Essay about Joseph Haydn

Joseph HaydnJoseph Haydn was without a doubt one of the greatest composers of his day. He was

loved very much as both a man and a musician, and unlike many other composers when he died

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in 1809, he was one of the most celebrated composers in the world.

Haydn once said, “Young people can see from my example that something can still come

from nothing, but what I am is the result of dire necessity.” And it was very true. The story of

Haydn was a classic story of “rags to riches.” His father, Mathias Haydn (1699-1763), was a

wheelwright who after traveling through Germany settled in Rohrau, a village in Austria near the

border of Hungary. A year later, Mathias married Anna Maria Koller (1707-1754), and on April

1, 1732, Franz Joseph Haydn was born. He was the eldest of twelve children, six of whom never

lived past infancy. They lived in a quiet, modest home, which was always kept neat and tidy.

Music played a big role in the Haydn home. Mathias, through years of travel, learned how to play

the harp and would come home after work and practice. He and his wife would sing Austrian

folk songs along to the music, and the children quickly caught on. This was a nightly ritual and

one night a distant cousin named Johann Mathias Franck visited the Haydn family in Rohrau.

Franck was the school rector from Haimburg and was responsible for the music there. When he

saw the family singing after dinner, he took particular notice to the young Joseph Haydn who

was strumming his arm with a stick, pretending he was playing the violin. It was clear that

Joseph had a natural talent for music, since he kept time and pitch perfectly without ever having

any musical training. …

…old age. The conclusion of the Will stated, “I commend my soul to my all-

merciful Creator.” As you can see, Haydn was a very religious man.

From 1809 to 1820, Haydn’s body was buried at the Hundsthurmer Cemetary in Vienna.

Some time after the burial, a student at the University of Vienna got permission to study Haydn’s

skull. It was removed and the body was then moved to Eisenstadt at the request of Prince

Esterhazy. Today, Haydn’s body, including the skull, is in a mausoleum built by Dr. Paul

Esterhazy in 1954.

Haydn was a kindhearted, good-natured man who was respected by all. His contribution to

the history of music is practically endless – from symphonies and quartets, to paving the way for

the future composers, like Mozart and Beethoven. He had a style all his own, and for that he will

always be remembered.


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