The New Student's Reference Work/Haydn, Joseph

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Haydn (hā′d’n), Joseph, a German composer, was born in the village of Rohrau, on the borders of Hungary and Austria, March 31, 1732. He was the son of a poor wheelwright, but early developed decided musical genius. At the age of eight he was received into the choir of the cathedral of St. Stephen in Vienna, but ten years afterward his voice broke and he lost his position. Thereafter, for some time, he lived in great poverty, earning a small sum by street-playing and serenading, until he hoarded enough to hire an attic and a piano, when his most strenuous studies began. The first recognition he received was from Herr Kurz, a theatrical manager, who heard him playing one of his own compositions under his window and commissioned him to write an opera. His musical theory was directly opposed to that of J. S. Bach and Handel. His first quartet for stringed instruments was written in 1750 and his Creation and The Seasons in 1795-96. He died on May 31, 1809. His compositions are exceedingly numerous, comprising over 600 in number. See Miss Townsend's Life of Haydn.