Piano Lessons Blog - A Month of Haydn

A Month of Haydn

Karmel Larson

Studies show that children tend to like what they are exposed to frequently. So throughout this month we focused a lot on learning about our composer of the month, Franz Joseph Haydn, a.k.a. "the father of the symphony." Haydn was one of the grand master composers of the Classical era (roughly between 1750–1820). He came from very humble beginnings BUT eventually worked his way up to become one of the most popular composers in Europe. A living example that hard work mixed with talent and persistence can produce amazing results! In his lifetime, Haydn produced over 106 symphonies, 68 string quartets, 15 operas, 47 piano sonatas, and many other works. He also briefly introduced the technique of using short motifs as the building block of an entire movement. This week we want to highlight one of his popular songs: Symphony No. 94 in G major.

A lot of Haydn's symphonies have been given nicknames, and this symphony is not exempt. Andrew Ashe, one of the first flutists to play this piece, gave this symphony the name of "Surprise"! Which, after listening to the piece, is no surprise. One source claims that Haydn wrote it for an old man he noticed in the same seat at each of his London concerts who regularly was found sound asleep by the end. After listening to it, do you think it would wake you up?

This is just one example of Haydn's many amazing pieces. To listen to more of our favorites by Haydn, check out our Haydn playlist here!

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