Prague Concert Life, 1850-1881


Franz Joseph Haydn

Haydn, Franz Joseph (1732-1809). Austrian composer. After his early training and occupation as a choirboy in Vienna, Haydn spent the vast majority of his life in Vienna, initially as a jobbing musician, teacher and composer, then as Kapellmeister to the private musical establishments of Count Morzin (1757-61) and of the Esterházy court (1761 for the remainder of his life - although for the later part purely in a titular role). The vastness of his output as a composer was matched by his creative genius and originality. He was responsible for the development and advancement of principal genres and forms in western music – such as the symphony, string quartet and the piano sonata. In his day much of his music gained European-wide fame. The broad evolution of aesthetic and musical style towards the middle of the nineteenth century led to reaction – usually tempered with grudging acknowledgment of his skills – against his music. This occurred in Prague (which Haydn seems never visited, even when emplyed by Count Morzin who had a residence there) as in other major musical centres; Prague critics of the 1850s and 1860s often writing of performance of his works with little interest, understanding or awareness of his originality or genius.