Dedicated to classics and hits.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hit Songs: String Quartets, Op. 33 by Joseph Haydn


Joseph Haydn, String Quartets, Op. 33

String Quartets, Op. 33
by Joseph Haydn
published 1781 (Austria)

  Here is the fact you need to know about the career of Joseph Haydn, the composer and musician:

In 1779, an important change in Haydn's contract permitted him to publish his compositions without prior authorization from his employer.

  Two years later he wrote and published String Quartets, Op.33 via Austrian music publisher Artaria.  Joseph Haydn was the first musician to make this leap from "hired hand at court"  to a freelance publishing/touring artistic professional, and he used his fame to go to London, where his public performances became a sensation and formed a new Audience for the public performance of music among the 18th and 19th century London city-dwellers.

  Joseph Haydn was actually the first to pull off this trick, and he was the direct inspiration for the careers of Beethoven and Mozart. 

 To give you some idea of the contribution that Haydn made to music styles, he is called "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet."  Many people do not take interest in music history older then the symphonic form of Classical music, so for that group Joseph Haydn is a more appropriate starting point then Gregorian or Renaissance music. 

  What is interesting about Joseph Haydn's published works is that you can readily transpose them into works of Art from the same time period, they "match up" with books and paintings ETC from the late 18th century.   I would argue that listening to Joseph Haydn's String Quartets, Op. 33 is a good deal easier on the time budget vs. reading Fanny Burney's Cecilia, published in 1782, one year after the String Quartets, Op. 33 were published in Vienna.

   Joseph Haydn's String Quartets, Op. 33 were also contemporary with Jean Jacques Rousseaus' Confessions and 120 Days of Sodom by Marquis de Sade, Listening to Op. 33 by Haydn, reading Rousseau's Confessions, so to speak.  The 1780s.  You can't go that far back from the 1780s and perform similar comparisons as easily because Joseph Haydn wasn't "liberated" until 1779.

  Joseph Haydn is nowhere near as popular as Beethoven or Mozart, but he's arguably more important from the perspective of the history of music, since he showed them the way. 

1 comment:

Helen said...

Beautiful write up about the Father of String Quartet. Haydn's truly a gift to humanity.

String Quartet London

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