A comparison of Haydn and Beethoven

Topics: Symphony, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn Pages: 3 (1119 words) Published: October 17, 2013
Comparison of Haydn and Beethoven
Franz Josef Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven are two of the greatest classical composers in the history of music, rivaled only by the masterful Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Beethoven, who was much younger than Haydn, moved to Vienna when he was young to study under Haydn. However, due to Haydn’s increasing age, and Beethoven’s increasing temper, the lessons only lasted for a little over a year. The lessons, if only for a short period, clearly left a mark on Beethoven, as can be seen in his compositions. Make no mistake, however, Haydn and Beethoven were not carbon copies of one another. When comparing compositions of the two composers, namely Haydn’s symphony No. 95 in C minor and Beethoven’s symphony No. 5, the two composers differ in various areas, including form, theme, tonality, orchestral structure, and the overall effect their work had on the audience. The only way to truly understand the similarities of these two legendary composers is to delve into their music, comparing them movement-by-movement of the two aforementioned pieces. Only then will we truly understand what makes Haydn and Beethoven so similar, yet so different.

The first movement of both pieces start out in their own special way. Haydn’s piece starts out loudly with a quick timpani strike accompanied by the strings, followed by an almost somber sounding melody in C-minor. The second theme of Haydn’s first movement is much more cheerful sounding as it is in C-major. After the exposition is finished, Haydn goes through an eventful developmental period followed by recapitulation. Beethoven’s first movement starts out with the infamous short-short-short-long, which is then repeated. This becomes the motive of Beethoven’s piece, which can found intertwined throughout the entire piece. The intertwining of this single motive creates a consistency throughout the entire symphony; making all four movements feel as one. Although Beethoven may have not intentionally...
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