Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Haydn Seek: Surprises, Jokes, Pranks, a Pun, and a Poem!

Greetings, scholars!

Happy Birthday to Franz Joseph Haydn, the Classical composer, born on March 31, 1732! Haydn was born in Austria. (Be the first to find it on our class globe this week!) Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven spent much time composing and performing in the beautiful city of Vienna, Austria and are thus known as Viennese Classical composers. Haydn was a choirboy and he taught himself music theory!

Haydn playing string quartets

Haydn's nickname was "Papa" because he was good-natured and kind to everyone. Also, although he did not have any children, he is considered the father of the symphony and the string quartet. Papa Haydn's symphonies (106 in all) were often given nicknames, as well. Listen to the second movement of Symphony #101 in D Major and see if you can guess why it is nicknamed the "Clock."

I hope you enjoyed a happy April Fool's Day! Scherzo is a musical term that means joke. Papa Haydn loved to include jokes in his music. His Symphony #94 (nicknamed the "Surprise Symphony") is bound to make you giggle. Brace yourself for the fortissimo
(very loud) chord during the pianissimo (very soft) section of the 2nd movement. Perhaps Haydn was trying to put you to sleep, only to wake you up again?

My favorite musical prank is from Haydn's "Farewell Symphony" (#41). Haydn added a 5th movement in order to convince the Duke of Esterhazy that his exhausted musicians needed a break and the chance to be with their own families for a time. Enjoy the graceful, gentle Finale and watch for the musicians and conductor to slyly and gradually leave the stage until only the first two desks of violins are left. Below, the violinists turn off their stand lights; In Haydn's day, they would have blown out their stand candles!

Alas, the Duke allowed the musicians a well-deserved vacation. Extra credit for knowing which instrument the Duke played. His first name was Nikolaus I.

Princess Henriette (daughter of Louis XV) playing the Viola da Gamba, by Nattier c.1754

Homework: Draw a self-portraiture, including your finest 18th century attire, playing an instrument from that period. We will hang your portraits in the lobby.

Haydn Seek
My poem for you is no joke;
Toward you, little fun would I poke.
Always remember,
Whether June or December:
Meeting and greeting
Trump tweeting.
Haydn and Mozart? They met!
Mozart and Beethoven? You bet!
Haydn and Beethoven? Teacher's pet!
Each of these pairs 
Of Viennese Classicists
Enjoyed a tete-a-tete!
~Mrs. Dike