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Title: Haydn
Author: Runciman, John F., 1866-1916
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Haydn" ***

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      includes the original musical and pictorial illustrations.



Bell's Miniature Series of Musicians




  II. 1732-1761
  IV. 1761-1790
  VI. 1790-1795
VIII. 1795-1809



It is, as a rule, inexpedient to begin a book with the peroration.
Children are spared the physic of the moral till they have sucked in the
sweetness of the tale. Adults may draw from a book what of good there is
in it, and close it before reaching the chapter usually devoted to fine
writing. But the case of Haydn is extraordinary. One can only sustain
interest in a biography of the man by an ever-present sense that he is
scarcely to be written about. All an author can do is, in few or many
words, to put a conundrum to the reader--a conundrum that cannot even be
stated in exciting terms. This apparition and wonder-worker of the
eighteenth century, Franz Joseph Haydn, is compact of paradoxes and
contradictions. Born a peasant, and remaining in thought and speech a
peasant all his days, he became the friend of princes, dukes, and,
generally speaking, very high society indeed--and this in days when
class distinctions had to be observed. He effected a revolution in
music, and revolutionists must have daring; and save in music he showed
no sign of unusual daring. His shaping and handling of new forms called
for high intellect, and he displayed no intellect whatever in any other
way--nothing beyond a canny, cunning shrewdness. Until he was sixty his
life was a plodding one of dull regularity and routine; only his later
adventures in England are in themselves of interest. The bare facts of
his existence might be given in a few pages. Look at him from any point
of view, and we see nothing but his simplicity; yet it is hard to
believe that a man who achieved such great things was in reality simple.
If only we had his inner spiritual biography! And even then one wonders
whether we would have much. If Haydn actually knew his own secret--which
I take leave to doubt--he certainly kept it. "The daemon of music," said
Wagner, "revealing itself through the mind of a child"--which tells us
nothing. In reading his Life we must perpetually bear in mind the mighty
changes he wrought in and for music, else we shall not read far.
Wherefore, first roughly to outline his achievement is the reason why I
open with a peroration of a sort.

Haydn found music in the eighteenth-century stage, and carried it on to
the nineteenth-century stage--in some respects a very advanced
nineteenth-century stage. The problem he had to solve was as easy as
that set by Columbus to the wiseacres, when once it was worked. It was
how to combine organic unity of form and continuity with dramatic
variety and the expressiveness of simple heartfelt song. From the date
of the invention of music written and sung in parts, a similar problem
had been set successive generations of musicians, and solved by each
according to its needs and lights. At first words were indispensable;
they were, if not the backbone of the music, at least the string on
which the pearls might be strung. The first veritable composers--in
setting, for instance, the words of the Mass--took for a beginning a
fragment of Church melody, or, to the great scandal of the
ecclesiastics, secular melody. Call this bit A, and say it was sung by
Voice I.; Voice II. took it up in a different key, Voice I. continuing
with something fresh; then Voice III. took it in turn, Voices I. and II.
continuing either with entirely fresh matter, or Voice II. following in
the steps of Voice I. And so on, either until the whole piece was
complete or a section ended; but the end of one section was the
jumping-off place for the commencement of another, which was spun out in
exactly the same way. This method of "imitation" was employed by all the
polyphonic composers. Continuity was assured; lovely or unlovely
harmonic dissonances were always arising, and being resolved through the
collisions and onward movement of parts; the music, both melodically
and harmonically, could be as expressive as the particular composer's
powers allowed. But the unity was the unity of a number of pieces of
wood of varying length laid so as to overlap and nailed together; the
superficial unity was due to the words; the real, essential unity
depended on all the music being the sincere expression of a steady
emotion--in those days religious emotion. Thus were attained the motet
forms and the Mass, and, when the method was applied to secular words,
the madrigal.

The earlier instrumental pieces were built after the same fashion--see
the "fancies" and organ compositions of the time; but in these there
were no words either to give the impulse or hold the bits together. With
the fugue, music, unaided by words, was held together by its own innate
strength; it became a self-sustaining One subject was generally taken;
others--oftenest one, sometimes more--were added; all the subjects were
passed about from part to part until the end of the composition, with
the interspersion of passages called "episodes" for the sake of
"variety." Here there was unity, continuity, with a vengeance. It was of
the very essence of the fugue that the motion should never be arrested;
if it seemed to halt for a moment, then, as in the older music, the
stopping-place was the jumping-off place for a fresh start. All the
severer men wrote in this form, most of them displaying marvellous
mathematical--and some of them, alas! mechanical--ingenuity; a few of
them, Bach towering high above the rest, attained a full and truthful
expression of deep feeling. Bach, for the organ alone, raised sublime
architectural structures, unapproachable, to use Schumann's word, in
their magnificence. But the underlying feeling was always the same
throughout; it might wax or wane in intensity: its character did not
change. The themes, once announced, were rigid and unalterable; the
music had always to be more or less like "a tune tied to a post."
Dramatic changes of mood had no place. So later, a voice had to be found
for shifting, complex, theatrically conflicting moods--states of mind
characteristic of the modern and not of the bewigged world. When Haydn
was still young the problem composers were more or less at random trying
to solve was the creation of a new form of music and a new kind of music
to fill the form. Neither the old form nor the old style would serve;
the naïve dance-forms were too short. The content had to be as
poignantly expressive, as direct in its appeal, as a folk-song; the
different passages uttering the different moods had somehow to be welded
together into a coherent whole--in one way or another dramatic climaxes
and changes had to be arranged in an unbroken, logical, apparently
inevitable sequence. I do not say the composers knew what they were
after; on the contrary, as in the beginnings of anything new in any art,
they simply were vaguely groping after something, they did not by any
means realise what.

During the period when the polyphonic writers were pouring out their
most glorious and living stuff, in the first lame, crude fugues the
medium was being prepared for the triumphs of Handel and Bach; and in
the same way, while Bach was writing the G minor and A minor fugues (I
am not speaking of vocal music) some smaller men were working at what
was destined to grow into the symphony, sonata and quartet. These terms
are used here in their present-day signification. In the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries such words as symphony and overture, and suite and
sonata, were interchangeable; but that does not at all concern us here.
The symphony or sonata or quartet form is what these early groups of
movements led up to. That these groups of movements originated in the
theatre is quite probable; this is indicated by the mere fact that the
word "overture" was frequently used to describe them. When the fugue was
in its fullest maturity composers were turning overtures out in vast
quantities. Our own Arne tried his hand at them, and no one looking at
_his_ would dream that the sonata form was so nearly ripe at the time.
Emanuel and Johann Christian Bach wrote them, and from these two Haydn
got the hint which he turned to such splendid account. Abel, Stamitz
and Wagenseil wrote them, and achieved nothing in particular. These
groups consisted of three or four movements, and we need not linger long
over them. It goes without saying that all the movements were short;
they consisted either of simple tunes or of series of harmonic
progressions broken up into figures or patterns. Of real development and
climax there is none; of such things as well-defined, characteristic
first and second subjects there is little sign. The themes were of the
formal mathematical type developed during the fugal period--a type that
"worked" easily, and in a way effectively, in the fugue itself, but was
unnecessary and, indeed, tiresome when contrapuntal working was not the
aim and object. The endless variants on this kind of thing, for

[Illustration: some bars of music]

were simply a snare, and kept writers from seeing the importance of
singing and singable melody in the coming style. To show the difference
between the old and the new at once, let me here give two bits of themes
from Mozart and Haydn. They are in appearance not so far removed from
the contrapuntal type of theme, and while they sing themselves they yet
served their inventors capitally for contrapuntal treatment.

[Illustration: some bars of music]

Numberless sonatas were written about the same time. Either the subjects
were contrapuntal, formal, in build, or consisted of patterns made out
of broken chord-series. Domenico Scarlatti got some wonderful results;
but his music simply tickles the ear for a moment: meaning it has none.
Polyphonic music of every sort had now to go for a while; monodic music
was coming in. But before it could come in with any degree of security
something else had to come and something else to go. Up till now the old
idea of modes had remained strong, despite Sebastian Bach and his
marvellous use of chromatic harmonies. It had to yield to the modern
idea of key; a sense of key relationships had to be developed--much, at
first all, depended on that. The new idea, hinted at by Emanuel Bach,
and first seized upon by Haydn, was that a continuous stream of
melody--not necessarily always in the top or treble part--should run
through a movement, and, whatever the interest of the accompanying
parts, should always be of the first importance. For his inspiration, as
well as many of his actual themes, Haydn went to his native folk-dances
and folk-songs; he brought in the fresh air from the wilds, and the now
dusty contrapuntalism was blown out never again to return. We can see
above the difference between the full-bottomed wig theme and the newer
kind; to show, on the other hand, how near Haydn stood to Beethoven let
me give bits of themes from each composer.

[Illustration: some bars of music]

With the disappearance of the contrapuntal theme coincides the end of
purely contrapuntal "working" or development. The new kind I shall
describe later in its proper place. For the present all that need be
said is that here again key relationship was of the first importance, as
we shall see. Meantime, in this peroration I have sought to outline what
Haydn did. For, let there be no mistake, it was Haydn and no other who
brought about the change. If he was not the first to write in something
very like modern sonata or symphony form, he was the first to see its
full possibilities. Had he written no symphonies, but only quartets, his
achievement would have been none the less remarkable, and none the less
valuable to Mozart and Beethoven, for in many respects the quartet and
the symphony of the eighteenth century were the same thing, and Mozart
declared that it was from Haydn he learnt to write quartets.

This, then, is what Haydn did, and I shall now describe shortly what we
must call his career while he was working it out.



The first period of Haydn's life is marked by the two above dates--that
of his entry into this world and that of his entry into the service of
Prince Anton Esterhazy. He was born, then, in 1732, "between March 31
and April 1." As there is no "between" possible, either the Haydn family
had no clock or were averse to stating definitely that their son was
born on All Fool's Day. They need not have worried, for, however simple
Haydn might be, he was only once in his whole life a fool, which is more
than can be said for most men, great or small. But while he was about
it, there was no lack of completeness in Haydn's folly, and he felt the
consequences of it all his days. The place of his birth was originally
called Tristnik, translated into German, Rohrau, then (whatever it may
be now) a sleepy old-world village on the banks of the Leitha, in the
very heart of a Croatian settlement in Hungary. The Leitha at Rohrau
divides Hungary from Austria. Haydn's father, Mathias Haydn, said to
have been a master-wheelwright, came from Hainburg, near to the Danube,
and some little distance from Rohrau. More cannot be said of his
ancestors than that for some generations they had been hard-working,
honest folk of the peasant class, given to music, but by no means a
family of musicians like the Bachs. His mother was born Maria Koller,
and it has been suggested that the name is a variant or corruption of
the Croatian Kolar, meaning a wheelwright. Perhaps she thought that,
bearing such a name, she must marry Mathias, a wheelwright. The point is
that this fact, if fact it be, is another indication or proof of Haydn's
Croatian descent. It seems, indeed, to be established that by blood he
was pure Slav, the name being formerly spelt Hajdgn. It is just as well
for our tongues that it was changed. Franz Joseph (he dropped the Franz)
was the second of twelve children, the only other worth noting being
Michael (in full, Johann Michael), who became a famous musician in his
day, and a friend of the Mozarts in Salzburg. Maria, the mother, died in
1754, the father in 1763.

It has always seemed to me the great composers had fine luck in being
born so long ago, before the towns had grown big and dirty, before the
locomotive and motor-car had denied the beautiful earth, and stinking
factories floundered over all the lands. Carlyle rightly grows eloquent
on the value of the sweet country air and sights and sounds to young
Teufelsdröckh, and Haydn must have taken impressions of sunrises,
sunsets, midday splendours, and the ever-plashing river flowing to the
far-away sea, that afterwards went to the making of his most wonderful
music. He had to go out early to fight his way in the world; only six
years of peaceful village life, free from care and responsibility, were
allowed him. Those first years, I take it, were happy enough. Mathias
was only, it is true, a wheelwright, and in time there were a dozen
mouths to feed. But we hear of him and Maria making music only in the
evenings; his days were more profitably occupied. It goes very much
without saying that he was not rich--in what age or clime are working
wheelwrights rich?--but he cannot be called poor. Poverty is a
comparative term; even to-day peasants feel its biting teeth only when
they desert or are driven from their country-side, and make for the
overcrowded towns. Joseph, but for a few accidents, might have remained
a peasant all his days, and never faced what he would consider hardship.
The first accident was his voice, which was undoubtedly of singular
beauty; the second was an extraordinary musical aptitude, which led him
to sing expressively and perfectly in tune the airs he heard his father
and mother sing. Mathias, by the way, accompanied himself on the harp;
and Joseph, long before he had a fiddle of his own, imitated the
fiddling of his elders with two bits of wood, so the family orchestra
was complete. The last accident was the arrival of one Frankh, a distant
relative. This was long before the magical feats of the baby Mozart had
set every grasping parent staring for signs of musical precocity in his
children. But Mathias undoubtedly wanted to do his best for his boy, and
Joseph himself must have had ambition of a sort--witness his endeavours
to play the fiddle without a fiddle to play--and when Frankh undertook
to place the boy in a choir and teach him music, the offer was joyfully
accepted. So he went to Hainburg, never to return to Rohrau until he was
an old and celebrated man.

Nothing need be recorded of his life in Hainburg save that Frankh worked
him hard. Indeed, much later Haydn declared himself thankful to Frankh
for forming in him the habit of working hard. He sang, played the fiddle
and harpsichord, and went to school; and suddenly one George Reutter
came on the scene. He came, heard, and was conquered by Haydn's voice.
He was Hofcompositor and Kapellmeister at St. Stephen's Church in
Vienna, and he took the boy on the same terms as those on which Frankh
had brought him away from Rohrau. To Vienna Haydn went, was entered in
the Cantorei of St. Stephen's, and there for some years he sang in the
choir. In return he was taught reading, writing and arithmetic, religion
and Latin. He had excellent masters for singing and for violin and
harpsichord; but he had no teaching in theory. Reutter gave him only
two lessons, and he was left without guidance to cover as much
music-paper as he could get hold of. But he stuck grimly to the task of
making himself an efficient composer, and worked out his own salvation.
Reutter, having secured him for his voice, took no interest in him, and
when the voice went Haydn had to go too. That happened in 1745. His
brother Michael came, with a voice superior to Joseph's; Joseph's broke,
and the Empress said his singing was like a cock's crowing. Michael sang
a solo so beautifully as to win a present of 24 ducats, and since it was
evident that the services of St. Stephen's could go on without Joseph,
Reutter waited for a chance of getting rid of Joseph. So Joseph, though
far from wishing to oblige, must needs play a practical joke, and was
ignominiously spanked and turned out into the streets.

With both Frankh and Reutter he had had a hard enough time--plenty of
work, not too much food, and no petting--but now he learnt what hard
times really meant. He faced them with plenty of courage. A chorister of
St. Michael's gave him shelter; some warmhearted person--to whom be all
praise--lent him the vast sum of 140 florins--say £7; he got a few
pupils who paid him two florins a month. He must have toiled like a
slave, in a wet, cold garret, and often without sufficient to eat. Yet,
as in everything he undertook, dogged did it. He never became a
splendid executant, like Bach and Handel before him, and Mozart and
Beethoven immediately after, but he must have been head and shoulders
above the ordinary musical practitioner.

His first opportunity came when he made the acquaintance of one Felix
Kurz, a well-known comic actor, for whom he wrote the comic opera, _Der
Neue Krumme Teufel_. This, judging from the places it was played at,
seems to have had quite a vogue. The music is lost; I have never seen
the words. But through this operetta or pantomime with songs he appears
to have been introduced to Metastasio, who was, of course, a mighty
great man at that epoch--a kind of Scribe. Anyhow, Metastasio was
superintending the education of the two daughters of a Spanish family,
the de Martines, and Haydn was engaged to teach the elder music.
Metastasio brought him to the notice of Porpora--then quite as important
a person as Metastasio himself--and Porpora made Haydn an offer. Haydn
was to clean the boots and do other household jobs, and he was to
accompany when Porpora gave lessons. In return, he was to have lessons
from Porpora and to be fed and clothed. He accepted, and went off with
his new master to Mannersdorf.

His service with Porpora brought him innumerable advantages. If he had
lowly duties to attend to, that amounted to nothing. He lived in the
eighteenth century, not in the nineteenth or twentieth. He was not
regarded as a clever musician forced to do lackey's work; he was a
lackey--or, at least, a peasant--given a chance of making himself a
clever musician. In those days birth and breeding counted for
much--everything. If a man could not boast of these, then he must have
money; and even money would not always fetch him everything. The Court
musicians were classed lower than domestic servants, and generally paid
less. Now and again a triumphant, assertive personality like Handel
would break through all the rules of etiquette; but even Handel could
have done little without his marvellous finger-skill--for he was
reckoned finest amongst the European players of his time--and with his
fingers Haydn--we have his own confession for it--was never
extraordinary. He could not extemporise as Handel, and Bach in more
restricted circles, had done, nor as Mozart and Beethoven were soon to
do. Beethoven won social status for the musician tribe, but Beethoven,
while as brilliant an executant as Handel, also had the advantage of
reaching manhood just when the upset of the French Revolution was
destroying all old-world notions. Even in old-fashioned Germany the
Rights of Man were asserting themselves. In England, for many a long day
afterwards, the musician had no higher standing than Haydn had. The few
who mixed with the Great were mainly charlatans of the type of Sir
George Smart, and they took mighty pains to be of humble behaviour in
the presence of their betters.

Haydn did remarkably well in the petty pigtail courts of Austria. He
probably considered himself lucky, and he was lucky--he was always
lucky. He got invaluable experience with Porpora, and was presented to
many personages in the gay world. He met Gluck, who a little later was
quite inaccessible to the most pushful of young men; also Dittersdorf
and Wagenseil, who, whatever we may think of them, were very high and
unapproachable musicians in their time. He worked with unflagging
diligence, and the natural instinct of his genius drove him to the works
of Emanuel Bach, which he now possessed. He also bought theoretical
books, prizing chiefly the Gradus of old Fux. So he mastered the
groundwork of his art. Gluck advised him to go to Italy, but it is hard
to imagine what he could have learnt there. He did not fail to profit by
an introduction to one Karl (etc.) von Fürnberg, one of the old stamp of
wealthy patrons of musicians. They loved to "discover" rising talent,
did these ancient, obsolete types of amateurs of art. They were as proud
of a brilliant protégé as a modern literary critic is when he
"discovers" a new minor poet. Von Fürnberg did his best for Haydn. He
enabled him to write the first eighteen quartets; he helped him to get
better terms for teaching--five florins a month instead of two. Through
von Fürnberg or some one else he got to know the Countess Thun, who
loved to play the friend to struggling genius. Finally, he was presented
to Count Morzin, who, in 1759, appointed him as his composer and
bandmaster. The band was small and the pay was small, but it placed
Haydn in an assured position. He had a band to practise on, and he soon
wrote his first symphony. Count Morzin's home was at Lukavec. Here
incessant concerts, vocal and instrumental, were given. Trios, quartets,
symphonies, concertos, divertimentos--all kinds of compositions, and
plenty of them, were required of Haydn, who must have had his hands
everlastingly full.

He now evidently thought the days of his apprenticeship over, and
proceeded at once to make a thorough fool of himself--as I have said,
for the only time in his life. He was friendly with the family of a
wig-maker named Keller, and gave lessons to his two daughters. He fell
in love with the younger. That might have been well enough. But the girl
elected to become a nun, and Haydn, either of his free and particularly
asinine will, or through persuasion, married the elder, Anne Marie, on
November 26, 1760. He was fully aware that his master, Count Morzin,
would keep no married man in his employ, so that his act was doubly
foolish. However, as it happened, that did not so much matter. Morzin
had to rid himself of such an expensive encumbrance as an orchestra,
and, marriage or no marriage, Haydn would have found himself without a
post. He quickly got another position, so that one bad consequence of
hasty marriage did not count. The other consequence remained--he still
had a wife. She was, from all accounts, a demon of a wife. He had to
separate from her, and long afterwards she wrote to him asking him to
buy her a certain house which would suit her admirably as soon as he was
good enough to leave her a happy widow. It is satisfactory to know that
Haydn bought the house for himself, and lived in it, and that the lady
died before him, though only eight years.

He had borne privation, hunger, cold, wet beds to sleep in, with the
inveterate cheeriness that never left him. He worked on steadily until
his old age in the service he now entered--that of Prince Anton
Esterhazy. Until the year 1791, when he adventured far away for the
first time to come to London, his outward life was as regular and
uneventful as that of a steady Somerset House clerk. There is next to
nothing to record, and I will spare the patient reader the usual stock
of fabulous anecdotes, the product of hearsay and loose imaginations.
Let us turn for a moment to what he had learnt and actually achieved
during the first thirty years of his life.



Save one quartet, I have heard none of the compositions of Haydn's first
period. Their interest is mainly historical, and the public cannot be
blamed for never evincing the slightest desire to hear them. Haydn had,
indeed, a glimmering of the new idea--perhaps more than a glimmering;
but, on the whole, he was still in leading strings, and dared not follow
the gleam. It is not surprising. He was not one of Nature's giant
eruptive forces, like Beethoven. His declared object always was to
please his patrons; and consider who his patrons were. We may be sure
that the "discords" of a Beethoven suddenly blared forth would have
scared Count Morzin and all his pigtail court. Haydn was supposed to
write the same kind of music as other musicians of the period were
writing, and, if possible, to do it better; Count Morzin did not pay him
to widen the horizons of an art. Consider his musical position also. He
was born twenty-seven years before the death of Handel, eighteen before
that of the greatest Bach; Bach was writing gigantic works in the
contrapuntal style and forms; Handel had not composed the chain of
oratorios on which his fame rests. It is conceivable that had Haydn been
born in less humble circumstances, that had he easily reached a high
position, he, too, might have commenced writing fugues, masses and
oratorios on a big scale--and be utterly forgotten to-day. His good luck
thrust him into a lowly post, and by developing the forms in which he
had to compose, and seeking out their possibilities, he became a great
and original man.

It is hard, of course, to say how much any given discoverer actually
discovers for himself, and how much is due to his predecessors and
contemporaries. The thing certain is that the great man, besides finding
and inventing for himself, sums up the others. All the master-works have
their ancestry, and owe something to contemporary works. The only piece
of music I know for which it is claimed that it leaped to light suddenly
perfect, like Minerva from Jupiter's skull, is "Sumer is icumen in," and
almost as many authors have been found for it as there are historians.
The bones of John of Fornsete (or another) have long since mouldered,
and it need not disturb their dust to say that in all certainty there
were many canons--hundreds, perhaps thousands--before "Sumer is icumen
in" had the good fortune to be put in a safe place for posterity to
stare and wonder at. This is platitudinous, but it needs to be borne in
mind. And, bearing it in mind, we can see in Haydn's early attempts much
in a style that had been used before or was being used at the time, much
that is simply copied from the younger Bachs, from Domenico Scarlatti,
Dittersdorf, Wagenseil, perhaps even his Parisian contemporary Gossec.
But we see the character of the themes becoming more and more his own.
There are no--or few--contrapuntal formulas, hardly any mere chord
progressions broken into arpeggios and figurated designs. By going to
the native dances and folk-tunes of his childhood Haydn took one of the
most momentous, decisive steps in his own history and in the history of
music. That too much quoted opening of the first quartet (B-flat) really
marks the opening of an era. It was not a subject to be worked out
contrapuntally; it was not sufficiently striking harmonically to tempt
Haydn, as themes of an allied sort had constantly tempted Emanuel Bach,
to make music and gain effects by repeating it at intervals above or
below. It is an arpeggio of the chord of B-flat; it leaps up merrily,
and has a characteristic delightful little twist at the end, and in the
leap and in the twist lay possibilities of a kind that he made full use
of only in his maturer style. All composers up till then, if they
ventured to use bits of popular melody at all, gave them the scholastic
turn, either because they liked it, or because the habit was strong.
The fact that Haydn gave it in its naïve form, invented themes which in
their deliberate naïveté suggest folk-song and dance, hints at what his
later music proves conclusively, that he found his inspiration as well
as his raw material in folk-music.

The business of the creative artist is to turn chaos into cosmos. He has
the welter of raw material around him; the shaping instinct crystallizes
it into coherent forms. For that intellect is indispensable, and almost
from the beginning Haydn's intellect was at work slowly building his
folk-music into definite forms easily to be grasped. Gradually the
second subject differentiates itself from the first while maintaining
the flow of the tide of music; and gradually we get the "working-out"
section, in which the unbroken flow is kept up by fragments of the two
subjects being woven into perpetually new melodic outlines, leading up
to the return of the first theme; and the second theme is repeated in
the key of the first, with a few bars of coda to make a wind-up
satisfactory to the ear.

Here let us observe the value of key relationships. The first subject
was given out in the key (say) of C. A momentary pause was made, and the
second subject introduced in the dominant key G, and in this key the
first section of a piece of music in symphony-form ends. That ending
could not satisfy the ear, which demanded something more in the first
key. Until recent times that desire was gratified with a repetition of
the whole first section. The repetition of the first theme in the first
key satisfied the ear for the moment, though at the end of the section
the want was again felt. So when the end of the first section was again
reached a modulation was made, gradually or suddenly, to another key;
and in the course of this, the development or "working-out" section,
many keys might be touched on, but without ever giving the ear the
satisfaction of feeling itself at rest in the first key again. That was
only done by the reintroduction of the first theme in the first key. The
first theme is played and leads on to the pause, after which the second
theme is given in the key of the first, so that after a few bars of
coda, always in the same key, the movement terminates in a perfectly
satisfactory manner. This is a crude description in which much is left
out, but it will serve to enable the reader to understand how passages
widely different in character are bound together into a coherent whole
by the composer continuously leading the ear to expect something--that
something being the original key-chord, and, while offering many things,
only finally satisfying the ear's craving when the movement is coming to
a finish. If the second theme, let us say, were in the same key as the
first, it would sound like the beginning of a new movement, and at once
we should have the continuity broken. As a passage between two passages
in the original key it sounds perfectly in its place, and, no matter how
contrasted in character, is a kind of continuation of the first passage.
At the same time it creates a strong desire, that must be restrained
till the time comes, for what follows. We listen to the second theme and
to the "working-out" section, knowing we are far from home, but
perfectly aware that we shall get there, and that a certain feeling of
suspense will be relieved. Thus the music is like a great arch that
supports itself. The unity got in the fugue by continuous motion is got
here by one key perpetually leading the ear to ask for another key. It
seems simplicity itself; its underlying idea--that of making the ear
always expect something, and gratifying it by bits, and only fully
towards the close of the movement--is that by which unity is combined
with variety in modern music, though we have long since got rid of the
"legitimate" series of keys.

The grouping of the movements need not detain us long. Many groupings
had been tried; but it seems natural to open with an allegro--preceded
or not preceded by a few bars of slow introduction--to follow this with
a slow movement of some sort; then to insert or not to insert a movement
of medium rapidity as a change from the bustle of the first and the
quiet of the second; and finally to end with a merry dancing movement.
This, again, is in the merest outline the plan adopted by Haydn.
Whether he used three or four movements, the principle was the same--a
quick beginning, a slow middle, and a quick ending; afterwards, each
movement grew longer, but the way in which he lengthened them can better
be treated later when we come to his bigger works.

From the first he used counterpoint, canon, imitation, and all the
devices of the contrapuntal style. But the difference between his newer
style and that of Wagenseil and the rest is that he neither uses
counterpoint of any sort nor chord figures to make up the true substance
of the music, but merely as devices to help him in maintaining a
continuous flow of melody. That melody, as has already been said, might
be in the top or bottom part, or one of the middle parts; but though it
may, and, indeed, always did pause at times, as the melody of a song
pauses at the end of each line, it is unbroken from beginning to end.
The first part of a movement might be compared to the first line of a
song: there is a pause, but we expect and get the second line; there is
another pause, and we get a line which is analogous to the "working-out"
section, and the last line, ending in the original key if not on the
same note, corresponds to the final section of the movement, after which
we expect nothing more, the ear being quite satisfied.

Werner, his musical chief in his next station, had the sense to see
that this continuous melody was the thing aimed at, and because Haydn
placed counterpoint in a subsidiary condition he called him a
"charlatan." Poor man, had his sense pierced a little deeper! For Haydn
was--after Bach and Handel and Mozart--one of the finest masters of
counterpoint who have lived. When the time came to write fugues he could
write them with a certain degree of power. But his aim was not writing
fugues any more than an architect's aim is painting in water-colours.
Water-colours are very useful to architects, and they make use of them;
but because they do not rival Turner or David Cox it does not follow
that they are not masters of the art of architecture. Haydn aimed at--or
rather, at this epoch, groped after--a kind of music in which continuous
melody expressive of genuine human feeling was the beginning and the
end, and his mastery of counterpoint, harmony, and all technical devices
were more than sufficient for the purpose.

To my mind he wrote as well for the strings at this time as ever he did.
He could play the violin himself, as the violin was then played, and all
his life, even in quartets, he had to write for players who would be
considered tenth-rate to-day. As for orchestration, that was an art
neither he nor Mozart was to hit upon for some time. The wind
instruments had one principal function, and that was to fill in the
music, enrich it, and make it louder, and another minor
one--occasionally to put in solos. In writing suitably for them, and, in
fact, in every other part of writing music for courts, Haydn was now the
equal, if not the superior, of every man living in 1761 (Gluck did not
write for the courts), and he was getting a better and better grip of
his new idea.



Haydn went to Eisenstadt, in Hungary, in 1761 to take up the duties of
his new post--that of second Kapellmeister to Prince Anton of Esterhazy.
In that year feudal Europe had not been shaken to the foundations by the
French Revolution; few in Europe, indeed, and none in sleeping German
Austria, dreamed that such a shaking was at hand, and that royal and
ducal and lesser aristocratic heads, before the century was out, would
be dear at two a penny. Those drowsy old courts--how charming they seem
on paper, how fascinating as depicted by Watteau! Yet one wonders how in
such an atmosphere any new plants of art managed to shoot at all. The
punctilious etiquette, the wigs, the powder, the patches, the
grandiloquent speechifyings, the stately bows and graceful curtsies, the
prevalence--nay, the domination--of taste, what a business it all was!
The small electors, seigneurs, dukes and what not imitated the archducal
courts; the archdukes mimicked the imperial courts: all was stiff,
stilted, unnatural to a degree that seems to us nowadays positively
soul-killing, devilish. But some surprising plants grew up, some
wondrous fruits ripened in them. A peasant-mind, imbued with
peasant-songs, was set in one; the peasant-mind in all outward matters
conformed to all the rules, and was loved by the petty princes to whom
it was never other than highly, utterly respectful, and lo! the
peasant-songs blew and blossomed into gigantic art forms, useful to the
composers who came in a time when feudalism was as clean swept away as
the wigs and patches that were its insignia. To change this rather too
eloquent trope, Haydn, living a life of deadly routine and dulness, duly
subservient to his divinely appointed betters, took the songs of the
people (who paid to keep the whole apparatus in working order), and out
of them built up what is the basis of all the music written since. If
Providence in very deed ordained that millions of men and women should
toil that a few small electors, dukes and princes should lead lives of
unhappy artificial luxury, then Providence did well at the same time to
arrange for a few counts such as Morzin, and princes like those of

Haydn's chief in musical affairs was old Werner. His salary was at first
£40, and he was passing rich on it; and it was soon raised to £79. We
need trouble no further as to whether on such wages he was poor or rich:
he evidently considered himself well-to-do. In fact, even in those
days, when copyright practically did not exist, he continually made
respectable sums by his compositions, and after he had been twice to
England, ever the Hesperides' Garden of the German musician, he was a
wealthy man, and was thankful for it. He was as keen at driving a
bargain as Handel, or as the mighty Beethoven himself, and we, too,
ought to be glad that he had a talent for getting money and keeping it.

The date of his appointment was May 1, 1761; but he had been at work
less than a year when Prince Anton died, March 18, 1762. Anton was
succeeded by his brother Nicolaus, surnamed or nicknamed the
Magnificent, and in truth a most lordly creature. Almost immediately
changes began. Eisenstadt did not content Nicolaus; Versailles was the
admiration of all Europe, and he determined to rival Versailles. The
building was begun at Süttör, a place at the southern end of
Neusiedler-See, of the palace of Esterház, and it was here that Haydn
was destined to write the bulk of his music, though not that on which
his fame depends to-day. Meanwhile, at Eisenstadt he was kept busy
enough. It is true he was second to Werner, but Werner was both old and
old-fashioned, and devoted himself entirely to the chapel services and
music, leaving Haydn to look after the incessant concerts--each of them
interminable, as was the fashion then--the cantatas, instrumental
pieces, operas and operettas. Werner thought little of Haydn: he
regarded him as an adventurer and musical frivol; but Haydn, as became
the bigger man, esteemed Werner. There does not seem to have been any
friction; Haydn was always shrewd enough to avoid friction, which means
wasted energy, and the problem, if problem it was, of double mastership
was solved by Werner's death on March 5, 1766. Henceforth Haydn was
alone and supreme.

Haydn's magnificent patron and master played the baryton, and it was one
of his duties to write pieces for it. Of these there remain many, mostly
uninteresting. It was always his avowed aim to please his patron--that
done he was satisfied; but in an evil hour he thought to please him
better by learning to play the baryton--a singular bit of
short-sightedness on Haydn's part. He quickly discovered his error:
Prince Nicolaus liked the instrument best when played by princely hands
in the princely manner. Haydn limited himself for the future to writing
for it. With his band, we are told, he got on excellently, and what with
rehearsing them and conducting them and composing, every hour of the day
brought its task. The band consisted at the beginning of sixteen chosen
players, but the number was increased afterwards. The only events in his
life were the smaller or larger fêtes for which he prepared the music.
For instance, in 1763 Anton, the son of Nicolaus, was married, and
Haydn composed a pastoral, _Acis and Galatea_, which was duly performed.
Again, in 1764 Prince Nicolaus attended the coronation of the Archduke
Joseph; his return was one of these events, and to celebrate it Haydn
wrote a grand cantata. A Life of him at this period would be a list of
his compositions, with a few notes about the occasions that prompted
them. Such a list I am not minded to prepare. The publishers' catalogues
exist, and as for the various fêtes, one was very much like another; and
those folk who do not find accounts of them insufferably tedious can
find out about them in one of the larger biographies.

In 1767 the Prince, Haydn, band and all, took up their residence at the
palace of Esterház. A few singers and players were left at Eisenstadt to
keep up the chapel services, and doubtless had an easy time; the rest
were worked almost to death. Esterház was a gorgeous, if solitary,
residence. Built on a morass far from the busy world, it was the scene
of constant hospitality and great functions. There were two
theatres--one, as I understand the matter, entirely for marionette
shows; the scenery was regarded at the time as excellent. Most of the
operas were sung in Italian by Italian singers; even books of the words
were printed. In short, the opera at the Palace of Esterház seems to
have been in no respect very different from the fashionable opera of
to-day. Singers were engaged for a year or a longer period; casual
artists called, and were engaged for one performance or more, and having
been rewarded according to their deserts, passed on their way. Great
personages visited the Prince in state, and were regally entertained,
Haydn everlastingly writing special music. Maria Theresa stayed for
three days in 1773, and thus we get the Empress Theresa symphony in C,
also two operas of sorts, _L'Infideltà Delusa_ and _Philemon and
Baucis_, specially composed for the occasion. What with retinues of
servants bustling about, banquets, balls, hunting-parties, dramas,
operas, concerts, the scene must have always been lively enough--there
can have been nothing of stagnation. When the Prince went on visits he
also travelled in state, and took his band and singers with him. When at
home, we read, the artists spent their spare time at the café; but I
cannot think that Haydn ever had much leisure.

It was not until 1769 that Prince, conductor, band, singers and all
visited Vienna. Nothing remarkable occurred. To celebrate the great and
joyful event Haydn wrote one opera, _La Spezziata_, which was given at
the house of von Sommerau--then they went back to Esterház, and saw no
more of Vienna for eight years. Of this eight years there is nothing to
set down save a list of compositions. How the man, such a man--for in
his quiet methodical way he loved pleasure--stood it at all, I don't
know, but stand it he did. However, in 1776-1777 there was a little
diversion. Haydn composed an opera, _La Vera Constanza,_ for the Court
theatre in Vienna, and intrigues for some rival composer--his name does
not matter--began. A rival won the first round in the contest; his opera
was produced. In disgust Haydn had his score taken away, and it was soon
sung at Esterház. I suppose Haydn would have considered it a sin to
waste good material. Moreover, it was given at a suburban theatre of
Vienna, and it proved so far successful that Artaria, the publisher,
thought it worth while to engrave half a dozen songs and a duet from it.
The opera which beat his at the Court theatre is utterly forgotten; we
know of the other because of the composer's name. Some years later, in
1784, he had another touch of the ways of men in the busy world, sent,
perhaps, to reconcile him to his habitual seclusion. As far back as 1771
he had written his first oratorio--which I am not ashamed to say I have
never looked at--_Il Ritorno di Tobia_. It was performed, apparently
with éclat, by the Vienna Tonkünstler Societät, of which body Haydn
wished to become a member. He put down his name, and paid his
subscription, and was not a little surprised to learn that the condition
on which alone he would be elected was that he should compose works for
the society whenever he was asked. Now, those works would have become
the society's property, if only because they alone would have the
scores, and Haydn was a busy man, a man of European reputation, whose
music was worth money, and a shrewd business man, who saw no fun in
throwing money away. His annoyance may be conceived. He withdrew his
subscription--it is a wonder they would let him have it--and would have
nothing to do with the society until after his return from England in
1791, when the feud was ended, and he was triumphantly elected senior
assessor--whatever that may be. What the society was thinking in the
first instance I cannot guess, unless it was that a mere professional
composer and Kapellmeister should pay double, or considerably more than
double, for the honour of belonging to so distinguished a body of
amateurs. Anyhow, in the long run Haydn was so well pleased with them
that he seems to have made over to them _The Creation_ and _The
Seasons_, from which they derived profits that enabled them to keep
their heads above water when darker days came. Long before this date,
however, honours were being thrown at him. His opera, _L'Isolu
Disabilite_, to Metastasio's words, was sung in concert form at Vienna
in 1779, and the Accademia Filarmonica of Modena made him a member;
Haydn sent the score to the King of Spain, who repaid the compliment
with a gold snuff-box. In the same year he got a little relief from the
unbroken routine of his duties, for the theatre at Esterház was burnt
to the ground, and Prince Nicolaus, seeing no means of passing his
evenings, took a trip to Paris. Whether, from Haydn's point of view, he
did well or not is open to question; for a fiddler named Polzelli had
come to Esterház, and Haydn could find nothing better to do than flirt
with his wife Luigia. He did more than flirt--he went a trifle further,
and the lady took full advantage of his infatuation. She everlastingly
importuned him for money, and made him sign a promise to marry her if
ever he should be free to do so. Finally, the trouble came to an end
somehow; but in his will Haydn left the lady an allowance for life.

The new theatre was built, and reopened in 1780 with a representation of
_La Fideltà Premiare_. This pleased every one so much that it was given
once at a concert under Haydn's direction, that the Emperor Joseph might
hear it, and it led to Artaria, who was a very great gun in the
publishing line of business, taking him up in serious earnest. Life went
on much as it had done before the fire, or, if it was not quite so
monotonous, it was still dull enough. Honours came to him from abroad,
and when in Vienna he made the acquaintance of many more or less
celebrated men. Michael Kelly is well worth reading on the subject, for
Michael was no fool, and very much more than an ordinary
celebrity-hunter. Haydn's friendship with Mozart is the most
interesting feature of this period, and a very beautiful incident in the
lives of two men of genius. Mozart, said Haydn, was the greatest
composer then living; Mozart regarded Haydn as a father, and dedicated
some quartets to him in phrases revealing the deepest affection. The
intimacy ended when Haydn left, towards the end of 1790, on his first
trip to England; in 1791 Mozart perished miserably, and was laid in a
pauper's grave--the man whom Haydn called the greatest composer of the
time was buried by the parish, and in 1792 Haydn returned triumphantly
from England, his brow wreathed with laurel, figuratively, and his
pockets crammed with English notes and gold, literally. There are a few
other odds and ends worth mentioning. His opera, _Orlando Paladino,_
written in 1782, made a great hit, and under its German name of _Ritter
Roland_ was the last of his stage works to ride off the stage. In 1781
the Grand Duke Paul and his wife had heard some of his quartets, and the
Duchess was so pleased with them that she took lessons from the
composer, and made him a present. London, too, had heard of him, and was
thinking of him; and William Forster, the publisher, made arrangements
with him which resulted in the publication in England of eighty-two
symphonies and twenty-four quartets, not to mention other works. In 1785
he produced one of the most beautiful of his works, _The Seven Words_.
This, I must own, I have never heard in its original form. It was
commissioned by some priests of a church at Cadiz: seven slow movements
to be played between meditations to be spoken on the words of Christ on
the Cross. In this shape it became well known, and, later, Haydn himself
conducted it in London as a _Passione Instrumentale_. The theme inspired
him, and it was a further inspiration to add words and arrange the music
for chorus. Nothing he had composed up to this, whether for church or
theatre or concert, matched it for a strange blend of the pathetic and
the sublime. Had he died in 1790 his name might have lived by this work
alone. In a style as different from Bach's and Handel's as their styles
were different from Palestrina's and Byrde's, he proved himself one of
the mighty brotherhood who knew how to write sacred music. It was first
given with the words at Eisenstadt in 1797, and it is noteworthy that
the last time he directed his own music in public, in 1807, it was _The
Seven Words_, and not _The Creation_ nor _The Seasons_, that was

This long chapter of Haydn's life, so uneventful outwardly, was now
about to close. Negotiations had been opened before by Cramer with a
view of inducing him to come to London, but nothing came of them. In
1787 Salomon, an enterprising fiddler, got Bland, a music publisher, to
try what could be done. Bland was unsuccessful, but he got a quartet
from Haydn in this wise. Contrary to his custom of receiving no one
until he was completely dressed, wig and all, in the ceremonious
eighteenth-century fashion, Haydn was trying to shave when Bland was
shown in. He was also, it would seem, using the Rohrau equivalent for
very bad language, for the razor was taking away his serenity of mind
and bits of his skin. "I would give my last quartet for a decent razor!"
he exclaimed wrathfully. Bland ran out and brought back a razor, and it
seemed to be a good one, for history, which never lies, says he got the
quartet. In 1790 Salomon made another attempt, this time in person, and
was repulsed. He had got as far as Cologne on his way back to England,
when he heard news that sent him flying again to Vienna as fast as
wheels and horses' legs could carry him.

The Esterhazy chapter of Haydn's life had closed with something of a
snap. On September 28 Prince Nicolaus died. He had started by being
Haydn's patron and master, but long before the end he had become his
friend. Haydn never dreamed of leaving, never even of going to England
on a short visit, without his permission and full approval. He was put
in his grave, and his magnificence would be all unremembered to-day but
for his connexion with a great composer. Haydn had been in the service
of him and his predecessor, Prince Anton, just on thirty years. Haydn
himself was now close on sixty years old. He might have retired now, as
a good Kapellmeister should, and lived in obscure comfort for the rest
of his days. The next Prince, another Anton, dismissed the band and
singers, but to the annuity of 1,000 florins which Nicolaus had left
Haydn he added 400 florins.

The story of these thirty years is soon told. What a fantastic mode of
life it seems, how farcical, grotesque, in its dull routine, for a
genius who was at work steadily building up new art-forms. Haydn, we are
told, rose every morning at six, carefully shaved and dressed, drank a
cup of black coffee, and worked till noon. Then he ate, and in the
afternoon he worked again, and ate and worked until it was time to go to
bed. He was a little man, very dark of skin, and deeply pock-marked, and
he had a large and ugly nose. His lower jaw and under lip projected, and
he had very kindly eyes. He was far from being vain about his personal
appearance, but he took an immense amount of pains with it, for all
that. Ladies ran much after him, too. But he cannot have spared them
much of his time. All who knew him were agreed about his methodical
habits, and we have only to look at a catalogue of his achievements, and
to consider that on every day of the week he had both rehearsals and
concerts, to realize that his entire time must have been eaten up by the
writing of music and the preparation and direction of musical
performances. Undoubtedly he wearied of it at times, though he said
that on the whole it had been good for him, and that by being so much
thrown upon his own resources he had been forced to become original. As
to this, I beg leave to be sceptical; and at any rate his finest work
was done when he was free of his bondage, and actively engaged in the
busy world. There is a note of regret for the irremediable in that
remark of his. It is as if he had said: "True, it was dull, insufferably
tedious, but, after all, it had its compensations." How his band and
singers tolerated the life I cannot tell. They lived together in a sort
of family, but their café meetings at Esterház were a poor substitute
for the distractions of the capital. One might assume that they took
their holidays in turns--for many had wives and children whom they were
obliged to leave behind--but a well-authenticated story destroys that
fond belief. It is the story of the Farewell Symphony. The artists,
wearying of so long a sojourn so far away from home, asked Haydn to
intercede for them with the Prince. Haydn and his folk were always on
the very best of terms, and he did intercede for them, in his own canny
way. He composed a symphony in which, towards the end, player after
player finishes his part, blows out his candle, packs up his instrument,
and leaves the room, until at last one solitary violin is left
industriously playing on. The Prince took the hint. "Since they are all
gone," he remarked, "we might as well go too." And he gave orders for
the return to Vienna, which he detested.

The eighteenth century lies behind us like a fruitful land, with the
touch of the old-world distinction on it, the old-world aroma clinging
to it. On paper, on canvas, on wooden panels, it is very picturesque in
its queer stately way, if very artificial. The sunlight seems always to
bask on it. It reminds one of a perpetual summer Sunday afternoon in a
small provincial town. But its voice speaks in its music, often bitterly
sad and sweetly regretful, and there is little hint of sunshine or
careless merrymaking there. Bach is steeped in cloister gloom, with
frequent moments of religious ecstasy. Haydn is generally cheerful in a
humdrum sort of way, but when his real feelings begin to speak, not even
Mozart is sadder. They were human beings with greedy, desiring souls in
them, these men and women of the dead eighteenth century, not delicate
painted figures on screens and panels, and none but actors would be
consoled by their undoubted picturesqueness when they are being tortured
or ennuied. They saw their youth slipping away uneventfully, and dark
old age coming steadily upon them. The gay bustle and hurry-skurry of
arriving and departing parties, the great dames and languid gentlemen
lounging on the terraces, the feasts and dignified dances--these are
very pleasant for us to look back on, but what did they seem to the
human beings, the players, actors and singers, who watched the show go
on? The great ones were in their element: at Esterház or elsewhere
_their_ world and mode of life were the same--but the poor artists?...
The single café was a poor compensation for a rollicking life of change.
The exile from Paris--the _avocat_, or _notaire_, or _docteur_ in the
provinces--how he hankers after the electrically lit boulevards, and
wonders whether he dare run up for a day or two, and what will happen,
there and here, if he does. And Haydn--we can fancy him, after brilliant
evenings at Esterház standing, looking Viennawards on still nights, the
starry immensity above him and the quiet black woods and waters around
him--the gay lights of Vienna must have danced before his inner vision,
and his soul must have risen in revolt, full of angry desire to be once
again in the midst of the happy chattering tide of life in the great
town. No other great composer could have stuck to his task as he did.
Mozart would have forgotten his duties; Beethoven would purposely have
neglected them. But Haydn's Prince willed the thing to be done, and
Haydn acquiesced. The patient blood of generations of industrious,
persevering, plodding peasant labourers was in him; and perhaps his
early training under Frankh and Reutter counted for something. He went
on unflinchingly, outwardly calm--calm even in the eyes of languid
eighteenth-century people--inwardly living strenuously as he battled
with and conquered his art-problems.



This must have occurred to every one whilst reading the biographies of
great artists: After all, is it the function of high genius to discover
means of expression only that they may be used afterwards by numberless
mediocrities who have nothing whatever to express? It is gravely set
down about Haydn, for instance, that he "stereotyped" the symphony form,
and "handed it on" to future generations. Now, I have observed that the
men who do this kind of work are always the second-rate men: first come
the inventors, the pioneers, and then the perfecters; it is always at
the close of a school that the tip-top men arise. They claw in their
material from everywhere around, and use it up so thoroughly as to leave
nothing for the later comers to do with it that was not done before, and
done better, done when the stuff was fresh and the impulse full of its
first vigour. Haydn did a lot of spade-work for Mozart and Beethoven,
especially Mozart; but that was early, more than twenty years before
his death, and it is significant that the portion of his life-work which
most influenced and directed Mozart and Beethoven is chiefly second-rate
music. When he was writing the music that forces us to place him near
the noblest composers, he obeyed the invariable rule, and was in turn
being influenced by Mozart. The case is remarkable, but it is only what
anyone with a seeing eye might have predicted, and to us to-day it is
quite plain.

It is the constructive part of his work--the work of his middle
period--we must now briefly examine. In the list of his principal
compositions for the period 1761-1790 are included nearly one hundred
symphonies and other orchestral works, innumerable trios, quartets,
operas, songs, and clavier or piano pieces, one oratorio, _The Seven
Words_, and other sacred pieces. How many of them are heard to-day? How
many could be heard with pleasure? Very, very few. If anyone who
happened to be familiar with the Salomon symphonies--belonging to his
last period, after he had known Mozart--and _The Creation_ heard some of
this older stuff for the first time, he would hardly believe that the
man who in his age wrote so much fresh, vital music, charged with colour
and energy, could in the prime of physical life have written music that
is now so old-fashioned and stale. To this general verdict exceptions
must be made in the cases of some of the quartets, the clavier pieces,
and _The Seven Words_, the last especially being, as I have already
said, in his most splendid manner. Haydn did not stereotype the
symphony, because it never was at any time stereotyped; but he made
endless experiments in the search for a general profound principle which
underlies all music composed since his time. Mozart helped to make his
own meaning clear to him, divined what he was groping after, and himself
seized it and made glorious use of it, and Haydn profited, so that we
have his master-works. But the experiments possess for us little more
than the interest of experiments. Yet they were new and inspiring at the
time. Had he continued to write in the pre-1761 manner, he would never
have by 1790 won his world-wide fame, and made London seek him and so
draw from him his finest work.

After, say, 1785, the old contrapuntal smack has gone out of his
writing, and his form has grown definite. Often, indeed, his outlines
are much too hard, as was natural at a time when he was with all his
might trying to take his principles in a firm grip. If we take a typical
symphony of this time, we find, first the adagio introduction. This
feature, as we all know, was turned to noble use by Beethoven, notably
in the seventh symphony; but it is not an essential. Mozart scarcely
used it, and even with Haydn I fancy the Prince must have liked it, or
we should not find it so often. The allegro is in what the text-books
call the "accepted" form, first and second subjects--often not clearly
differentiated, but more and more so as time passed--"working-out"
section and recapitulation with or without coda. Here we have complete
unity, and as much variety as the composer wanted. With all the richness
and variety, the intellectual structure is so firm and distinctly marked
that the mind grasps the whole thing at once. Then comes the slow
movement, sometimes with two distinct themes, sometimes with only one,
varied at each repetition, and with episodes composed of fresh matter
between the repetitions. The minuet and trio are little, if at all,
different from those of Emanuel Bach. The finale is generally a bit of a
romp; the structural plan is that of the first movement, or a rondo. So
much for the form. As for the music, it is, I say, free from
counterpoint, and is more and more filled with the spirit of folk-song.
The themes sing and the music takes its impulse and motion from them;
the web is no longer made up of contrapuntal workings: counterpoint is
never more than an accompaniment, a helpful device. What Wagner called
the melos, the melody, or melodic outline, that begins at the beginning
and ends only at the end--this is the thing. The influence of the
folk-song is certainly most marked in the slow movements, just as that
of the dance is shown in the finales. Haydn's adagios, at his best,
speak with the deepest yet the simplest feeling. A fairly close analogy
is that of Burns, who, with little natural inspiration, found
inspiration in his native ballads, and often worked up the merest
doggerel into artistic shapes of wondrous poignancy. Haydn's habitual
temper was cheerful, and his music rattles along with a certain gaiety
of gallop very far away from the mechanical grinding or pounding accents
of the contrapuntalists. (I don't mean the great men; I mean the
Wagenseils, Gossecs and the rest, who were trying to do the new thing
without shaking off the old contrapuntal fetters.) But the spirit of his
native songs was continually touching him and informed his melodies with
a degree of emotion that we find in none of the other strivers after
symphonic form.

We are far removed from Haydn now, and if often his second subjects seem
little different from his first, we must remember that when all was
fresh contrasts would be perceived that now have vanished out of the
music. Haydn, neither now nor in his final period, was excessively fond
of violent contrasts. Often the new start in the new key seems to have
afforded a sufficient feeling of variety, and it is worthy of note that
later, when Beethoven used violently contrasting kinds of themes to
express dramatically contrasting feelings, the question of key ceased to
have the same importance. Composers later than Mozart have never
troubled to mark their first key, so that the key of the second subject
might sound like a grateful change and continuation; the stuff of the
themes has been depended on for variety, while for unity the great art
of thematic development has served. So far as Haydn carried this art, we
may note a few of his devices. Double counterpoint, imitation, fugue, or
at least fughetta--these he returned to later. Bits of themes--mere
fragments marking definite rhythms--were used in spinning new melodies,
a rhythm, or perhaps a sufficiently distinctive harmonic progression,
connecting them with what had gone before. This use of a "germ" idea was
chiefly due to Beethoven, who, as in the first movement of the Fifth
Symphony, worked out a gigantic piece of music from four notes. But
Haydn knew well how the value of intervals in a melody might be changed
by the harmony, how a familiar bit of tune, with the simplest harmonies
arranged in a new way, resulted in practically a new melody. This device
he commonly used, sometimes with fine results. The incessant series of
climaxes, leading us on and keeping us in suspense until a certain point
is reached, then releasing the tension for a moment, and preparing to do
the same again--these he employed to an extent, but not as Beethoven
employed them.

All this Mozart perceived, and made instant use of. As for the
mediocrities for whose benefit Haydn is held to have "stereotyped" the
form, what could they learn from him? I will say what they did learn.
They learnt to take themes which did not sound exactly like the
subjects of a fugue; they laid out their first and their second, and
then they did not know what on earth to do, and footled and stumbled
till it was time for the recapitulation; so that Haydn himself said the
worst of the young men was that they could not stick long enough at
anything to work it out, and no sooner began one thing than they wanted
to be off to another. They were even worse off in their slow movements.
Unlike Mozart, they never discovered that the continuous melody, the
melos, was Haydn's grand secret; and if they had discovered it, they had
not the genius and the simple deep sincerity to make use of the
discovery. That natural sincerity of feeling kept Haydn on the right
path through all the weary Esterhazy years, when he was surrounded by
French influences and every influence that made for artificiality and

The clavier music, with the exception of a few bits, is of no great
importance; still, I have played much of it with pleasure in Dr.
Riemann's edition, and found many charming things. His genius, however,
so far as anything less in scale than the symphony was concerned, was
all for the string quartet. Some of his slow movements, in their sudden
moments of unsuspected depths of feeling, prophesy of the coming of the
great human Beethoven rather than the ethereal, divinely beautiful
Mozart. Suavity, smoothness, piquancy, perfect balance between section
and section, and each movement and the other movements--these
characterize all the later quartets. They were intended for chamber use
only--to play them in a large hall is criminal--and it almost goes
without saying that, after the hot stuff of Beethoven and even Schubert,
more than a couple of them in an evening palls on one's palate. Haydn
was in many ways a great, a very great, composer; but no one can live
with his work as one can live with Bach or Beethoven. We are all of the
nineteenth or twentieth century; Haydn was of the eighteenth. Such
contradictions of godlike greatness and mere simple childishness were
surely never met together in one man, and we can worship the greatness
without any compulsion to tolerate the childishness.

For the operas a few words will suffice. In style they are far more
old-fashioned than Mozart's or Gluck's, and he had the dramatic--or,
rather, theatrical--instinct much less strongly developed than either of
these. He wrote strings of songs, duets, etc., for the theatre at
Esterház--many of them for the Marionette Theatre--and was content if
they pleased his patron. One or two were given elsewhere with some
success; but, with regard to _Armide_, he wrote stating his view that
his operatic works should not be given at all save in the conditions for
which they were composed. Those conditions have now for ever passed
away, and excepting as curiosities the operas will never be heard again.



All his magnificence over, Prince Nicolaus was left to sleep tranquilly
in his tomb regardless of the mocking funereal magnificence around him;
Prince Anton succeeded him, and dismissed the band, and pensioned Haydn;
and Haydn, at the age of fifty-eight, was free. Salomon's horses must
have been made to sweat on that rush back from Cologne to Vienna, and he
was rewarded for his own enterprise and their toils. He captured Haydn
easily. Haydn, in fact, having done his day's work manfully, seemed
determined to have a jolly fling in the evening of his life, and, we may
note, he determined to have it at a profit. In the event his little
fling turned out to be, so far as externals went, quite the most
exhilarating part of his life; until now all might seem to have been
mere prelude and preparation. At Eisenstadt, Esterház and Vienna he had
received compliments and presents, and had been regarded as more or less
of a great little man. But in those days he had also been a servant,
compelled when on duty to wear a uniform--he never wore it at other
times, which shows how much be liked it--and to be for ever at the beck
and call of his princely master. Now Jack--or, rather, Joseph--was to be
his own master and the master of others, and to have half an aristocracy
at his beck and call; he was to conquer the heart of yet another woman
in addition to an already long list, the "pretty widow"--but I will not
anticipate the story. He had no longer to write mainly for the ears of a
Prince Nicolaus, but for those of a backward musical public accustomed
to a very different sort of music, Handel's. One is tempted to speculate
as to what might have happened had he been sooner set free. There is
nothing whatever to show that Nicolaus was ever in a hurry to urge him
on to fresh experiments, and in the absence of any evidence it is merely
fair to assume that such a prince in such a court, if he was not,
indeed, everlastingly crying out for "something more like you used to
give us," was at any rate well enough content with the older stuff, and
that in his tastes he lumbered far behind in Haydn's daring steps. In
London Haydn had now every opportunity, even every incentive, to strive,
regardless of consequences, after his own ideal; and what the fruits
were we shall see.

Terms were arranged; Haydn was to compose six symphonies and to
"conduct" (at the pianoforte) six concerts. For this he was to receive
a certain sum, and the proceeds of a benefit concert. A farewell was
said to Prince Anton and many friends, and what proved to be a long,
long farewell to Mozart, and on December 15, 1790, he and Salomon set
out. They travelled to Munich first, then on through Bonn and Brussels
to Calais; they crossed the Channel in safety, and arrived in London on
the first day of the year 1791. There he first of all stayed with Bland
(who had supplied the razor and bagged the quartet four years before) at
45, High Holborn. Then he went to live with Salomon at 18, Great
Pulteney Street. Later on, he went to live in the country, at Lisson
Grove, which is now not even a suburb, and he also paid visits to
various country seats.

He was now nearly sixty; his mental powers were at their fullest vigour,
his physical health was excellent, and he was on a holiday. Because it
is about Haydn, the story of this and his subsequent visit to England
makes delightful reading. If in his long solitude he had drawn all he
could out of himself, now he was to receive impressions and impulses
from the active and social world that had great results. He was lionized
and petted, and enabled easily to make plenty of money; and he remained
the simple, shrewd, unspoiled, industrious Haydn he had been all along.
He met all the distinguished people of the time, and was taken to see
and hear everything. Of course, Dr. Burney was much about. The whole
visit has been written about a hundred times. I must touch quickly on
the significant incidents. On March 11 the first of Salomon's concerts
was given in the Hanover Rooms, and the audience was large, fashionable
and enthusiastic. The band, with Salomon, first violin, leading, was
constituted thus: sixteen violins, four violas, eight 'cellos, four
basses, flutes, oboes, bassoons, trumpets, and drums--forty-one all
told. It was this orchestra Haydn wrote his twelve best symphonies for.
He himself directed at the pianoforte, and contemporaries were not
wanting to say that at times the effect was somewhat disagreeable. The
first "Salomon set" of symphonies were those in C, D, G (_The Surprise_
or _Paukenschlag_), the B flat, C minor, and D. All these save the first
are dated 1791.

The press, such as it was--one wonders who wrote the critiques of those
days--was as enthusiastic as the audiences, so every one was pleased.
One of his principal admirers was the "pretty widow." The incident was
charmingly related by the late Mrs. Craigie in "The Artist's Life"
(Werner Laurie). The lady was a Mrs. Schroeter, a wealthy widow, who
lived in James Street, Buckingham Gate. Haydn gave her lessons, and
appears to have visited her every day; the pair corresponded, and on his
second trip to England he took lodgings in Bury Street, apparently to be
near her. She was turned sixty, but Haydn described her in after-years
as strikingly handsome. Whether she was or not, she evidently conquered
his hot Hungarian heart, for he said that had he been free he certainly
would have married her. What happened before his final return to Vienna
is not known; afterwards there seem to have been no more letters, and
only a chance remark shows that he preserved a tender memory of her.
Thank goodness, they could not marry, so the romance is unspotted.

But Haydn had plenty of matters beside love-making to attend to. One
Gallini got a licence to give entertainments in the King's theatre, and
Haydn was engaged to compose, and did compose, for them. He had also
been paid for an opera, _Orfeo_, and tried to finish it at Lisson Grove,
but nothing ever came of it as the enterprise collapsed. His first
benefit concert brought him £350; at the second, given on May 30, in the
Hanover Square Rooms, he gave the _Seven Words_ in its original form as
a "Passione Instrumentale." Then he turned to a little holiday-making.
He had multitudes of friends--almost chief amongst them being Cramer the
younger--and multitudes of invitations. In July he went to Oxford, and
was given an honorary degree; he directed three orchestral concerts
there--imagine it!--from the organ. One of the symphonies played there
became known as _The Oxford_, though it had been written long before.
Prince Anton had invited him to return, but as Haydn had entered into a
second contract with Salomon he contrived somehow to prolong his stay in
England. The Prince of Wales had just got married, and invited Haydn to
stay with him a few days--presumably to cheer him during the honeymoon.
So they made music together; Haydn even obliged his hostess by singing
with a voice which is said to have been like a crow's. Hoppner painted
the portrait which is now in Hampton Court; it was engraved by Facius in
1807. Later, Haydn went to Cambridge; then came his second series of

Even people who were supposed to be highly civilized showed at that
epoch a considerable degree of their ancestors' love of fighting, both
in London and in continental cities. Duels at the organ or piano, or on
the violin, were commonly arranged between rival virtuosi, and
art-matters were settled by votes, or by the stronger lungs or arms.
Haydn was not to be left in peace. The professional musicians gave some
concerts in opposition to Salomon's, and they imported Haydn's own
pupil, Pleyel, as their champion. But Pleyel, though noted in his day as
a teacher of the violin, and still remembered as the author of
elementary violin duets useful to beginners, was a gentle, kindly soul,
perfectly aware of Haydn's strength and his own weakness. Fight there
was none, for Haydn simply paid no attention: but it is good to know
that the two men remained friends. I do not remember that after this
another attempt was made to turn the concert-hall into a cockpit.

During this second season many of Haydn's works of all descriptions were
produced, and the concerts were as successful as those of the preceding
year. An event, which might have been far-reaching in its effects had it
happened earlier in his life, was his attendance at the Handel
Commemoration in Westminster Abbey. He must have known some of Handel's
oratorios, for Mozart had rescored them for van Swieten's concerts in
Vienna; now he heard for the first time how the giant could indeed smite
like a thunderbolt when he chose. However, during his next stay in
London he had fuller opportunities of listening to Handel, and we will
leave the matter until a few pages later. He attended about this time a
service of charity children in St. Paul's Cathedral, and was strangely
moved by a ridiculous old chant of Peter Jones, the effect being due, of
course, to the fresh children's voices. He remarked on it in his diary,
and wise commentators have pointed out that in writing the chant down he
"beautified" it with passing notes. Of course, all organists of the
period--and until a considerably later period--"beautified" everything
they played in precisely the same fashion, and naturally the children
would follow the organ. There remain to mention now only his friendship
with Bartolozzi the engraver, and Mrs. Hodges, "the loveliest woman I
ever saw" (ah! that inflammable heart), and the friendship with John
Hunter, the surgeon, and his wife. Mrs. Hunter wrote the words for most
of the twelve English canzonets. Mrs. Hodges composed, and some pieces
by her, copied in Haydn's hand, with a note by him, were found amongst
his papers.

He was now a wealthy man. He returned to Vienna by way of Bonn, where
Beethoven submitted a composition to him. As every one knows, Beethoven
soon followed him to Vienna, and took lessons, and complained that Haydn
took no pains with him. Now, Haydn was no pedant; with him the final
court of appeal was the ear. When the theorists said that the celebrated
false relations at the opening of Mozart's C major quartet were wrong,
Haydn was merely impatient; he said that if Mozart wrote them we might
depend upon it Mozart had an excellent reason for doing so. Probably he
did not want Beethoven to waste his time on piffling schoolboy
exercises. Anyhow, Beethoven always spoke of him with respect, and Haydn
said Beethoven's septet was sublime.

His stay in Vienna was not a long one. He again agreed with Salomon to
compose six new symphonies, and come to London to conduct them. On
January 17, 1794, he set out. Prince Anton was unwilling for him to
leave, and died three days afterwards. In many respects this visit was a
duplicate of the first. The symphonies he wrote were the "Military" in
G, and the D minor, both 1794; the E flat, apparently composed in 1793,
and the B flat, E flat, and D minor and major, all 1795. The last, one
of his finest, with certainly his finest introductory adagio, is
probably the last symphony he wrote. It is not only dated 1795, but has
the composer's note that it is the twelfth he wrote in England. As we
shall see, he directed his attention to another style of music on his
return to Vienna. Meantime, in London he was incessantly occupied, was
honoured by royalty and them that were great in the land, he amassed
money, and he saw much of his beloved Mrs. Schroeter. The King and Queen
asked him to spend the summer at Windsor, and to settle in England.
Haydn's reply was that he could not leave his prince. Prince Anton was
dead, but a new Nicolaus reigned in his stead, and Haydn obviously
regarded himself as a kind of family servant whose services pass to the
next heir. It was during this visit that he heard so much of Handel. We
must remember that at this time Handel was the musical god of England.
George III. could barely stand any other music, and the public were
almost, though not quite, of their royal master's way of thinking. Haydn
they admired vastly; but it was found advisable to mix up a good deal of
Handel's music with his on the programmes of the concerts at the King's
theatre. There were also Handel performances at Covent Garden. Such
effects as that of the throbbing mass of vocal tone in the chorus from
_Joshua_, "The people shall tremble," must have overwhelmed him, and the
swift directness and colossal climaxes of the "Hallelujah" from the
_Messiah_ certainly impressed him. However great the revelation of
Handel's supreme might, Haydn never imitated Handel's style or devices
for getting huge effects; the artistic treatment he received in London,
as well as the social treatment, the flattery and petting, left him
Haydn. That he learned much from Handel cannot be doubted, and it must
have been Handel's music that suggested to him the idea of composing
_The Creation_ and so much church music; but Haydn the artist remained
unchanged, like Haydn the man; he learnt and he profited, but he went on
doing things in his own way. Handel was one of the three most potent
influences who made him. The first was Emanuel Bach, who fertilized his
mind, sowed ideas; the second was Mozart, who shaped, coloured and
directed his thoughts; the last, Handel, turned his attention to
oratorio, sacred music and choral writing. Handel modified Haydn less
than the others; Haydn was then getting on towards old age; he was also
by force of sheer instinct above all things a writer for the orchestra;
and Handel's art, derived in the first place from Purcell's, had become
a purely personal one which no one since has copied with the slightest
success. Still it must have been good for Haydn to hear such a rolling
river of tone as the "Amen" of _The Messiah_, the springtide joyfulness
and jubilation of "And the glory of the Lord," the white heat of "And He
shall purify," and "For unto us a Child is born," with its recurring
climaxes of ever-increasing intensity. He frankly imitated none of these
things, but they must, consciously or unconsciously, have heightened the
nobility of the great choral fugues that relieve the triviality of so
much of his church music.

After what we should call the concert season was over, Haydn again went
off on a round of visits. Amongst others, there was one to Bath with Dr.
Burney. When music in London came to life again, both Haydn and Salomon
were much in evidence, but the Salomon concerts were now given under a
more grandiloquent title, following the fashion of the time. They became
the National School of Music, and were given in the King's concert-room
which had recently been added to the King's theatre. Haydn was, as
before, composer and conductor, and one or two of his symphonies figured
in every programme. His last benefit brought him £400. It took place on
May 4, and on June 1 he appeared before an English audience for the last
time. Prince Nicolaus had sent urgently for him, as he desired to have
his household and chapel music set in order. Haydn, of course, had never
left the Esterhazy service. He continued to draw the emoluments of
office, and thought it his duty to obey his Prince's wishes. He never
again drudged as he had done in the old days, but he was always within
call of his master. But those were leisurely days, and it took Haydn two
and a half months to wind up his various affairs and say good-bye to his
friends. On August 15 he set off. He must have carried away pleasant
recollections. He had come to England with Salomon the first time, at
the end of 1790, to have a fling, and by the time the second trip was
over he must have felt that he had had one. It was assuredly a fling
such as few composers have had after a long, industrious and honourable
life's work. Not that his career was by any means finished. He had
nearly fourteen years of life before him, many of them active years. He
had made a fortune--"It is only in England," said he, "that such sums
can be earned by artists"; and now, when he returned to his native land,
he found his countrymen ready to treat him with all the respect, not to
say reverence and hero-worship, he had received in England.

One delightful little incident must be related before closing this
chapter, partly because of the prettiness of it, partly to show the
position he had now won in Austria. Soon after his return to Vienna, a
Count Herrach and some other friends took him to Rohrau, and showed him
there, on the banks of the Leitha, a monument with a bust of him. They
visited his birthplace, and Haydn went down on his knees and kissed the
threshold. Then he showed his companions the stove where, as a baby, he
had sat and pretended to play the violin. "There," he said, "is where my
musical career began." He had had many triumphs, and more were to come,
but none can have been more pleasant to him than this.



Till Haydn came to London, he had nearly always been compelled to
compose for small bands. Count Morzin's, in fact, could scarcely be
called a band. It consisted of a few strings, with a few wind
instruments to increase the volume of the tuttis. The contrast of loud
with soft passages was the most frequently used way of getting change
and variety; though often solos were given to one instrument or another.
Of orchestral colour, of orchestration in the modern sense, there was
little. Haydn himself confessed in his old age that only then, when he
had to leave the world, had he learnt how to use the wind instruments.
But if Mozart's delightful tone-colouring cannot be found in the London
symphonies, there is at any rate much greater fullness and richness than
we find in the earlier ones. Yet here, again, Mozart was ahead of him,
and one reason for this was the very different natures and textures of
the two men's music. Haydn spoke naturally through the string quartet,
and many of the slow movements of his symphonies, beautiful and
profoundly moving though they are, are quartet movements, only requiring
a larger number of instruments because greater fullness and force were
needed to make the music satisfying in a large hall. Mozart's music was
entirely different in texture. One cannot imagine the slow movement of
the G Minor Symphony without wood wind. Haydn knew what his music was,
and what orchestration it wanted, and he never dreamed of
over-orchestrating. What he would have said of such music as that of
Berlioz, where the orchestration is ridiculously out of proportion to
the phrases, where the orchestra makes all the effect, if any at all is
made, I cannot guess. He used extra instruments when he needed them, as,
for example, in the "Military" symphony. The touch of instrumentation in
the andante of the "Surprise" is another instance. The idea of scaring
sleepy old ladies with a sudden bang on the drums--the kettle-drum
bolt--is often mentioned as an example of Haydn's "humour."

When we compare the London symphonies to the earlier ones, we feel at
once a stronger, more vehement spirit driving the music on. They seem
richer in themes than the others, partly because the themes are bigger,
partly because they are more perfectly adapted to monodic, harmonic
treatment, and out of every bar something is made. A theme is pregnant,
of course, according to what a composer sees in it and gets out of it.
Who would know this of old Clementi--

[Illustration: some bars of music]

--if Mozart had not woven the _Zauberflöte_ overture out of it? And who
save Beethoven saw the possibilities of this?--

[Illustration: some bars of music]

But Haydn had to find such themes and see their possibilities before
Mozart or Beethoven, and it was only after Mozart's death he was
completely successful. He still largely depended upon fanfares and
key-relationships in leading from passage to passage, and getting
variety while keeping unity. There is still, compared with Beethoven, a
huge amount of formalistic padding; but so far as he dared and could, he
was loading his rifts with ore. Such a subject as this--

[Illustration: some bars of music]

--is far removed from his earlier folk-song themes, but it is further
still from the old fugal type of subject. It is suited to symphonic
development, and to no other kind.

The theme quoted in my first chapter is one of a singing kind, and, as
if Haydn had planned the whole symphony with a prophetic glance at these
remarks, the subject of the last movement is either a peasant-dance or a
good imitation:

[Illustration: some bars of music]

This movement is rich in invention, even for Haydn at his best; it is
full of jollity far removed from vulgarity; the atmosphere is
continuously fresh, almost fragrant, and there are endless touches of
poetic seriousness. The Adagio is as profound as anything he wrote.
Perhaps, on the whole--and it may be wrong to indicate a choice at
all--the slow movement of the symphony in C is fullest of sustained
loveliness. That phrase beginning

[Illustration: some bars of music]

is, in its sheer beauty, reminiscent of Mozart, though the way the
balance of feeling is recovered at the end is pure Haydn; there is the
deepest human feeling, but perfect sanity is never lost. Towards the end
the development is carried on in quite the Beethoven way, quite a long
passage growing out of the simple phrase:

[Illustration: some bars of music]

Nearly all Haydn's art, and a good deal of the art of Beethoven, may be
found in the B flat symphony. The theme is announced in a minor form,

[Illustration: some bars of music]

--taken up at once in the major, allegro, and wrought into most
beautiful and expressive strains, each one growing out of the last (if I
may once again use Wordsworth's magnificent word) "inevitably"; it could
not be different.

This is a very paltry discussion of a great matter, but no more space
can be given to it here. In spite of all that has been written since
Haydn drew the final double-bar of the D symphony, all the twelve are
yet worth days and nights of study. All that Haydn is not may be freely
granted; but when we learn to know the London symphonies we learn to
realize in some degree what a mighty inventive artist and workman he



During his stay in London, Haydn's good wife had asked him to buy her
that house in the suburbs of Vienna which would come in so conveniently
when he left her a widow. The request was not entirely wasted--that is,
he bought the house, made some additions, and from 1797 lived in it
himself. Here he composed _The Creation, The Seasons,_ and the bulk of
his church music; and here he died.

It is said that the notion of composing the Austrian National Hymn was
suggested to Haydn by the Prussian National Hymn which George I. had
brought to England with him from his beloved Hanover; but however that
may be, and whether the abominable melody known then and now as "God
Save the King" inspired him or not, he determined to write a tune for
his countrymen, and he did. On the Emperor's birthday in 1799 the new
tune was played in every theatre in the Empire. Next to the
_Marseillaise_, it is certainly the finest thing of the sort in

Salomon had wanted Haydn to write an oratorio in London, and handed him
a copy of a libretto of _The Creation_, which one Lidley had compiled
from the Bible and Milton's "Paradise Lost" for Handel. The proposal
came to nothing then, but when Haydn got comfortably settled down in
Vienna van Swieten repeated the suggestion. This van Swieten had been a
parasitic patron of Mozart. He was an enthusiast for the older-fashioned
forms of music, and he had concerts of oratorio in an institution of
which he was librarian. Haydn passed on Lidley's book to him, van
Swieten had it translated and doctored to suit his own taste, and Haydn
set to work. He faced the task with a degree of seriousness and
solemnity which the music would never suggest. In April of 1798 it was
given for the first time, privately, at the Schwartzenburg Palace; in
March of the following year it was given publicly at the National
Theatre. From the beginning it was an electrical success, and was
immediately performed everywhere. Haydn had been guaranteed 500 ducats
for it, but gained very much more. In the end, in the way I have
previously mentioned, it became the property of the Tonkünstler Societät
of Vienna. In England it was for over half a century the "Messiah's" one
great rival. Lately it has dropped out of the repertories of London and
provincial choral societies. Fashions in sacred music, like fashions in
popular preachers, have a trick of changing.

No sooner was _The Creation_ fairly launched on a fairly long career
than van Swieten wanted another oratorio. Somehow--or perhaps
naturally--he associated oratorio with England, and as he could not get
the music from us, he did as badly as he could--he came here for the
poetry. The words of nearly all the oratorios are ridiculous. Those of
_The Creation_ are no worse than the words of many by Handel. Van
Swieten, however, did his honest best to provide Haydn with a downright
silly book for his last work, and it must be admitted that by going to
James Thomson's _Seasons_ he succeeded. Like _The Creation,_ it rapidly
became popular in Germany, Austria, and England. It went out sooner than
_The Creation_, and went out, I suspect, also like _The Creation_, never
to return. It was given in April, 1802, at the Schwartzenburg Palace.

During the period after his return from England--or, more exactly, from
1796 till 1802--Haydn wrote most of his bigger church works. They may be
sufficiently discussed here in a few lines; for, though they are still
much sung in churches where the Pope's edicts are regarded merely as
things to be laughed at, musically they are by no means of the same
importance as his symphonies. Like all the Viennese school of church
composers, Haydn thought nothing of the canons, and, indeed--also like
the others--he seemed generally to think very little of the meaning of
the words. He was serious and sincere enough, no doubt, but the man was
a peasant, and in many respects his mind was a peasant's. He had quite a
plausible excuse or reason to give for the note of jollity which
prevails in his Masses. When he thought of God, he said, his heart was
filled with joy, and that joy found a voice in his music. He spoke in
perfect good faith, but with a little more brains he would have had
other feelings than joy in his heart at the more solemn moments of the
Mass. However, he had not, so he missed giving us music to compare with
the finest parts of his symphonies and quartets. What he did write would
serve well for the Empire Music Hall to-day were it not so entirely
monopolized by churches like the Italian in Hatton Garden, and in its
day it was highly thought of. The fact that the Princes of Esterhazy did
not like to be made to feel uncomfortable in church had perhaps
something to do with Haydn always feeling elated when he was going to
write a mass--use is second nature. Not that there are no fine things in
his sacred music; only they are rare, and the spirit of the whole is
utterly undevotional. After all, being the man he was, having the
mission he had in life to carry out, it may be questioned whether he
could have done anything nobler, in which case it is a pity he touched
church music. However, it is easily forgotten, and will be some day.

Haydn wrote _The Seasons_, as it were, under protest, and he always
declared that it gave him the finishing touch. He composed little more,
but arranged accompaniments for Scotch songs for one Mr. Whyte, of
Edinburgh. His powers failed fast. The last time he conducted in public,
_The Seven Words_--now with the words--was the piece. This was in 1807.
He was now without a rival in Vienna. Gluck had been dead twenty years,
and Mozart had died in 1791; Beethoven was regarded as a great eccentric
genius who would not rightly apply his undoubted talents. The last time
Haydn was seen in public at all was on November 27, 1808. He was far too
weak to dream of conducting. He was carried to the hall, and great
ladies disputed as to who should be allowed to throw their wraps over
him to protect him against the cold. He was taken away after the first
part. He still lingered on a while. Next year--1809--Vienna was
bombarded by the French, who had done the same thing in 1805, and when
the victorious army came in a French officer visited him and sang "In
Native Worth." On May 26 Haydn called in his servants and played the
National Hymn three times; he was then carried to his bed, and on May
29, he died.

He was buried at Hundsthurm Churchyard with military honours, the French
invaders helping, on June 15. Mozart's _Requiem_ was sung later, _in
memoriam_. In 1820 Prince Esterhazy had the remains, or such of them as
had not been stolen, transferred to Eisenstadt.



As small a proportion as possible of my space has been devoted to
technical matters, and I have only used text-book terminology where no
other served to explain what Haydn did in building up the symphony form.
This spade-work of his Esterhazy period was of the greatest importance
to himself, to Mozart and to Beethoven. He is the only composer of the
first rank who did second-rate work of immense and immediate value to
his successors, just as he is the only second-rate writer who ever in
his age rose to be a composer of the first rank. Both as pioneer and
perfecter and as great original composer I have sought roughly to place
him. A few remarks about the man and his habits and characteristics may
be added.

His methodical habits and neatness have already been mentioned. He must
have been a first-rate companion, friend and master. His successive
Princes loved him, his band adored him. He was generous; there is not a
mean action to his discredit. His will was a wonder of good-feeling and
discretion; and when old he was still glad to make money, that he might
leave more to his poor relatives. He seems always to have been in love
with one lady or another, and it was more by luck than anything else
that he got into no serious scrapes. His method of working was as
regular as his other habits. He sat at the piano extemporizing until he
got his themes into some sort of shape, then he sketched them on paper
and went to lunch. Later in the day he worked them out more fully, and
proceeded to make a finished score. His scores are as neat as
Beethoven's are disgracefully untidy. Haydn's way of composing at the
piano--and it was Mozart's way, and Beethoven's, not to mention
Wagner's--has been condemned by many theorists and theoretical writers.
After seeing many of the compositions of these gentry, I wish they
themselves would find and employ any other method than that they adopt
at present. Haydn's cheerfulness has often been commented on, and it
certainly pervades his music. He was also given to joking, but the one
or two jokes which have been pointed out to me in his music would
nowadays be considered in bad taste if people knew what they were meant
for. Music has no sense of humour, and simply won't countenance it.

I suppose nine hundred and ninety-nine listeners in a thousand find
Haydn's music a trifle tame. Now, I myself--in all humility let me say
it--would not stand being bored for ten minutes by any composer, not
though he were ten times as great as the greatest man who has ever
lived. There is not a note of Haydn's I would not wish to hear, but
there is a very great deal I would refuse to listen to twice, and much
that I would only listen to in small bits at a time. Having willingly
conceded this, let me warn anyone who takes up Haydn against expecting
and wasting time in looking for the wrong thing, for qualities that are
not in Haydn, and are not claimed for him. Especially have we to discard
the text-book rubbish about his "service to art," the "tradition he
established," about the "form stereotyped by him." I have just said that
in his Esterhazy time he was of great service to artists, but the music
he then wrote was mainly second-rate, and I am now speaking of his best.
Here his form is clear enough, but one does not listen to music merely
for that. His form, indeed, became formalism and formality. It was
natural to a man who had spent his life in looking for a principle that
he should to a degree mistake the accident for the essence. Those first
and second subjects with the half-closes between--they became as
dreadful in their unfailing regularity as the contrapuntal formalism
they drove out of fashion. In themselves they are a weariness to the
flesh; if there were nothing but them to be found in Haydn, we should
not go to Haydn. But there was a great deal more. There was a poetic
content, a burden, if you like, a message, in his music, and it was
different from anything that had been before or has been since.

There is nothing of the gorgeous architectural splendours of Bach,
nothing of Bach's depth nor high religious ecstasy. His passion, joy and
sorrow are all milder than Beethoven's. He has little of Beethoven's
grandeur nor feeling too deep for tears or words. As for Mozart's beauty
and sadness--that blend of deep pathos with a supernal beauty of
expression that transcends all human understanding--Haydn is only with
the others in having none of it. The spirit of Mozart dwelt in some
ethereal region not visited by any spirit before nor after him. And,
finally, in Haydn there is no touch of the romantic. Romanticism was a
revolt against eighteenth-century pseudo-classicism, and it had its day,
and did its work, and went out. Haydn did not want to revolt against
classicism, nor even pseudo-classicism.

In fact, in music Haydn stands for classicism, and this is no
contradiction of what I have written about his throwing away the
formulas of his predecessors. When we talk of classical music we mean
Haydn's. He created the thing, and it ended with him. He has sanity
lucidity, pointedness, sometimes epigrammatic piquancy, of expression,
dignity without pompousness or grandiloquence, feeling without
hysteria. His variety seems endless, his energy never flags, and often
he has more than a touch of the divine quality. He did not attempt to
compose tragedies of life, for his temperament forbade it; but in his
finest music he is never commonplace, because he had a strongly marked
temperament and was poetically inspired. By dint of a sincerity that was
perfect he made music which, though it is shaped in outline by the
classical spirit, will be for ever interesting. To listen to him
immediately after Tschaikowsky is hard, sometimes impossible, yet to me
it seems anything but impossible that our descendants will be listening
to him when students are turning to the biographical dictionaries to
find out who Tschaikowsky was. A century ago Haydn was as fresh and
novel as Tschaikowsky is now, and as overwhelming a personality in the
world of music as the mighty Wagner. But time equalizes and evens
things, and in another hundred years all that is merely up-to-date in
musical speech and phraseology will have lost its flavour and
seductiveness; but the voice that is sincere, whether the word is spoken
to-day or was spoken a century ago, will sound as clear as ever, and the
one voice shall not be clearer nor more convincing than the other.


125 Symphonies and orchestral pieces.
 31 Concertos.
176 pieces for the baryton.
 77 Quartets.
 14 Masses.
English canzonets.
_The Spirit Song._
Several operas.
_The Creation_.
_The Seasons_.
_The Seven Words_.

A large number of pieces for harpsichord or piano.


POHL: "Joseph Haydn."
POHL: "Haydn and Mozart in London."
MICHAEL KELLY: "Reminiscences."


Bell's Miniature Series of Painters

Each volume 6-1/4 inches, price 1s. net; or in limp leather,
with photogravure frontispiece, 2s. net.



BACH.        By E.H. THORNE.
GRIEG.       By E. MARKHAM LEE, M.A., Mus.D.
               Principal of the Guildhall School of Music.
MOZART.      By EBENEZER PROUT, Professor of
               Music, Dublin University, B.A., Mus.D.
               of the Guildhall School of Music.

Also in the Press.


Others to follow.



"Here is Wagner written upon by one who knows all there is to be known
about his music, and who is particularly sensitive to its beauty and its
strength. Hackneyed as the subject is, the whole point of view is quite
fresh, and there is an astonishing amount of matter compressed into a
very small space. Altogether, the book has a critical value much beyond
what is usually expected in publications of this class."--_Manchester

"Mr. Runciman has not, of course, made any attempt to give an extended
biography of the man, or indeed to analyse his work with any minuteness;
to do that one would require ten times the space which has been allowed
him. But he has given us a rough word-sketch of the man and a more than
adequate account of the musician. There is more thought, more 'body,'
more common-sense in this booklet than in many a large tome that comes
from Germany.... Mr. Runciman is to be congratulated on an excellent
piece of work--an essay that is acute, illuminating, and
tactful."--_Musical Standard_.

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