The Story of Haydn
Joseph Haydn—a boy willing to skip recess to hear his teacher play violin—leaves home at age six to pursue proper music training. He travels to Vienna at age eight to be educated in the cathedral’s choir. While training there, Joseph indulges in his other great love: pranks. At thirteen he is an irrepressible ringleader, and the Empress Maria Theresa herself has Joseph caned for leading the choir boys on a dangerous excursion up tall scaffolding. This same sense of fun inspires him as an adult to write The Toy Symphony, which includes a whistle and a rattle alongside two beautifully melodious violins. His humor and warmth endears him to others and they christen him “Papa Haydn,” even as his music gains great honors among the European courts. When Haydn encounters the empress again and reminds her of their first meeting, she observes how the punishment has done him good, enabling him to climb higher than the highest scaffolding.
This lively biography reveals the inspiration behind several of Haydn’s many symphonies, string quartets, and musical dramatic works, inciting the reader to dive into and explore the music of “Papa Haydn.”