Johann Haydn

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Johann Michael Haydn

Johann Michael Haydn was baptized on September 14, 1737, in Rohrau, Lower Austria, the exact date of his birth is unknown... Five years after his famous brother Joseph, their parents being a wheelwright and a cook. Michael Haydn left home around 1745 to attend the choir school at St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, where he received instruction in singing, keyboard and violin. It was at St. Stephen's that Haydn gained a reputation for his unusually clear and beautiful voice, as well as for its extremely large range of three octaves. He was dismissed from St. Stephen's when his voice broke.

In 1757, after a precarious few years (probably in Vienna), Haydn was appointed Kapellmeister to the Bishop of Grosswardein in Hungary, now Oradea, Romania. He served the Bishop until 1763, when he accepted the position of court musician and Konzertmeister to Archbishop Sigismund Schrettenbach in Salzburg, who was renowned as a generous patron of the arts. This appointment had a profound impact on the young Mozart. It was also through this appointment that Haydn met Maria Magdalena Lipp, soon to be his wife, she was a singer in the archbishop's court and daughter of the court organist Ignaz Lipp. The two were married in 1768. The couple's only child, Aloysia Josepha, was born in 1770. She only lived for one year.

Next, in 1777 Johann Michael Haydn took over as the organist at Dreifaltigkeitskirche (Trinity Church). When Mozart left the employ of the Archbishop Hieronymus Colloredo in 1781, Haydn took over at the cathedral as well. During the last years of his life, Haydn was frequently ill. He died in Salzburg on August 10, 1806. He was buried in the cemetery at St. Peter's, where, in 1821, his friends erected a memorial in his honor.

Haydn was an extremely versatile composer who wrote in both the stile antico, represented by the music of Fux, and in more modern styles; his masses followed the tradition of concluding the Gloria and Credo with fugues. Although he wrote a great deal of secular music for use at court (he was one of the first composers to write unaccompanied German part-songs for male chorus), Haydn made his greatest contribution in the area of sacred music. Although his compositions in this genre show the impact of the church reforms of the period, they are representative of a distinct personal voice. Joseph's reforms demanded a reduction in the number of religious services, and a simplification of those that remained. There were also edicts against the use of instrumental music in the church, and against the use of highly florid, solo material. Although he was always compared to his brother he made his own name in the world. He even made a impression on Mozart himself. He was an intimate friend of Mozart, who had a high opinion of his work, and the teacher of Carl Maria von Weber.

Michael Haydn was the victim of another case of posthumous mistaken identity: for many years, the piece which is now known as Michael Haydn's Symphony No. 26 was thought to be Mozart's Symphony No. 37 and assigned K. 444. The confusion arose because an autograph was discovered which had the opening movement of the symphony in Mozart's hand, and the rest in somebody else's. It is now thought that Mozart had composed a new slow opening movement for reasons unknown, but the rest of the work is known to be by Michael Haydn.

Haydn recorded many different varieties of music including; Vocal Works (Choral Works), Orchestral Works (Concertos & Symphonies), Chamber Works, Stage Works, Piano Works, and Miscellaneous works. To list each track would be enormous, he recored almost 400 tracks. In all the many biographies I looked through there were absolutely no comments about Haydn’s family.

Johann Michael Haydn’s List of Works:

Instrumental music

1.1 Symphonies (43 symphonies + single movements of symphonies)

1.2 Concertos (12 concertos + 1 single movement)

1.3 Serenades (21 serenades, cassations,...
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