- Paperback: 403 pages
- Publisher: University of California Press; 3rd edition (January 1, 1982)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0520043170
- ISBN-13: 978-0520043176
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #600,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Haydn: A Creative Life in Music (Third Revised and Expanded Edition) 3rd Edition
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From the Back Cover
This definitive study of the life and works of Joseph Haydn represents half a century of research. As curator of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna, Dr. Geiringer was in charge of one of the world's leading Haydn collections. His scholarly investigations took him to various monasteries, to libraries in Eisenstadt, Prague, Berlin, Paris, London, and Washington, D.C., and, as guest of the Hungarian government, to the previously almost inaccessible archives of the Princes of Esterhazy in Budapest.
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The first part is organized chronologically with the chapters focused on key events and periods in Haydn's life. The second part is organized by compositional style and maturity. Geiringer divides Haydn's compositional life into five periods: youth, transition, romantic crisis, maturity, and consummate mastery. The author makes a great case for this division. Each of these chapters takes us through the various types of compositions Haydn wrote in these periods such as piano sonatas, symphonies, string quartets, masses, and so forth.
Mozart's musical genius was fostered by his father, Leopold, who was a famous violinist. Beethoven's father and grandfather were musicians, and J.S. Bach's ancestors and progeny were musicians for generations and produced more than a few of great quality. Franz Joseph Haydn's (1732 - 1809) father was a wheelwright and his beginnings were so modest that when Beethoven was shown a picture of Haydn's birthplace he said, "Strange that so great a man should have been born in so poor a home."
While Haydn's musical ability was recognized early and he was given good musical training, he was not a prodigy like Mozart nor did he achieve greatness early. Most of Haydn's most important study was done on his own and at great personal effort. It wasn't until he earned the chief musical post with the royal Hungarian family of Esterházy that his genius matured. Haydn said, "My prince was always satisfied with my works. Not only did I have the encouragement of constant approval, but as conductor of the orchestra I could make experiments ... and be as bold as I pleased. I was cut off from the world; there was no one to confuse or torment me, and I was forced to become original."
Haydn wrote a vast number of musical works in all the important forms and styles of his day. He set the example for younger composers such as Mozart and Beethoven who admired him enough to imitate him. He and Mozart were great friends whose admiration was mutual and profound. Who else in the entire earth could understand the other's work as well as they?
This year I have been fortunate to sing Haydn's "Harmoniemesse" ("Wind Band Mass"). It is one of the great treasures of the composer's vast output. He wrote 14 masses that we know of, but one is lost. This work being the last of them and the very last major work Haydn ever wrote. As Karl Geiringer noted in his biography of the composer, "... it represents a kind of farewell not only to the Mass form but to music itself. Motives and moods from earlier Masses reoccur, and Haydn displays once more his magical ability to use all elements of the contrapuntal style."
This biography will help you not only appreciate Haydn as a person and give you a greater insight into his music, it will help you realize what former generations knew better than us, that Haydn is in the very first rank of musical genius and that his music is full of revelations and delights.