F.J. Haydn – Fantasia in C played by Malcom Bilson (fortepiano)

F.J. Haydn (1732-1809)

Franz Joseph Haydn was an Austrian composer. He worked for about thirty years for the Esterhazy family (a family of nobility). Haydn composed about 50 piano sonatas, sacred vocal music, oratorios, dramatic music, about 80 string quartets, and 104 symphonies. He is known as the father of the string quartet and the symphony. Today Haydn is known by the general public for a few of his symphonies, his two oratorios, The Creation and The Seasons, some of his piano music, and a few of his string quartets.

Malcolm Bilson (1935-)

Malcolm Bilson is an American pianist and musicologist. He specializes in 18th and 19th century music. Malcolm Bilson is a professor of music at Cornell University. He has made many recordings on fortepianos (the ancestor of the modern piano) and given insightful lectures
on the use of period instruments versus modern instruments and the importance of performance practice.

Here is Malcolm Bilson performing Haydn’s Fantasia in C at the Esterhazy castle in Fertod, Hungary on a fortepiano. This performance is from a DVD entitled “Knowing the Score.”

Horowitz plays Joseph Haydn Sonata in F major Hob. XVI 23

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) was an Austrian composer.  He has often been referred to as the the “Father of the Symphony” and the “Father of the String Quartet.”  Haydn wrote about 104 symphonies and 80 string quartets.  He also wrote music for the church, large scale works for orchestra, soloists, and choruses (such as masses and oratorios), and around 50 piano sonatas.  It has been said that when he had an idea for a composition (whatever the instrumentation) he would sit down at the keyboard and improvise and work out musical ideas.

For over 30 years Haydn worked for the Esterhazy family.  In 1790, Prince Nicolaus Esterhazy died.  Haydn was invited to go to London, England by the impresario J.P. Salomon.  It was only once he was out of the Esterhazy court and in London that Haydn received his first real recognition, and gratitude from people for all the fruits of his labour.

Works by Joseph Haydn and his brother Michael Haydn (also a composer) have been unjustly neglected and overshadowed by other composers such as W.A. Mozart.

Some of the music by Joseph Haydn and Michael Haydn is very interesting and in some ways better than some of W.A. Mozart’s music.

Here is a recording of two movements of a Haydn Piano Sonata played by the famous Russian pianist Vladimir Horowitz live in Carnegie Hall in 1966.

Horowitz plays Haydn (1):

Horowitz plays Haydn (2):