in his life, he wrote his first musical comedy, La La Lucille, which turned out to be a hit. From then on he rapidly turned out Broadway successes. These were the famous Oh Kay, Strike Up the Band, Girl Crazy, Funny Face, Of Thee I Sing, Lady Be Good, and George White's Scandals. These scores contained songs that the country would grow to love, full of popular music and touches of early rock and roll. Soon after, George Gershwin produced another one of his most famous works, Rhapsody in Blue. This was a jazz piece written as a form of art. This whole philosophy was very new to the public, and yet they instantaneously fell in love with this piece. It was performed in concerts, broadcast on radio stations, and recorded and distributed in high volume, making it a well-known musical composition throughout the world. continue

15 George Gershwin continued
After Rhapsody in Blue, he composed two very famous compositions, American in Paris and the Cuban Overture. Porgy and Bess was George Gershwin's last important composition. This was a grand opera folk opera written about the African American Southern culture. The all-African cast was so important that it was hailed as the first completely successful and completely American opera. It was written so emotionally and dramatically that members of the cast could not believe that the opera's composer wasn't at least partially African American. Porgy and Bess exemplified the skill and talent that George Gershwin possessed. Tragically, Gershwin died at the young age of thirty-nine due to a cancerous brain tumor. His legacy continued on and Gershwin's music is still influential today, making him one of the most important composers of the twentieth century. Back to 20th century timeline

16 J.S. Bach He was the youngest son of Johann Ambrosius Bach, a town musician, from whom he probably learnt the violin and the rudiments of musical theory. When he was ten he was orphaned and went to live with his elder brother Johann Christoph, organist at St. Michael's Church, Ohrdruf, who gave him lessons in keyboard playing. From 1700 to 1702 he attended St. Michael's School in Lüneburg, where he sang in the church choir and probably came into contact with the organist and composer Georg Böhm. He also visited Hamburg to hear J.A. Reincken at the organ of St. Catherine's Church. After competing unsuccessfully for an organist's post in Sangerhausen in 1702, Bach spent the spring and summer of 1703 as 'lackey' and violinist at the court of Weimar and then took up the post of organist at the Neukirche in Arnstadt. In June 1707 he moved to St. Blasius, Mühlhausen, and four months later married his cousin Maria Barbara Bach in nearby Dornheim. Bach was appointed organist and chamber musician to the Duke of Saxe-Weimar in 1708, and in the next nine years he became known as a leading organist and composed many of his finest works for the instrument. During this time he fathered seven children, including Wilhelm Friedemann and Carl Philipp Emanuel. When, in 1717, Bach was appointed Kapellmeister at Cöthen, he was at first refused permission to leave Weimar and was allowed to do so only after being held prisoner by the duke for almost a month. Bach's new employer, Prince Leopold, was a talented musician who loved and understood the art. Since the court was Calvinist, Bach had no chapel duties and instead concentrated on instrumental composition. From this period date his violin concertos and the six Brandenburg Concertos, as well as numerous sonalas, suites and keyboard works, including several (e.g. the Inventions and Book I of the '48') intended for instruction. In 1720 Maria Barbara died while Bach was visiting Karlsbad with the prince. continue

17 J.S. Bach continued continue
In December of the following year Bach married Anna Magdalena Wilcke, daughter of a court trumpeter at Weissenfels. A week later Prince Leopold also married, and his bride's lack of interest in the arts led to a decline in the support given to music at the Cöthen court. In 1722 Bach entered his candidature for the prestigious post of Director musices at Leipzig and Kantor of the Thomasschule there. In April 1723, after the preferred candidates, Telemann and Graupner, had withdrawn, he was offered the post and accepted it. Bach remained as Thomaskantor in Leipzig for the rest of his life, often in conflict with the authorities, but a happy family man and a proud and caring parent. His duties centred on the Sunday and feast day services at the city's two main churches, and during his early years in Leipzig he composed prodigious quantities of church music, including four or five cantata cycles, the Magnificat and the St. John and St. Matthew Passions. He was by this time renowned as a virtuoso organist and in constant demand as a teacher and an expert in organ construction and design. His fame as a composer gradually spread more widely when, from 1726 onwards, he began to bring out published editions of some of his keyboard and organ music. From about 1729 Bach's interest in composing church music sharply declined, and most of his sacred works after that date, including the b Minor Mass and the Christmas Oratorio, consist mainly of 'parodies or arrangements of earlier music. At the same time he took over the direction of the collegium musicum that Telemann had founded in Leipzig in a mainly amateur society which gave regular public concerts. For these Bach arranged harpsichord concertos and composed several large-scale cantatas, or serenatas, to impress the Elector of Saxony, by whom he was granted the courtesy title of Hofcompositeur in Among the 13 children born to Anna Magdalena at Leipzig was Bach's youngest son, Johann Christian, in In 1744 Bach's second son, Emanuel, was married, and three years later Bach visited the couple and their son (his first grandchild) at Potsdam, where Emanuel was employed as harpsichordist by Frederick the Great. At Potsdam Bach improvised on a theme given to him by the king, and this led to the composition of the Musical Offering, a compendium of fugue, canon, and sonata based on the royal theme. continue

18 Back to Baroque Timeline
J.S. Bach continued Contrapuntal artifice predominates in the work of Bach's last decade, during which his membership (from 1747) of Lorenz Mizler's learned Society of Musical Sciences profoundly affected his musical thinking. The Canonic Variations for organ was one of the works Bach presented to the society, and the unfinished Art of Fugue may also have been intended for distribution among its members. Bach's eyesight began to deteriorate during his last year and in March and April 1750 he was twice operated on by the itinerant English oculist John Taylor. The operations and the treatment that followed them may have hastened Bach's death. He took final communion on 22 July and died six days later. On 31 July he was buried at St. John's cemetery. His widow survived him for ten years, dying in poverty in 1760. Bach's output embraces practically every musical genre of his time except for the dramatic ones of opera and oratorio (his three 'oratorios' being oratorios only in a special sense). He opened up new dimensions in virtually every department of creative work to which he turned, in format, musical quality and technical demands. As was normal at the time, his creative production was mostly bound up with the extemal factors of his places of work and his employers, but the density and complexity of his music are such that analysts and commentators have uncovered in it layers of religious and numerological significance rarely to be found in the music of other composers. Many of his contemporaries, notably the critic J.A. Scheibe, found his music too involved and lacking in immediate melodic appeal, but his chorale harmonizations and fugal works were soon adopted as models for new generations of musicians. The course of Bach's musical development was undeflected (though not entirely uninfluenced) by the changes in musical style taking place around him. Together with his great contemporary Handel (whom chance prevented his ever meeting), Bach was the last great representative of the Baroque era in an age which was already rejecting the Baroque aesthetic in favour of a new,'enlightened'one. Back to Baroque Timeline

19 G.F. Handel He was born Georg Friederich Händel, son of a barber-surgeon who intended him for the law. At first he practiced music clandestinely, but his father was encouraged to allow him to study and he became a pupil of Zachow, the principal organist in Halle. When he was 17 he was appointed organist of the Calvinist Cathedral, but a year later he left for Hamburg. There he played the violin and harpsichord in the opera house, where his Almira was given at the beginning of 1705, soon followed by his Nero. The next year he accepted an invitation to Italy, where he spent more than three years, in Florence, Rome, Naples and Venice. He had operas or other dramatic works given in all these cities (oratorios in Rome, including La resurrezione) and, writing many Italian cantatas, perfected his technique in setting Italian words for the human voice. In Rome he also composed some Latin church music. He left Italy early in 1710 and went to Hanover, where he was appointed Kapellmeister to the elector. But he at once took leave to take up an invitation to London, where his opera Rinaldo was produced early in Back in Hanover, he applied for a second leave and returned to London in autumn Four more operas followed in , with mixed success; he also wrote music for the church and for court and was awarded a royal pension. In 1716 he may have visited Germany (where possibly he set Brockes's Passion text); it was probably the next year that he wrote the Water Music to serenade George I at a river-party on the Thames. In 1717 he entered the service of the Earl of Carnarvon (soon to be Duke of Chandos) at Edgware, near London, where he wrote 11 anthems and two dramatic works, the evergreen Acis and Galatea and Esther, for the modest band of singers and players retained there. continue

20 G.F. Handel continued continue
In a group of noblemen tried to put Italian opera in London on a firmer footing, and launched a company with royal patronage, the Royal Academy of Music; Handel, appointed musical director, went to Germany, visiting Dresden and poaching several singers for the Academy, which opened in April Handel's Radamisto was the second opera and it inaugurated a noble series over the ensuing years including Ottone, Giulio Cesare, Rodelinda, Tamerlano and Admeto. Works by Bononcini (seen by some as a rival to Handel) and others were given too, with success at least equal to Handel's, by a company with some of the finest singers in Europe, notably the castrato Senesino and the soprano Cuzzoni. But public support was variable and the financial basis insecure, and in 1728 the venture collapsed. The previous year Handel, who had been appointed a composer to the Chapel Royal in 1723, had composed four anthems for the coronation of George II and had taken British naturalization. Opera remained his central interest, and with the Academy impresario, Heidegger, he hired the King's Theatre and (after a journey to Italy and Germany to engage fresh singers) embarked on a five-year series of seasons starting in late Success was mixed. In 1732 Esther was given at a London musical society by friends of Handel's, then by a rival group in public; Handel prepared to put it on at the King's Theatre, but the Bishop of London banned a stage version of a biblical work. He then put on Acis, also in response to a rival venture. The next summer he was invited to Oxford and wrote an oratorio, Athalia, for performance at the Sheldonian Theatre. Meanwhile, a second opera company ('Opera of the Nobility', including Senesino) had been set up in competition with Handel's and the two competed for audiences over the next four seasons before both failed. This period drew from Handel, however, such operas as Orlando and two with ballet, Ariodante and Alcina, among his finest scores. continue

21 Back to Baroque Timeline
G.F. Handel continued During the rest of the 1730s Handel moved between Italian opera and the English forms, oratorio, ode and the like, unsure of his future commercially and artistically. After a joumey to Dublin in , where Messiah had its premiere (in aid of charities), he put opera behind him and for most of the remainder of his life gave oratorio performances, mostly at the new Covent Garden theatre, usually at or close to the Lent season. The Old Testament provided the basis for most of them (Samson, Belshazar, Joseph. Joshua, Solomon, for example), but he sometimes experimented, turning to classical mythology (Semele, Hercules) or Christian history (Theodora), with little public success. All these works, along with such earlier ones as Acis and his two Cecilian odes (to Dryden words), were performed in concert form in English. At these performances he usually played in the interval a concerto on the organ (a newly invented musical genre) or directed a concerto grosso (his op.6, a set of 12, published in 1740, represents his finest achievement in the form). During his last decade he gave regular performances of Messiah, usually with about 16 singers and an orchestra of about 40, in aid of the Foundling Hospital. In 1749 he wrote a suite for wind instruments (with optional strings) for performance in Green Park to accompany the Royal Fireworks celebrating the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle. His last oratorio, composed as he grew blind, was Jephtha (1752); The Triumph of Time and Truth (1757) is largely composed of earlier material. Handel was very economical in the re-use of his ideas; at many times in his life he also drew heavily on the music of others (though generally avoiding detection) - such 'borrowings' may be of anything from a brief motif to entire movements, sometimes as they stood but more often accommodated to his own style. Handel died in 1759 and was buried in Westminster Abbey, recognized in England and by many in Germany as the greatest composer of his day. The wide range of expression at his command is shown not only in the operas, with their rich and varied arias, but also in the form he created, the English oratorio, where it is applied to the fates of nations as well as individuals. He had a vivid sense of drama. But above all he had a resource and originality of invention, to be seen in the extraordinary variety of music in the op.6 concertos, for example, in which melodic beauty, boldness and humour all play a part, that place him and J.S. Bach as the supreme masters of the Baroque era in music. Back to Baroque Timeline

22 Franz Joseph Haydn 1732-1809 continue
Franz Josef Haydn was born on 31 March 1732, in Rohrau, a village in Österreich near the border of Hungary. He came from peasant folk. His father, Mathias Haydn, was a wagoner and parish sexton; his mother, Elizabeth, was a woman of simple tastes and humble origin. Music was an instinct with these people. During the evening Mathias would play the harp, and Elizabeth would sing, as the children sat at their feet and listened. Of these younger Haydn's, Franz Josef was most keenly affected by the music he heard, and most clearly showed aptitude for the art. When his father discovered him one day, sitting outside the schoolhouse and simulating playing the violin by scraping two sticks of wood against each other, he determined to give the boy as competent a musical training as he could. For this purpose, he enlisted the cooperation of his kinsman, Johann Mathias Frankh, a choirmaster, who was the teach the boy of six the violin and harpsichord. Haydn later commented that he received "more blows than victuals" from his teacher, but Frankh was a competent teacher, and in two years the boy was able to enter the choir school of St. Stephen's church in Wein. At St. Stephen, Haydn was under the tutelage of Reutter, the chapel-master, who failed to discern any particular talent in the boy. Reutter not only neglected Haydn but frequently maltreated him. Josef Haydn, however, found musical guidance elsewhere. With a few gulden, which he had succeeded in saving, he bought several treatises on counterpoint and thorough bass, which he eventually learned by rote. Thus he acquired training in musical theory. continue

23 Franz Joseph Haydn continued
When Haydn was seventeen years old, his voice broke. Being of very little use to the church, he was summarily dismissed from the choir-the pretext being one of Haydn's practical jokes on a fellow pupil. There followed bitter days for young Haydn. He was without a home, friends, or money. The first night away from the church he was forced to sleep in the streets. An acquaintance from St. Stephen pitied him and gave him temporary lodging. Before long, Haydn succeeded in finding a few pupils and a few engagements as violinist. Thus he was able to subsist. His free moments still belonged to music study: each evening was spent in the study of the sonatas of Philipp Emanuel Bach. In a short while, Haydn's fortunes improved. He had composed a mass which had attracted some notice, bringing the composer several commissions. There followed a lucrative post as music teacher in the home of an influential family in Wein. Then, Haydn became acquainted with Michael Porpora-a singer of great reputation-who at the time was in the employ of the Venezia ambassador to Wein. Porpora engaged Haydn as his accompanist, and through this engagement Haydn was given an opportunity to meet some of the outstanding musicians in Wein at the time, including Gluck and von Dittersdorf. Haydn composed his first string quartet in 1755 on the encouragement of a musical amateur, von Fürnberg, who conducted chamber music performances at his home. This form of composition, which he inherited from the hands of Boccherini, so intrigued Haydn that for the next few months he created one string-quartet after another, establishing this form of composition as one of the major vehicles for musical expression. These quartets delighted von Fürnberg with their spontaneity and charm; in partial gratitude, he enthusiastically recommended the composer to Count Morzin as worthy of filling the position of chapel master on the Count's private estate in Bohemia. Haydn eagerly accepted the position, which included salary and board. Here, Haydn found the peace, quiet and leisure necessary for composition. His pen became increasingly fertile; and it was here that he composed his first symphony. continue

24 Franz Joseph Haydn continued
At this time, Haydn married Maria Anna Keller, daughter of a wigmaker. This was an ill-fated marriage. Surly, supremely selfish, extravagant, Maria Anna was hardly a suitable wife for Haydn. She was little interested in her husband's art, frequently using his manuscripts as curling papers. There were endless squabbles. The couple lived together several unhappy years, then separated permanently. Haydn supplied her with a generous income until the end of his life. Haydn's position at the private home of Count Morzin was soon succeeded by an even more important post, that of second chapel master to Prince Esterhazy of Eisenstadt. Five years later, he rose to the rank of First Kapellmeister. For twenty-five years he held this post. Here Haydn was in charge of the daily concerts. The magnificent festivals which regularly took place at the palace proved to be colorful backgrounds for Haydn's music-making. Dressed in a costume which consisted of a bright blue coat decorated with silver braid and buttons, white collar and cuffs as well as his powdered wig and shining pumps, Haydn personally directed the concerts. His pen likewise contributed a mountain of instrumental music for orchestra and chamber groups for these festivities. At this time, Haydn became acquainted with Mozart. Much to his credit, Haydn recognized Mozart's genius as being far superior to his own; in fact, to anyone. Until the end of Mozart's life, Haydn fought vigorously to bring the genius to recognition. In 1785, Mozart composed a series of six quartets which he affectionately dedicated to Haydn. When Haydn heard these quartets, he told Mozart's father: "I must tell you before God, and as an honest man, that your son is the greatest composer known to me, either in person or by name." The death of Prince Esterhazy in 1790 enabled Haydn to accept an offer which had been extended to him by Johann Peter Salomon, concert-manager and violinist-namely, to come to London, direct a few concerts, and supply six new symphonies. In 1791, Haydn visited London for the first time. From March until May he directed orchestral concerts featuring his new works. His success was brilliant. Haydn's music became the conversation of the hour, and he himself was the recipient of much honour. Oxford bestowed upon him the decree of doctorate of music; the Prince of Wales invited him as a guest to his home. continue

25 Franz Joseph Haydn continued
Haydn remained in London a year and a half before returning to Wein. En route home wards, he stopped off at Bonn where he became acquainted for the first time with Ludwig van Beethoven (then still in his adolescence) who showed him a cantata he had recently composed. This work Haydn "greatly praised, warmly encouraging the composer to proceed with his studies." Later on, in Wein, Beethoven became a pupil of Haydn, but their relationship was never successful: Beethoven was far too much the iconoclast, Haydn too much the classicist, for these two temperaments to harmonize. In 1794, Haydn was once again a visitor to London, six new symphonies in his bag. Once again he was the recipient of great honour. At this time, he became a friend of Mrs. Schroeter, to whom he became very closely attached. "She was a very handsome woman, though over sixty," Haydn commented, "and, had I been free, I should certainly have married her." Three piano trios were dedicated by the composer to Mrs. Schroeter. Haydn was likewise greeted with honour in his own country. Upon his return to Wein from London, he found himself recognised as the greatest Österreichs composer of his time. Concerts of his music were planned in his honour in Wein; a bust of him was erected in his native city. In 1797, on occasion of the birthday of Emperor Franz II, Haydn's national anthem (which was originally the second movement of his famous Kaiser Quartet) was performed and sung in every principle theatre in Österreich. One year later saw the first performance of one of Haydn's greatest works, The Creation , modelled after Milton's Paradise Lost. The success of The Creation was instantaneous. Choral societies were founded in Österreich expressly to give it performance. The Creation was followed by Haydn's last great work, also for chorus, The Seasons. Haydn's old age was quiet and dignified, although touched with a gentle melancholy brought on by illness. In 1805, on Haydn's birthday, Mozart's fourteen-year-old son came to the home of the master to bring him a cantata he had composed especially for his father's close friend. In March of 1808, Haydn heard a performance of his work for the last time, The Creation, directed by Salieri. From that time on he was confined to his home through weakness and ill-health. continue

26 Franz Joseph Haydn continued
Josef Haydn died in Wein on 31 May In his will he forgot no one-old friends, acquaintances, people who had done him favours in his youth and those who had been kind to him in his old age. "I commend my soul to my all-merciful Creator," he concluded his will reverently. Haydn was buried in an obscure churchyard near his home in Wein. Eleven years later, however-at the request of one of the Esterhazys-his body was brought to the parish church of Eisenstadt, where it rests today. Haydn was of middle height, with very short legs. His complexion was dark, marked by smallpox, his nose aquiline, the expression of his eyes soft and generous. He always wore a wig, with side-curls and qeue. He considered himself a very ugly man, and was consistently bewildered that so many striking women should have been attracted to him. His generosity, warm heart and simplicity have frequently been subject for comment. "Anybody can see by the look of me," he once said of himself-in an accurate stroke of self-appraisal, "that I am a good-natured sort of a fellow." He was fervently religious. Habitually, he began and ended his manuscripts with the words: "In nomine Domini" and "Laus Deo"; and when he was composing The Creation he fell on his knees each day and prayed to God to give him strength to bring the work to successful completion. By nature he was thrifty, hardworking, extremely methodical. He possessed a sunny sense of humour, and a lovable disposition. He was not a particularly educated man; he read very little, and was only superficially acquainted with any subject out of the realm of music. When he composed, he preferred to wear his best clothing, his diamond ring and his most ornate pendants. He worked industriously and systematically. He sketched his works on the piano, then, a few hours afterwards, developed them on paper. He worked regularly each day, never waiting for inspiration or inclination. He was well aware of his importance and greatness. "I know," he once said, "that God has bestowed a talent upon me, and I thank him for it. I think I have done my duty and have been of use in my generation and by my works. Let others do the same." continue

27 Franz Joseph Haydn continued
Haydn's importance in the history of music has been so great that it is difficult to summarize his many achievements in a few paragraphs. He inherited the sonata form from Philipp Emanuel Bach and not only solidified it but infused into it succh vital genius that it became one of the most pliant forms of musical expression. He definitely established the form of the symphony, preparing the way for Mozart and Beethoven. He was the father of the string quartet; Mozart frequently confessed that it was from Haydn that he learned how to compose for four stringed instruments. He enriched the harmonic language of his day, increased the resources of orchestration. He was one of the pioneers in the creation of program music. It is, therefore, with considerable justification that he is frequently termed the "father of instrumental music." Haydn’s birthplace Back to Classical Timeline Prince Esterhazy's palace where Haydn lived. St. Stephens Church where Haydn was a choir boy.

28 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1756-1791
Mozart’s birthplace, Salzburg, Austria Back to Classical Timeline

29 “The Waltz King”, Vienna, Austria
Johann Strauss “The Waltz King”, Vienna, Austria Back to Romantic Timeline

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