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The great painter, Jean Ingres, was in no doubt about how important Haydn was: “Whoever studies music, let his daily bread be Haydn. Beethoven, indeed, is admirable, he is incomparable, but he has not the same usefulness as Haydn. He is not a necessity.”
Certainly, when it came to being a pioneer in his field, Haydn put his success down to his lack of influence from what went on around him “I was cut off from the world. There was no one to confuse or torment me, and I was forced to become original”.
Ahead of our Turning Points concert tomorrow exploring Haydn’s first and last symphonies, here’s a list of 5 things you might not already know about the composer…
1) He taught the illustrious Beethoven. Their relationship was particularly difficult, owing to Beethoven’s suspicion of Haydn’s talent. The former once said “I never learned anything from Haydn.”
2) Many techniques and ideas used by later more well-known composers can be found originally in his music.
3) A prolific composer, he wrote 104 symphonies, over 30 duos and around 90 string quartets (over 340 hours of music!)
4) His musical jokes extended to teaching musicians who were notoriously arrogant and vain a lesson. To one particular violinist, he gave him music that at first was simple to sight-read, but became horrifyingly difficult after the first page.
5) He was a sharp negotiator, and often bargained with publishers to receive higher fees for his compositions.