Born: Austria, March 31, 1732
Died: Vienna May 31, 1809
Joseph (sometimes Josef) Haydn was a
leading composer of the high classical period,
second only to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
He was a friend of Mozart, and the two
admired each other's work greatly. He also
taught Beethoven briefly, but they didn't get
A lifelong resident of Austria, Haydn spent
most of his career as a court musician,
running the orchestra, opera company, etc. of
the wealthy Esterhazy family on their remote
estate, for which he had to compose most of
the music. Being isolated from other
composers and currents of music, he was, as
he put it, "forced to become original". Unlike
Mozart, he had a quiet and uneventful life.
Haydn is traditionally considered the father of the
symphony and string quartet. string quartet is a
musical ensemble of four string players —
usually two violins, a viol and a cello
He also pioneered the development of sonata
form and was innovative in his writing of
keyboard sonatas. He also wrote many concertos
for solo instrument(s) and orchestra, with the
most famous being the Trumpet Concerto in Eb.
In the 1790s, having become famous for his
works distributed throughout Europe, he was
invited by J.P. Salomon, an impresario, to visit
London. He went twice for periods of over a
year each, writing the 12 "London
Symphonies", including the "Surprise
Symphony" (No. 94)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is one of the most
popular classical composers of all time. At
birth he was christened Johannes
Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus
A child prodigy from a musical family, Mozart
began composing at the age of five and was
showcased as a wonder-boy in the courts of
Europe. His father, Leopold Mozart, was also
a composer.
As an adult, Mozart became. His opera The
Magic Flute is widely believed to contain
Masonic themes or meanings. He was in the
same Masonic lodge as Joseph Haydn.
Despite his brilliance, Mozart had a difficult
life. Often he received no payment for his
work, and the substantial sums he received
on other occasions were soon dissipated by
his extravagant lifestyle. Gradually his health
In popular legend, Mozart died penniless and
forgotten, to be buried in a pauper's grave. In
fact, although he was no longer as
fashionable in Vienna as he had once been,
he continued to receive large commissions
from more distant parts of Europe, Prague in
particular. Many of his begging letters
survive, but they are evidence not of poverty
but of his propensity to always spend more
than he earned.
Eine kleine Nachtmusik (Serenade for String
Quartet & Bass K.525)
The Magic Flute opera (K.620)