Joseph Haydn (31 March 1732 –- 31 May 1809) was an Austrian composer and a pioneering figure in Classical Music. Haydn's parents noticed his talent at a young age, and sent him to live with a relative in Hainburg, where he could receive a good musical education. He was picked to be a boy soprano in Vienna's Cathedral of St. Steven. He worked there for a few years, and was promptly fired when his voice broke. Haydn freelanced for the next few years, getting attention in local orchestras. He finally earned a long term position at the court of Prince Paul Esterházy (and later for his brother and successor Nikolaus). Prince Esterházy's court spent half of every year in the countryside, which isolated Haydn from the musical mainstream for thirty years. This forced him to be very creative. He essentially invented the symphony and the string quartet. Even Mozart noted Haydn as a profound influence on his work.He also composed "Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser", a patriotic song about the then-Emperor of Austria Francis II Habsburg. It's melody was later used for the "Deutschlandlied", the present anthem of Germany.
His life and works provide examples of:
- Awful Wedded Life: By all accounts, Haydn and his wife Maria Anna were completely incompatible, but divorce was not an option by the laws of the time. He said he "liked" her at first, but there was little affection and she had no appreciation for his musical talents (reportedly even using his scores for hair-curling paper), and the marriage was childless. Eventually they separated, but Haydn continued to support her financially until her death.
- Call Back: The oratorio The Seasons has a moment where a ploughman whistles while he works, and the tune he whistles is the melody from one of Haydn's own earlier hits.
- Cool Old Guy: He was known as 'Papa Haydn' in his old age and commanded respect from almost everyone.
- Drink Order: Tokay. He loved Tokay. Like, really loved Tokay—in his day, most of the Austrian aristocracy and anyone who associated with them liked the wine, but Haydn was particularly obsessed.
- Ending Fatigue: Invoked in String Quartet in E-Flat Major, Op. 33, No. 2 aka "The Joke", which sounds like a normal rondo until the end of the piece, when there's a grand pause. Then he starts the piece over, with one to three measures of silence between each phrase. This goes on for a while, and he finally ends it in the middle of a phrase. Audiences had no idea when to applaud, as the piece just kept going.
- Falling Chandelier of Doom: At the premiere of Haydn's Symphony no. 96 in London, the audience crowded to the front of the theatre to applaud the composer. Just at that moment, a chandelier fell from the ceiling and crashed right where they had been sitting. There were no injuries, earning the piece the nickname "Miracle Symphony." note
- Grave Robbing: An unfortunate Real Life example. Shortly after his death, Haydn's head was stolen for phrenological study. When his former patron found out, he demanded that the head be returned to its body. He had the thieves' houses searched, but they managed to hide it in a mattress. To complete the illusion, one of the thieves' wives lay on top of the skull and claimed menstruation, so the squicked out searchers left rather than search the wife's room. Eventually, the thieves gave the Prince a skull. It was not Haydn's skull. A few generations and a string of inheritors later, Haydn's skull and body were reunited. In 1954.note
- Last Note Nightmare: "Farewell Symphony", while not a nightmare ending, is pretty disconcerting. The last movement ends with the musicians, one or a few at a time, quietly leaving the stage, with the final part played by just two violins. This was Haydn's hint to his patrons, the Esterhazy family, that his orchestra's stay at their summer palace had gone on for too long and that they would really like to get back to their families.
- Haydn's Surprise Symphony has a nice peaceful melody, but is then rudely interrupted by loud, accented notes. Haydn did it to wake up slumbering members of the audience. He was known as a prankster, and this is one of the many jokes in his pieces.
- No Respect Guy: Haydn wasn't exactly this for most of his life: he was treated well by his employers, his musicians liked him and he had the warm admiration of his younger contemporary, Mozart, but whenever one of the nobles who employed him died and he got taken up by a new one, he found that he usually had to earn their respect all over again because they thought that he was just a competent employee. Then he went to London in the 1790s and was hailed as a genius. When he went back to Vienna, he found that in his absence he'd acquired a 100% Heroism Rating.
- Odd Friendship: Quiet, nature-loving family man Haydn and brash, urban socialite Mozart.
- Settle for Sibling: Haydn was in love with Therese Keller, but she decided to enter a convent. So he married her younger sister Maria Anna instead. Unfortunately, the marriage turned out unhappy for both of them.
- Scare Chord: Symphony No 94, the "Surprise", features an unexpected fortissimo chord about 30 seconds into the otherwise quiet second movement.
- Starving Artist: Haydn was this for much of his youth.
- That's All, Folks!: Symphony No 45, known as the "Farewell" Symphony - he and his musicians were kept at Prince Nikolaus Esterházy's summer palace much longer than expected, so at the end of the last movement, each musician stopped playing and left the stage, snuffing out their candle, until there were two violinists left. The prince got the hint and let them go the next day.
- Troll: He may have been the first one!
- Trope Codifier: He was this for two of the most influential forms in classical music, the string quartet and the symphony. Basically, before Haydn there weren't any string quartets or symphonies worth mentioning. Haydn codified them; he composed so many illustrious examples of both that, for the next couple of centuries at least, composers who wanted to get taken seriously had to demonstrate that they could write string quartets and/or symphonies.note Only in the mid-20th century did the quartet and the symphony cease to be forms which composers were automatically expected to write. It could be argued that, in classical music at any rate, Haydn codified Trope Codifying.
- You Are Number 6: Haydn was an impressively prolific composer, writing 108 symphonies, 83 string quartets, 136 trios, and more— most of which are titled simply by the order they were composed in. So good luck remembering whether your favorite Haydn symphony is Symphony no. 62 in D Major or Symphony no. 76 in E-Flat Major. Unsurprisingly, symphonies that acquired nicknames (such as the "Surprise symphony" or the "London symphonies") tend to get programmed a lot more frequently.