The Bible is not only the sacred text for countless believers in history, but also the source of innumerable works of art, and a literary masterpiece in its own right. Stories, characters and episodes from the Bible inspired many of the greatest examples of visual art in Western history, but also musical masterpieces such as Handel’s Messiah or Bach’s Passions, as well as novels, poetry, drama and – in more recent times – films.
This Da Vinci Classics album presents two such works, mirroring two different views on Bible-inspired music. Franz Joseph Haydn’s Seven Last Words are inspired and actually shaped, as we will see, by seven sentences found in the Gospels – in fact, the last seven sentences uttered by the dying Christ on the Cross. Carl Reinecke’s Biblische Bilder represent, instead, fourteen episodes freely excerpted from both the Old and the New Testament.
Haydn’s work was conceived for public performance, and was the result of a precise commission. The Austrian composer had been requested by a canon of the Cathedral Church of Cádiz, in Spain, to write the music for a fascinating devotion which usually took place in Cádiz on Good Friday. The whole setting was highly dramatic, as Haydn himself had been informed. In his own words, “The walls, windows, and pillars of the church were hung with black cloth, and only one large lamp hanging from the center of the roof broke the solemn darkness. At midday, the doors were closed and the ceremony began. After a short service the bishop ascended the pulpit, pronounced the first of the seven words (or sentences) and delivered a discourse thereon. This ended, he left the pulpit and fell to his knees before the altar. The interval was filled by music. The bishop then in like manner pronounced the second word, then the third, and so on, the orchestra following on the conclusion of each discourse. My composition was subject to these conditions, and it was no easy task to compose seven adagios lasting ten minutes each, and to succeed one another without fatiguing the listeners; indeed, I found it quite impossible to confine myself to the appointed limits”.
Haydn originally composed an orchestral score, which was performed on Good Friday 1786; the following year, versions for string quartet (by the composer) and for keyboard (approved by him) were published. In 1796, Haydn himself arranged the work as an oratorio with sung parts. The variety of these adaptations bears witness to the great success enjoyed by this work; a success which is fully justified by the cycle’s musical beauty and spiritual depth.
A solemn Introduzione, with the dotted rhythm typical for French Overtures, opens the series; it invites the listeners to a composed, serious and focused attitude, corresponding to the meditation of Christ’s Passion and of the last words he left to his disciples. The Sonatas setting to music the seven “Words” proper follow. They are built using a plurality of musico-rhetorical strategies. For instance, the first theme of each Sonata is directly derived from the Latin form of the sentence it depicts. Each sentence, therefore, could be actually sung, in Latin, over the notes of the first theme. Moreover, Haydn interprets the spiritual content of each sentence, employing both descriptive elements and symbolic atmospheres.
The first Sonata refers to Jesus’ prayer to his Father, interceding for those who crucified him. Jesus’ plea for mercy on their behalf is rendered through a music of exquisite sweetness, with a long, broad melody of generous breadth. As Christ’s Passion will progress, sentences will become more contracted both in length and in scope. The tenderness of Christ’s compassion is evoked through the copious use of appoggiaturas.
The second “Word” was addressed by Jesus to the “good thief”, who had asked the Saviour to remember him upon reaching his kingdom. Jesus responds by promising him salvation: that same day they would be in heaven together. Haydn’s use of marked, repeated chords manages to convey a double musical symbolism. On the one hand, it may allude to the harshness of their suffering, their condition as people fixed on the crosses through nails (possibly evoked by the hammering chords). On the other, it might signify the authoritativeness and solemnity of Christ’s promise to the thief. The same theme presented in the minor mode at the piece’s beginning is later transfigured when played in the major mode and with a rippling accompaniment of arpeggios: the terrible condition of the agonizing men will be radically changed when they will enter the gates of paradise. The piece’s Coda seems to depict heaven as a place of childlike happiness, with a certain dose of irony and goodhearted laughter.
The third Sonata focuses on the Virgin Mary, to whom her Son entrusts his favourite disciple, John, and who is in turn entrusted to John’s care. Haydn’s music is permeated by elegance and gentleness, as if depicting Mary’s femininity and “grace”. By way of contrast, the following Sonata is tragic and almost desperate, at loss. It renders Christ’s pained cry, when he felt forsaken by his Father. This feeling of abandonment is musically rendered through tonally uncertain passages, where no accompaniment is provided, leaving the melody precariously suspended and the listener searching for reference elements.
A second Introduzione breaks the cycle into two parts. Rich in contrasts of volume and sound, it prepares the listener for the fifth “Word”, Sitio – I thirst. The copious use of staccato quavers, obsessively repeated throughout the piece, seems once more to convey a double symbolic impression. It suggests the much-desired raindrops, and, at the same time, the biting cruelty of the thirst felt by Jesus on the cross.
The accomplishment of the Passion is represented in the sixth Sonata. Its motto, setting to music the words “Consummatum est”, “it is done”, is employed once again in a twofold fashion by Haydn. At the piece’s beginning, it is solemn, grave, priestly: it seals the accomplishment of Christ’s redemptive suffering and mission. Later, it becomes the background for a joyful, serene and almost playful melody, upon which a triumph is built. In a typically Johannine fashion, the cross is Christ’s royal throne and his death is his victory.
The last Word mirrors the first, inasmuch as both are prayers to the Father. In this case, Christ abandons his spirit in the Father’s hands. This Sonata is characterized by peaceful serenity and light; it closes on the increasingly rarefied beats of the dying Christ’s heart.
Yet, his death is a highly dramatic moment: if many of the bystanders ignored it, Earth herself was deeply shaken, as the Gospels report. The last piece of the series is the thundering earthquake, which leaves a deep impression on the listeners.
Haydn’s Seven Words are recorded here in the piano version realized by Carl Czerny, a great piano pedagogue who had been Beethoven’s student. In comparison with the version “authorized” by Haydn, this one renders more faithfully the rich orchestral texture of Haydn’s original, and allows for more pianistic effects. It includes both Introduzioni but has no repeats.
Czerny’s version was arguably intended for home or salon performance; the new bourgeois society could therefore practise both religion “proper”, and the religion of art at the same time, when playing such spiritual works. The same destination had probably been in Carl Reinecke’s mind when, approximately a century after Haydn’s Seven Last Words, he wrote his Biblische Bilder op. 220 (1893). This cycle is recorded here for the first time, as testified by Stefan Schönknecht, a direct descendant of Reinecke who kindly wrote the statement reported below.
The fourteen pieces constituting the cycle were probably conceived as the ideal Christmas present, as can be inferred by the richly decorated published score and by the fact that four pieces refer to Christmastide. An intended female readership can also be assumed, considering the high percentage of female characters (Ruth, Hagar, Rebekah, and of course the Virgin Mary).
Still, Reinecke poured his deep knowledge of the Bible and his own faith in his work. The fourteen pieces are divided into four volumes, comprising respectively four, three, four and three pieces. There are parallels among the corresponding pieces in the series: Ruth (no. 1) and the shepherds (no. 8) experience transcendence while attending to their daily work in the fields; Hagar and Ishmael in the desert (no. 2) correspond to Mary and Joseph getting to Bethlehem (no. 9); David quietens Saul with his lyre (no. 3), and the Holy Family’s rest during their flight is comforted by a music-making angel (no. 10). In Jacob’s dream (no. 4) a stair leads to heaven, and in the Magi’s journey (no. 11) a star indicates where heaven and earth become one, in Jesus’ incarnation. Judas Maccabeus’ self-denying heroism (n. 5) is mirrored by the generous deeds of the Good Samaritan (no. 12). Rebekah found her future husband by a well (no. 6), and Jesus turned water into wine at the Wedding of Cana (no. 13); the frantic and idolatrous dance by the Golden Calf (no. 7) is counterbalanced by the paralytic’s immobility, healed by the One Saviour (no. 14).
Exotic elements are found throughout the first three parts, together with aural depictions (David’s harp, the shepherds’ bagpipes, and the evocations of water in nos. 6 and 14). Three pieces display quotations after works by German poets. The lyrics cited in nos. 2 and 14 are excerpted from Karl Gerok’s (1815-1890) Palmblätter, a very successful and beautifully decorated publication collecting the sacred poetry of this Romantic author and pastor. The poem illustrating the Holy Family’s flight, instead, is by the great Romantic poet Joseph von Eichendorff (1788-1857).
This combination of music, theology, visual art and Biblical inspiration thus constitutes a multisensorial and spiritually stimulating achievement by Carl Reinecke: a collection deserving to be better known, and offering plenty of aesthetic beauty, narrative imagery, and religious contemplation at the same time.
Chiara Bertoglio © 2021
Chiara Bertoglio (piano): Born in Turin in 1983, Chiara Bertoglio began her piano studies at the age of three, obtaining her Diploma in Piano summa cum laude and with honours at the Conservatory of Turin when only sixteen. She obtained Master’s Degrees in piano at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome and at the University of Venice in musicology, as well as the Swiss Diploma of Virtuosity, always with top marks and honours. She obtained a PhD in Music Performance Practice from the University of Birmingham, with the supervision of Kenneth Hamilton. She also studied with M. Rezzo, I. Deckers, E. Henz, P. Badura Skoda, S. Perticaroli and K. Bogino. She made her debut as a soloist with orchestra at the age of nine, under the baton of Ferdinand Leitner; later she performed with orchestras such as Rome Symphony Orchestra, the European Union Chamber Orchestra, the Curtis Chamber Orchestra, the Italian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Aargauer Symphonieorchester and many others. In 2005 she made her debut at Carnegie Hall under the baton of Leon Fleisher. She performed in such venues as the Concertgebouw of Amsterdam, the Royal Academy in London (during the Messiaen Festival 2008), the Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Chopin Institute of Warsaw, the Academy of Santa Cecilia in Rome, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and other festivals such as “Imago Sloveniae”, “Woerthersee Classics”, “MITO Settembre Musica” and many others. She performed both recitals and concertos with orchestra in Italy, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Poland, Israel, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands and Slovenia, and was often broadcast by national radio and TV programs (RAI, ORF, AVRO Klassiek, Polish and Slovenian Radio and TV etc.). Her most important recordings include Respighi’s Toccata for piano and orchestra, two albums for “Velut Luna” (Schubert’s complete Impromptus, and “Mors&Vita”, with works by Mussorgskij and Messiaen, both issued in 2012) and a selection of Mozart’s Piano Concertos for “Panorama”. Her first book dates 2005, and is a study on Mozart’s piano and opera music, prefaced by Paul Badura Skoda. Later she wrote other musicological books, mostly published by Effatà, and her PhD thesis has been recently published by Lambert Academic Publishing. Her monumental monograph Reforming Music (De Gruyter 2017) has won the prestigious RefoRC Book Award in 2018. She also wrote several musicological articles for important Italian and international journals, and is often invited as a speaker at musicological conferences in Europe and the USA; she also gives seminars for Italian and British universities. She teaches musicology at the Theological University of Northern Italy and piano at the Conservatoire of Novara. Since 2007 she gives annual cycles of lectures and concerts for the private university “Studio Filosofico Domenicano” in Bologna.
Carl Czerny: (b Vienna, 21 Feb 1791; d Vienna, 15 July 1857) Austrian piano teacher, composer, pianist, theorist and historian. As the pre-eminent pupil of Beethoven and the teacher of many important pupils, including Liszt, Czerny was a central figure in the transmission of Beethoven’s legacy. Many of his technical exercises remain an essential part of nearly every pianist’s training, but most of his compositions – in nearly every genre, sacred and secular, with opus numbers totalling 861, and an even greater number of works published without opus – are largely forgotten. A large number of theoretical works are of great importance for the insight they offer into contemporary musical genres and performance practice.
The primary source of information about Czerny is his autobiographical sketch entitled Erinnerungen aus meinem Leben (1842). In it, he describes his paternal grandfather as a good amateur violinist, employed as a city official in Nimburg (Nymburk), near Prague. Czerny’s father, Wenzel, a pianist, organist, oboist and singer, was born there in 1750, and received his education and a good musical training in a Benedictine monastery near Prague. After marriage, Wenzel settled in Vienna in 1786, where he earned a meagre existence as a music teacher and piano repairman. Czerny, an only child, was born in Vienna in the year of Mozart’s death. He and his parents resided together until his mother’s death in 1827, and his father’s in 1832. He never married, and lived alone for the remainder of his life.
Czerny describes his childhood as ‘under my parents’ constant supervision… carefully isolated from other children’. He began to study the piano with his father at an early age, and by ten was ‘able to play cleanly and fluently nearly everything of Mozart [and] Clementi’. His first efforts at composition began around the age of seven. In 1799, he began to study Beethoven’s compositions, coached by Wenzel Krumpholz, a violinist in the Court Opera orchestra, who introduced him to Beethoven when he was ten. Czerny played for him the opening movement of Mozart’s C major Piano Concerto, k503, the ‘Pathétique’ Sonata, and the accompaniment to Adelaide, which his father sang. Beethoven indicated that he wanted to teach Czerny several times a week, and told his father to procure C.P.E. Bach’s Versuch. Czerny describes the lessons as consisting of scales and technique at first, then progressing through the Versuch, with the stress on legato technique throughout. The lessons stopped around 1802, because Beethoven needed to concentrate for longer periods of time on composition, and because Czerny’s father was unable to sacrifice his own lessons in order to take his son to Beethoven. Czerny neverthless remained on close terms with the composer, who asked him to proofread all his newly published works, and entrusted him with the piano reduction of the score of Fidelio in 1805.
In 1800, Czerny made his public début in the Vienna Augarten hall, performing Mozart’s C minor Concerto k491. He was renowned for his interpretation of Beethoven’s work, performing the First Concerto in C major in 1806, and the ‘Emperor’ in 1812. Beginning in 1816 he gave weekly programmes at his home devoted exclusively to Beethoven’s piano music, many of which were attended by the composer. Apparently he could perform all of Beethoven’s piano music from memory. Although his playing was praised by many critics (‘uncommonly fiery’, according to Schilling), he did not pursue a career as a performer. He made arrangements for a concert tour in 1805, for which Beethoven wrote a glowing testimonial, but although he describes himself at this time as quite proficient as a pianist, sight-reader and improviser, he concedes that ‘my playing lacked the type of brilliant, calculated charlantry that is usually part of a travelling virtuoso’s essential equipment’. For these reasons, in addition to political instability and the modest income of his family, he chose to cancel the tour. He also apparently decided at this point never to undertake the life of a travelling virtuoso, a path that would have made him more widely known as a performer. Instead, he decided to concentrate on teaching and composition.
He spent a good deal of time with Clementi when the latter was in Vienna in 1810, becoming familiar with his method of teaching, which Czerny greatly admired and incorporated into his own pedagogy (His op.822 is entitled the Nouveau Gradus ad Parnassum). In his early teens Czerny began to teach some of his father’s students. By the age of 15, he was commanding a good price for his lessons, and had many pupils. In 1815, Beethoven asked him to teach his nephew, Carl. As his reputation continued to grow, he was able to command a lucrative fee, and for the next 21 years he claims to have given 12 lessons a day, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., until he gave up teaching entirely in 1836. In 1821, the nine-year-old Liszt began a two-year period of study with Czerny. The teacher noted that ‘never before had I had so eager, talented, or industrious a student’, but lamented that Liszt had begun his performing career too early, without proper training in composition. Czerny also taught Döhler, Kullak, Alfred Jaëll, Thalberg, Heller, Ninette von Bellevile-Oury and Blahetka.
Around 1802, Czerny began to copy out many J.S. Bach fugues, Scarlatti sonatas and other works by ‘ancient’ composers. He describes learning orchestration by copying the parts from the first two Beethoven symphonies, and several Haydn and Mozart symphonies as well. He published his first composition in 1806 at the age of 15: a set of 20 Variations concertantes for piano and violin op.1 on a theme by Krumpholz. Until he gave up teaching, composition occupied ‘every free moment I had’, usually the evenings. The popularity of his first ten opus numbers issued in 1818–19, and of his arrangements of works by other composers, made publishers eager to print anything he would submit, and he earned a substantial amount from his compositions.
The quantity and diversity of Czerny’s compositional output is staggering. He divided his works into four categories: 1) studies and exercises; 2) easy pieces for students; 3) brilliant pieces for concerts; and 4) serious music. As Kuerti (1995, p.7) notes, it is interesting and revealing that he did not regard the ‘brilliant pieces for concerts’ as ‘serious music’. The compositions for piano illustrate the explosion in the number of works published for the instrument at a critical time in its development. In addition to approximately 100 technical studies, Czerny published piano sonatas, sonatinas and hundreds of shorter works, many of which were arranged for piano, four to eight hands. He also published a plethora of works based on national anthems, folksongs, and other well-known songs. Works for other instruments and genres include much symphonic and chamber music, as well as sacred choral music. Mandyczewski’s tabulation of the works remaining in manuscript in the Vienna Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde includes over 300 sacred works. Czerny published approximately 300 arrangements without opus numbers. These works are based on themes from approximately 100 different operas and ballets, plus symphonies, overtures and oratorios by such composers as Auber, Beethoven, Bellini, Cherubini, Donizetti, Halévy, Handel, Haydn, Hérold, Mendelssohn, Mercadante, Meyerbeer, Mozart, Rossini, Spohr, Verdi, Wagner and Weber.
The predominant view of Czerny at the end of the 20th century – of the pedagogue churning out a seemingly endless stream of uninspired works – is that propagated by Robert Schumann in his reviews of many Czerny compositions in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (‘it would be hard to discover a greater bankruptcy in imagination than Czerny has proved’, review of The Four Seasons, 4 brillant fantasias op.434). However, Schumann’s rather cavalier dismissal of Czerny was not uniformly shared. During his sojourn in Vienna (1829), Chopin was a frequent visitor at Czerny’s home, and a good deal of correspondence between the two survives. One of Liszt’s letters from Paris to his teacher in Vienna (26 August 1830) describes his performances of Czerny’s Piano Sonata no.1 in A major op.7, and the work’s enthusiastic reception. He urged Czerny to join him in Paris. Liszt’s high regard is again seen in his inclusion of Czerny as one of the contributors to his Hexaméron, the Grand Variations on the March from Bellini’s I puritani, arranged by Liszt, and including variations by Chopin, Czerny, Herz, Liszt, Pixis and Thalberg, composed in 1837. Perhaps even more striking and challenging is Kriehuber’s famous portrait (1846), which depicts, assembled around Liszt at the piano (in addition to a self portrait of the painter), Berlioz, Czerny and the violinist Heinrich Ernst, who was regarded as one of the greatest virtuosos of the 19th century. All are lost in the Romantic reverie evoked by Liszt’s performance. Perhaps this symbolizes Beethoven’s spirit as transmitted by Czerny to Liszt, Berlioz and Ernst.
Czerny’s complete schools and treatises combine sound pedagogy with remarkable revelations about contemporary performing practices, and present a detailed picture of the musical culture of the day. He assigned prominent opus numbers to his four most ambitious instructional works. In the Fantasie-Schule, opp.200 and 300, he uses stylized models and what he terms a ‘systematic’ approach to improvising preludes, modulations, cadenzas, fermatas, fantasies, potpourris, variations, strict and fugal styles and capriccios. His Schule des Fugenspiels, op.400, comprising 12 pairs of preludes and fugues, is intended as a study in multi-voiced playing for pianists. His most substantial work, the Pianoforte-Schule, op.500, covers an extraordinary range of topics, including improvisation, transposition, score reading, concert decorum and piano maintenance. The fourth volume (added in 1846) includes advice on the performance of new works by Chopin, Liszt and other notable composers of the day, as well as on Bach and Handel, and Czerny also draws on his reminiscences of Beethoven’s playing and teaching. In his last major treatise, the Schule der praktischen Tonsetzkunst, op.600, he returns to the models of form and descriptions of style first expounded in his op.200, but here uses them for the instruction of composers.
Czerny’s works reveal, in addition to the familiar pedagogue and virtuoso, an artist of taste, passion, sensitivity, drama, lyricism and solitude. Douglas Townsend sees in the four-hand sonata in C minor op.10 (Sonata sentimentale) a fine example of the composers who straddled the classical tradition and early romanticism. Kuerti (1995, p.491) has described the Third Sonata in F minor op.57 as ‘outstandingly original’; because it is in the same key and carries the same opus as Beethoven’s ‘Appassionata’, Kuerti suggests that Czerny may have been challenging his former master to a duel in the work. Townsend describes the Concerto in C major for piano four hands and orchestra, op.153 as ‘an interesting example of the late classical piano concerto combined with the emerging bravura piano technique of the mid-nineteenth century’. Certain of the exercises stand as fine compositions in their own right, such as some of the character pieces found in the Left Hand Etudes, op.718, and the Art of Finger Dexterity, op.740.
Czerny’s will (published in Dwight’s Journal of Music, 15 August 1857) details the sizable fortune he had amassed from his published works and wealthy pupils. He left his considerable library to the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde.
by STEPHAN LINDEMAN (with GEORGE BARTH)
from From New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians
Carl Reinecke: (b Altona, 23 June 1824; d Leipzig, 10 March 1910). German composer, teacher, administrator, pianist and conductor. He was given a thorough musical education by his father, J.P. Rudolf Reinecke (b Hamburg, 22 Nov 1795; d Segeberg, 14 Aug 1883), a respected music theoretician and author of several textbooks. From 1845 Reinecke travelled through Europe, from Danzig to Riga; in Copenhagen he was appointed court pianist in 1846, where his duties included accompanying the violinist H.W. Ernst as well as giving solo recitals. He was given a particularly friendly reception in Leipzig by Mendelssohn and the Schumanns, and Liszt, whose daughter was later taught by Reinecke in Paris, spoke of his ‘beautiful, gentle, legato and lyrical touch’. In 1851 he moved to Cologne, where he taught counterpoint and the piano at Hiller’s conservatory. He also gave concerts with Hiller, who recommended him to Barmen. There as musical director and the conductor of several musical societies between 1854 and 1859, he significantly raised the standard of the town’s musical life. He then spent ten months in Breslau as director of music at the university and conductor of the Singakademie.
By 1860 his growing reputation brought him an appointment to teach at the Leipzig Conservatory, where he became the director in 1897. By selecting capable teachers who shared his conservative views and by improving the facilities and the syllabus, Reinecke transformed the conservatory into one of the most renowned in Europe. Grieg, Kretzschmar, Kwast, Muck, Riemann, Sinding, Svendsen, Sullivan and Weingartner were all pupils there; and to this distinguished list could be added many other names of equal repute, showing how exaggerated was the reproach, made particularly in north Germany, that Leipzig was a hotbed of reaction (although this criticism had some justification after 1880). But it cannot be denied that Reinecke considered it his responsibility as director to perpetuate the example of the Classical composers; he was very conscious of his position as a representative and guardian of tradition, and also made it his business to foster the music of the pre-Classical composers, particularly Bach, even exploring as far back as Palestrina. He was a sympathetic teacher who firmly believed in the necessity of a thorough grounding. In Leipzig, he was also the conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra until 1895 (when Nikisch succeeded him); a stern disciplinarian, he achieved a high standard of virtuosity from his players by his insistence on clarity of execution. Reinecke became a member of the Berlin Academy in 1875, received the honorary doctorate in 1884 and became a professor in 1885. He retired in 1902, though his creative work continued until the end of his life.
As a composer Reinecke was best known for his numerous piano compositions, representing virtually every musical form of the time and, despite being influenced by Mendelssohn’s melodic style, was stylistically nearer to Schumann. The exercises for young pianists and the piano sonatinas have become classics because of their charming melodies, as have the canons and nursery rhymes which are highly inventive and totally free from bourgeois sentimentality. Reinecke was a master of the so-called ‘Hausmusik’ and of the simpler forms popular at the time. His chamber music is distinguished and, in the later works in particular, attains a Brahmsian majesty and warmth within a variety of forms. His sonata for flute and piano, Undine, is his most frequently performed work. His most successful concertos are those for flute and for harp, and the first and third for piano, which well display his pleasant melodic sense and his admirable ear for orchestration; the piano concertos avoid grand soloistic mannerisms, and his own style of playing, with hands still and fingers curved, reflected his belief in classical practice. Of his three symphonies, the first employs small forces, while the second is a cyclically organized work on a grand scale. His operas, despite their Wagnerian trappings, were not successful; his better-known musical fairy tales, based in part on his own texts (written under the name Heinrich Carsten), were composed in a tasteful folk-style. Gifted in many fields, he was also a talented painter and poet. His lucidly written books and essays contain many observations still of interest.
Franz Joseph Haydn (b Rohrau, Lower Austria, 31 March 1732; d Vienna, 31 May 1809). Austrian composer, brother of Michael Haydn. Neither he nor his contemporaries used the name Franz, and there is no reason to do so today. He began his career in the traditional patronage system of the late Austrian Baroque, and ended as a ‘free’ artist within the burgeoning Romanticism of the early 19th century. Famous as early as the mid-1760s, by the 1780s he had become the most celebrated composer of his time, and from the 1790s until his death was a culture-hero throughout Europe. Since the early 19th century he has been venerated as the first of the three ‘Viennese Classics’ (Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven). He excelled in every musical genre; during the first half of his career his vocal works were as famous as his instrumental ones, although after his death the reception of his music focussed on the latter (except for The Creation). He is familiarly known as the ‘father of the symphony’ and could with greater justice be thus regarded for the string quartet; no other composer approaches his combination of productivity, quality and historical importance in these genres. In the 20th century he was understood primarily as an ‘absolute’ musician (exhibiting wit, originality of form, motivic saturation and a ‘modernist’ tendency to problematize music rather than merely to compose it), but earnestness, depth of feeling and referential tendencies are equally important to his art.