Joseph Haydn

The Haydn hotel carries its name in honour of the famous composer Joseph Haydn. Joseph Haydn has been working in the Haydn church, which is a 100 metres away, and it is also where his final resting place, the Haydn mausoleum, can be found.

(Franz) Joseph Haydn (also Josef, he never used Franz; born March 31, 1732 in Rohrau, Lower Austria; died May 31, 1809 in Vienna) was a leading Austrian composer of Viennese classical music. The composer Michael Haydn and the tenor Johann Evangelist Haydn were his brothers.

Haydn spent most part of his career as a court musician and having to compose music for them, he conducted the orchestra and the opera of the well-to-do Esterházy family on their country estate. He described the effect of being secluded from other composers and the trends of music in a well-known quote: "I was separated from the world, nobody near me was able to madden me to myself and to torture me, and so I had to become original."

Short biography

1732 - Joseph Haydn is born on March 31 in Rohrau (Lower Austria)
1740 - Haydn becomes a choirboy at St. Stephen's cathedral in Vienna
1749 - After his voice changes, he is let go - he works as a piano accompanist for Nicola Popora who instructs him in composition
1755 - One of his piano sonatas attracts the attention of Countess Thun and she employs his services
1758 - He becomes music director and chamber composer for Count Morzin in Lukawitz
1761 - Haydn is employed as the second bandmaster by Prince Esterházy - Haydn spends the rest of his professional life in the house of Esterházy
1766 - Position as first bandmaster
1781 - Haydn meets Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and strikes up a lifelong friendship with him
1790 - First trip to England - Honorary doctorate from Oxford university, among other things
1792 - Back in Vienna Ludwig van Beethoven becomes Haydns piano student for a short period of time
1794/95 - Second trip to England
1797 - Composition of the Emperor's Hymn (Germany's national anthem since 1922)
1809 - Joseph Haydn dies in Vienna on May 31


1790 Prince Nicholas died; his successor dismissed all of the court musicians and made Haydn a pensioner. He subsequently accepted the profitable offer of the German impresario Johann Peter Salomon to go to England and to perform his new symphonies with a big orchestra.

The journeys (1791-1792 and again 1794-1795) were a huge success. The audience was pouring into Haydn's concerts and he quickly acquired prestige and wealth. From a musical point of view the visits to England brought about some of his best-known creations, among them the Drum Roll Symphony, the Military Symphony, the London Symphony, the Rider Quartet and the Gypsy Trio.

Haydn was even considering becoming an English citizen and settling permanently but he returned to Vienna, had a big house built for himself and turned to composing major spiritual works for choirs and orchestras. Among them were created the two oratorios The Creation and The Seasons, as well as six masses for the Esterházy family who by then was led again by a music-loving Prince. Haydn also composed the last nine of a long line of string quartets, among them the Emperor Quartet, the Quint Quartet and the quartet The Sunrise.

Despite his advancing age Haydn was looking forward to the future; in one letter he wrote: "How much there is still to be done within this magnificent art!"

In 1802 Haydn felt that an illness he had been suffering from for a long time had deteriorated so much that he was physically incapable of composing. This was without a doubt very difficult for him since - as he admitted - the flow of fresh musical ideas waiting to be processed did not stop. Haydn was well-cared for by his servants and received many visitors and public honours during these last years but they could not have been very happy years for him. During his illness he often found solace in playing the Austrian Emperor's Hymn on the piano. He had composed it as a patriotic gesture in 1797.

Haydn passed away in Vienna in 1809 after an attack of the French army led by Napoleon. With some of his last words he tried to calm the servants when cannon shots could be heard in the vicinity.

Joseph Haydn was buried in Hundsturm cemetery (today called Haydn Park in Vienna-Meidling) where his tomb was initially ignored by the Esterházy family. Only the admiration of the Duke of Cambridge reminded Prince Nicholas II of the former employee and his mastermind. He had Joseph Haydn exhumed in 1820 and transferred to the Haydn church (Mountain church) in Eisenstadt. When the coffin was opened during the proceedings, the skull of the composer was found missing. Inquiries brought to light that the secretary of Prince Esterházy - Joseph Carl Rosenbaum - a follower of Franz Joseph Gall's skull theory - had bribed the gravedigger, a prison administrator and two Viennese officials to re-open the grave secretly eight days after the funeral and to steal the skull.

The hiding place of the stolen skull could not be determined at first, so the body was transferred to Eisenstadt and buried without its skull. Later on the prison administrator Johann Peter handed Haydn's alleged skull over to the police. The real skull was left by secretary Rosenbaum for his friend Peter on condition that he pass the relic on to the Conservatory of Music. However, neither Peter nor his widow dared to give up the skull; it went through several hands until it got into the possession of the Society of Music Lovers in Vienna in 1895, in the museum of which it stayed until 1953. Since the return of the skull had already failed once at the last minute, in 1954 the skull was reunited with the rest of the remains after a festive procession from Vienna to Eisenstadt. The sculptor Gustinus Ambrosi was allowed to put it into the sarcophagus, thus finally restoring Joseph Haydn's eternal peace after 145 years.


Orchestra Works

     108 Symphonies: i.e. The Clock, Drum Roll, The Farewell etc.
     1 Sinfonia Concertante for solo violin, cello, oboe and bassoon
      Orchestra version of The Seven Last Words of our Christ

Stage Works

     24 Operas, among others:
     Acide e Galatea (1762, Hob.XXVIII:1)
     La Canterina (1766, Hob.XXVIII:2)
     Lo Speziale (The Apothecary) (1768, Hob.XXVIII:3)
     Le pescatrici (The Fishwives) (1769, Hob.XXVIII:4)
     L'Infedeltà Delusa (Deceit outwitted) (1773, Hob.XXVIII:5)
     L'Incontro improvviso (The unexpected Encounter) (1775, Hob.XXVIII:6)
     Il Mondo della Luna (The World on the Moon) (1777, Hob.XXVIII:7)
     La vera constanza (1777/78, Hob.XXVIII:8)
     L'Isola Disabitata (1779, Hob.XXVIII:9)
     La fedeltà premiata (Fidelity rewarded) (1780, Hob.XXVIII:10)
     Orlando Paladino (The Paladin Orlando) (1782, Hob.XXVIII:11)
     Armida (1784, Hob.XXVIII:12)
     L'Anima del Filosofo - Orfeo ed Euridice (1791, Hob.XVIII:13) 

Spiritual Works

     14 Masses, among others:
     Missa brevis, Jugendmesse (~1750, Hob.XXII:1)
     Rorate coeli desuper (~ 1750, Hob. XXII: 3)
     Missa in honorem Beatissimae Virginis Mariae (~1766, Hob.XXII:4)
     Missa Cellensis in honorem Beatissimae Virginis Mariae (1766, Hob.XXII:5)
     Missa Sancti Nicolai, Nikolaimesse (1772, Hob.XXII:6)
     Missa brevis Sancti Johannis de Deo (~1778, Hob.XXII:7)
     Missa Cellensis, Mariazellermesse (1782, Hob.XXII:8)
     Missa in tempore belli, Kettledrum Mass (1796, Hob.XXII:9)
     Missa Sancti Bernardi de Offida, Heiligmesse (1796, Hob.XXII:10)
     Missa in Angustijs, Mass in Troubled Times (1798, Hob.XXII:11)
     Theresienmesse named after Empress Maria Theresa (1799, Hob.XXII:12)
     Creation Mass (1801, Hob.XXII:13)
     Wind-band Mass (1802, Hob.XXII:14)
     6 Oratorios, i.e. The Creation, The Seaons...

Solo Concertos

     Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra in C major Hob VIIg:C1
     2 Horn Concertos
     1 Organ Concerto (organ or harpsichord)
     11 Piano Concertos
     5 Lyre Convertos
     4 Baryton Concertos
     1 Trumpet Concerto
     4 Violin Concertos
     3 Cello Concertos

Chamber Music

     83 String Quartets, i.e. Quint Quartet, Emperor Quartet, Lark Quartet...
     46 Piano Trios
     21 String Trios
     126 Baryton Trios

Piano music

     52 Piano Sonatas
     Piano pieces, Capriccios and Piano variations

Choral Works

     Motets, Songs, Cantatas