Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart vs. Franz Joseph Haydn
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on January 27th, 1756 in Salzburg, Austria. At an early age, he displayed prodigious musical abilities, and by the age of five he had already begun composing. His father, Leopold Mozart, an accomplished musician himself, managed concert tours for the young Wolfgang and his daughter Maria Anna (nicknamed Nannerl). At the age of 17, he was given a position as a musician in the Salzburg court, but in 1781, he was dismissed while away in Vienna. It was in Vienna that Mozart grew to international acclaim, and he wrote many of his best known symphonies, concertos, and operas. He died at the age of 35 on December 5th, 1791, leaving his famous Requiem unfinished.
With a repertoire of over 600 works in a variety of genres, it is hard to pinpoint some of Mozart’s greatest works. Among them are his operas Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Die Zauberflöte; Symphonies Nos. 40 and 41 (“Jupiter); Serenade No. 13 (Eine kleine Nachtmusik); and Requiem in D minor.
Franz Joseph Haydn , often considered the “Father of the Symphony” and “Father of the String Quartet”, was born on March 31st, 1732 in Rohrau, Austria. His interest in music stems from his father who was a wheelwright by trade and a folk musician for fun. Young Haydn’s growing interest in music was noticed by his parents, who accepted a proposal by Johann Matthias Frankh, the schoolmaster and choirmaster in Hainburg. While being a chorister, Haydn took it upon himself to learn counterpoint, which would result in a flow of compositions that caught the eyes of the public. Later in life Haydn would be appointed Kapellmeister in the court of the Esterházy family. Haydn died on May 31st, 1809, out- living Mozart.
Haydn has left behind a hefty repertoire, with 104 numbered symphonies and a few unnumbered, fifteen operas and three oratorios, 68 numbered string quartets and still many more unnumbered, and many other pieces.
I have chosen to pair these two composers together for several reasons: the size of their output, their nationality, and their opposing childhoods (Mozart being born into his musical career and Haydn working on his own to achieve his career goals). Visit the EnCoda Facebook or Twitter pages to vote for your favorite!