Just the other day I was watching a show, and there was a familiar song playing in the background. I knew what song it was, because I had recently posted it. The song was “Waltz In A-Flat Major” by Chopin. (The show was called “Hanna” on Amazon Prime. The song was playing in the restaurant scene.)
But today’s song isn’t that one. Today’s song is an excerpt from Gypsy Rondo, and it was written by Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809). It is song number 78 in the countdown of 100 Classical Masterpieces.
Joseph Haydn, in full Franz Joseph Haydn, (born March 31, 1732, Rohrau, Austria—died May 31, 1809, Vienna), was an Austrian composer who was one of the most important figures in the development of the Classical style in music during the 18th century. He helped establish the forms and styles for the string quartet and the symphony. I haven’t come across any other composers who were born on the 31st of the month, and passed away on the 31st of another month.
Haydn was the second son of humble parents. His father was a wheelwright, his mother, before her marriage, a cook for the lords of the village. Haydn early revealed unusual musical gifts, and a cousin who was a school principal and choirmaster in the nearby city of Hainburg offered to take him into his home and train him. Haydn, not yet six years old, left home, never to return to the parental cottage except for rare brief visits.