Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Great Masters: Haydn — His Life and Music

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The music of Franz Joseph Haydn (1732–1809) is so technically superb, so widely imitated, and so rich in quality and quantity that almost since the moment of its creation it has exemplified the Classical style. More than any other single composer, it was Haydn who created the Classical-era symphony. And his 68 string quartets? They are the standard by which all other Classical string quartets were and are judged. No less an expert than Mozart wrote that it was from Haydn that he had learned how to write quartets. 

The Details

The gentle, creative dynamo, Franz Joseph Haydn, who penned more than 1,000 works over a 50-year career and remained musically vital well past middle age, is all too often thought of as an aged figure surpassed and overshadowed by Mozart and Beethoven.

Not so, as Professor Robert Greenberg shows. The musicians who worked for Haydn called him “Papa” not because he was a fossil, but because of his unfailing kindness to them in an age when professional musicians were often treated poorly.

In truth, Haydn is one of the most original and influential composers of all time. He was the only musical contemporary whom Mozart admired. You learn from Professor Greenberg about the artistically fruitful friendship that grew between Mozart and Haydn, and the more troubled dealings Haydn had with Beethoven—whose Ninth Symphony, nonetheless, would be unimaginable without the influence of Haydn’s Creation, the towering 1798 oratorio in praise of God’s generosity, that crowned Haydn’s career.

Great Masters: Haydn — His Life and Music Lectures

  1. Introduction and Early Life
  2. The Lean Years and Pre-Classical Style
  3. Haydn’s Marriage and Esterháza
  4. Esterháza Continued
  5. The Classical String Quartet and the Classical Symphony
  6. London
  7. Beethoven, London Again, and Breakthrough
  8. The Creation, The Seasons, The End