Joseph Hadyn

(1732-1809)


Country: Austria

Joseph Hadyn is often regarded as the "Father of the Symphony" due to his contributions to the development of European classical music. Chamber music also benefited from his efforts; particularly the string quartet and the piano trio.

Joseph's father, Mathias, was an enthusiastic folk musician and in later life Hadyn fondly remembered his family singing together, and also with their neighbours. Mathias taught himself to play the harp and perhaps Joseph's later autodidactic endeavours were inspired by his father's initiative.

Joseph's musical childhood included membership of the choir at the St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna from 1740 to 1749. He largely taught himself composition and studied counterpoint from Johann Joseph Fux's Gradus ad Parnassum. He was also very familiar with the work of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and said of the German master's first six keyboard sonatas:

“I did not leave my clavier till I played them through, and whoever knows me thoroughly must discover that I owe a great deal to Emanuel Bach, that I understood him and have studied him with diligence.”

He also acknowledged that he learnt much of "the true fundamentals of composition" from his employment by the Italian composer, Nicola Porpora.

Much of Joseph Hadyn's career was spent at the Eszterháza palace where he worked as a court musician for the powerful Esterházy family. This employment meant he was somewhat isolated from other European composers, such that, as he himself put it, he was "forced to become original". Nevertheless, he was one of the most foremost celebrated composers in Europe, a friend and mentor to Mozart, and a tutor of Beethoven.

Free sheet music by Joseph Hadyn

Minuet