Saturday, April 9, 2016

H is for Haydn

 
              I am participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, and my theme this year is classical music. Check out the list of other participants by clicking here! H is for Haydn. Franz Joseph Haydn was an Austrian composer who lived from 1732 to 1809. Today’s featured video is the 2nd movement of Haydn’s Symphony No. 94. Give it a listen and see if you can figure out why it is nicknamed the “Surprise Symphony.”


 
Haydn's portrait by Thomas Hardy
   ·  Franz Joseph Haydn’s parents could tell he had a gift in music, but their village was small and they knew he could not receive musical training there, so they sent him away at the age of 6 to work as an apprentice to a choirmaster named Johann Matthias Frankh. Haydn never lived with his parents again.
 
   ·  He was friends with Mozart and a teacher to Beethoven.
 
   ·  Haydn’s music contained many jokes and a lot of his pieces had nicknames, the “Surprise Symphony” is one example. He had a string quartet called “The Joke” with false endings. Some of the other nicknames included, “The Clock,” “Military,” “London,” and “Drumroll.”
 
   ·   In his “Farewell Symphony,” he made a statement to his employer that the musicians needed some time off. In the final movement, each musician stood up, put out the candle on his music stand, and walked out until there were only two violinists left.
 
Haydn's residence in Vienna, now a museum
   ·  During the performance of his Symphony No. 96, a huge chandelier fell from the ceiling. The symphony was nicknamed “The Miracle” because no one was injured!
 
   ·  In the last year of Haydn’s life, Napoleon invaded Vienna. Haydn was so well-respected at the time that Napoleon stationed two guards outside his residence so that he would not have to move out.
             Yesterday’s trivia question: George Gershwin wrote the score for Shall We Dance, who were the stars of that 1937 film? Answer: Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
            For this challenge, I’m keeping a playlist of the videos I’m using plus some extras for anyone who wants to hear more. I will update with the latest letter each day. Today, my extra video is work from another great composer with a last name that begins with H, George Frideric Handel. I added Handel’s Harpsichord Suite in D Minor, the 4th movement (Sarabande).


 
True or False: After his death, Haydn's head was stolen from his grave.
If you had a symphony, what would you want it to be nicknamed?

38 comments:

  1. so glad I found your blog on my hopping....at first I thought Haydn was a sci fi character..duh!

    http://allfeathersfurandfins.blogspot.co.uk/

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  2. That's insightful. Thanks for sharing, Elizabeth.
    I am visiting from the A to Z Challenge Co-host’s Team. Hope you are having a great time reading, writing and networking with co-participants of the A to Z Challenge. Cheers :)
    Co-Host AJ's wHooligan for the A to Z Challenge 2016

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    1. Thanks for the visit, Shilpa! I am having a great time with the A to Z :)

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  3. Fun stuff. It's great to see the Surprise Symphony in person!

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  4. My daughter played a version of the Surprise Symphony in her band. I loved the story that it was composed to jolt sleepy patrons out of their doze.

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    1. Tamara, the stories behind Haydn's music are so entertaining :)

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  5. Wow, can't imagine the sacrifice it was for his parents to send him away at the age of six years old! But wise for them to realize his talent and not squelch it but let it grow! I'm going to say false for his head being stolen.

    betty

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    1. Betty, it must have been hard for them, but it did launch his career. Trivia answer on Monday :)

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  6. wow- I love both of these pieces...thanks-

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    1. Kathe, they are both favorites of mine :)

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  7. What interesting history. Thanks for sharing and greetings!

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    1. Greetings Blogoratti, thanks for visiting!

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  8. Haydn sounds like he was a fun guy to be around. Perhaps his humble upbringing.

    Susan Says

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    1. Susan, I think you're right. His lowly childhood probably helped to develop his bold sense of humor :)

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  9. Oh wow...his parents gave up time with him so that he could share his talent with the world. I can't believe he never lived there again. I hope they at least got to spend time with him at holidays.

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    1. Stephanie, at least he wasn't alone, he ended up in a boys' choir and his brother joined him a couple years later. I hope their parents got to visit.

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  10. I have some of Hyden's work on CDs. I'll have to listen for those jokes. Thanks. This was very interesting.

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    1. Lee, whenever I listen to Haydn, I like to try to figure out the story behind the nickname, if it has one :)

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  11. Hi Liz, I love,love, love classical music !!! It is in my DNA. My mother, a nurse by trade (RN) played everything. The piano (self taught), the french horn in the high school's band !!! I too played the piano, I can play a few things. Grieg, Beethoven, DeBussy just to name a few. My son is/was the genius on the piano, classically trained. Earned PF degree. Could play anything <3 He didn't stick with it, to hard to make a living with playing the piano. My two youngest boys are now professional ballet dancer's <3 The arts are beautius <3

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    1. Scarlett, that's awesome that your family is passing music down! I tried to teach myself piano, but I'm not very good. I have really grown to love and appreciate classical music over the years :)

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  12. Sent away at age six...that's sad.

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    1. Sandra, even though his parents had good reasons, I do not know how they could stand to send him away so young.

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  13. That piece certainly fits its nickname, 'Surprise'! While listening to it, I imagined a game of hide and seek with little children sneaking around... but maybe that's because I'm a picture book writer. :)

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    1. Jen, that's a fun visualization :) I imagine all the pompous aristocrats of the time period sitting around expecting a typical symphony...and bam! I'm sure some of them woke up real quick, lol.

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  14. I've always been fond of Haydn. The Surprise Symphony is one of my favorites. There's something about the Classical Period. Very regimented. (It's late. My words aren't coming.)

    When I hear about Handel, I think of the piece Handel in the Strand. (High school band haunts me at the oddest times.)

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    1. Liz, the Classical Period brought us some of the greatest composers, but then again so did the Romantic Period, and let's not forget Bach in the Baroque...I just love it all :)

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  15. It must be so hard for a child to leave home at age 6. I wonder if he worked some of that into his music.

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    1. Cynthia, I think his difficult upbringing may have contributed to his sense of humor.

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  16. Very interesting. Sounds like he found a hook or a niche and incorporated it into his brand. I love the idea of the Farewell Symphony - clever!

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    1. Lissa, I watched a video of a reenactment of the Farewell Symphony and it was brilliant!

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  17. I didn't know about Haydn's sense of humour. I did know he taught Beethoven. I may want a symphony called nutty since silly has already been taken

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    1. Birgit, I imagine a nutty symphony would be fun to hear :)

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