Joseph Haydn

Joseph Haydn
   Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) The "Surprise Symphony" is one of the first symphonies boys and girls learn to know. It was written about 250 years ago by the great composer Haydn.
   Haydn was born in a small town in Austria. His parents loved music, and Haydn as a boy heard good music in his home.
   When he was only eight he became a choirboy in a great church in Vienna. He studied in the school of this church for several years. Then his voice changed and he could no longer be a choirboy.
   For the next ten years Haydn's life was hard. He had almost no money, and he was often hungry and cold. But good fortune came at last. Haydn was made director of Austria's finest orchestra—the orchestra of Prince Esterhazy. He directed this orchestra for 30 years.
   During these 30 years Haydn became famous all over Europe for his own music. He wrote more than 100 symphonies, more than 75 quartets, more than 50 sonatas, 3 oratorios, and much other music. He is called the father of the symphony and the founder of the string quartet. Not only the "Surprise Symphony" but many others of his compositions have lived on. Many are played by our great orchestras today.