Franz Joseph Haydn

[Franz Joseph Haydn] Founder of the Viennese school of composition, born Rohrau, Austria, 1732; died Vienna, Austria, 1809. He became a chorister at Saint Stephen's, Vienna, 1740, but his voice failing, he turned to composition basing his style chiefly on Bach. Devoted to religion, he recognized that his talents came from above and made use of the endowment for the glory of God. He always inscribed his compositions: "Laus Deo." He composed masses and oratorios, notably the "Creation," his masterpiece, and other sacred music. The "Seven Words" and the "Seasons" are well-known oratorios. His masses, though not reconcilable with present liturgical requirements, are genuine masterpieces. Called "the inventor of the symphony," his knowledge of instrumentation raised that high form of composition to a classic level on which future development was based. He wrote 125 symphonies. Chamber-music he also enriched by his contributions in quartet form and he wrote twenty operatic scores. His brother, Johann Michael (1737-1806), organist at Saint Peter's, Salzburg, was a prolific composer with a predilection for liturgical texts, but lacking in originality.

New Catholic Dictionary

NCD Index SQPN Contact Author