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Keeping my promise to both Kenneth Woods and Joseph Haydn: Part Two

By Michael Moriarty
web posted June 18, 2018

Enviably sane, obscenely gifted and infuriatingly self-assured. That, for myself at any rate, describes Franz Joseph Haydn.

Joseph Haydn
Names, so much loftier in Latin!

More than having anything and everything an artist might possibly want, Haydn was publicly recognized in his lifetime as being his era’s indisputably greatest composer.

An admirer of Haydn named Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart?!

Exceptional admiration, however, poured lavishly from the elder prophet toward his young disciple.

Haydn on Mozart:

“If only I could impress Mozart's inimitable works on the soul of every friend of music, and the souls of high personages in particular, as deeply, with the same musical understanding and with the same deep feeling, as I understand and feel them, the nations would vie with each other to possess such a jewel.”

On another occasion, Haydn had this to say about Mozart to Mozart’s father, Leopold:

“Before God and as an honest man I tell you that your son is the greatest composer known to me either in person or by name; he has taste, and, furthermore, the most profound knowledge of composition.”

An often-retold anecdote from an early biographer of Mozart, Franz Niemetschek, is the following:

"At a private party a new work of Joseph Haydn was being performed. Besides Mozart there were a number of other musicians present, among them a certain man who was never known to praise anyone but himself. He was standing next to Mozart and found fault with one thing after another. For a while Mozart listened patiently; when he could bear it no longer and the fault-finder once more conceitedly declared: 'I would not have done that', Mozart retorted: 'Neither would I but do you know why? Because neither of us could have thought of anything so appropriate."

A culminating moment in their mutual admiration for one another, came with Mozart’s dedication of his six string quartets to Haydn:

“A father who had decided to send his sons out into the great world thought it his duty to entrust them to the protection and guidance of a man who was very celebrated at the time, and who happened moreover to be his best friend. In the same way I send my six sons to you [...] Please then, receive them kindly and be to them a father, guide, and friend! [...] I entreat you, however, to be indulgent to those faults which may have escaped a father's partial eye, and in spite of them, to continue your generous friendship towards one who so highly appreciates it.”

Now listening to Haydn’s Symphony No. 93, the first of his “London Symphonies”, Haydn seems to have flown so above the music world that his creations seem to be sitting at the very right hand of God!!!

It must be lavish praise, in light of the relatively dim light Haydn is held in now!

Particularly when compared to the wild super-stardom of Third Millennium Mozart.

The inner vibrancy of Haydn!!!!

An obviously far greater influence upon Beethoven than perhaps even Beethoven would be willing to admit was, at that time, his most wished-for teacher, Joseph Haydn!

The profound clarity and seeming simplicity of Haydn’s musical architecture was clearly the rock upon which Beethoven built his 9 Symphonies.


The ultimate pinnacle and zenith of European Classicism!

Both Mozart and Beethoven had no other, new region to explore, but their own, profoundly romantic souls!

Therefore, the rock upon which I will build my remaining symphonies, No. 6 through only God-knows-where, is Franz Joseph Haydn!

The undeniably rage and anger in my symphonies 2-5?!

C’est Moi!!!!!

Why all the fury?

Music is the only safe place I can place it in!

All the most important seeds of Beethoven and Mozart, however, rest within Haydn!!!

I am more than even “well-aware” of the rejection which many modern composers have adopted before the challenges of the symphonic form!

“It’s all been said!” cry the hopefuls!

“Our era,” they cry, “from the 20th Century on, demands an entirely different format!!”

No it doesn’t!!!!!!!

It demands a proud and profoundly grateful expression of gratitude for the inspiration contained within such a formidable body of work as a number of muses explode within Haydn’s 106 symphonies.

My favorite composers?!

They begin with Bach!


Everything of any musical importance begins with Johann Sebastian Bach!


In chronological order!

Franz Joseph Haydn!



Not Mozart.

The most resentful of Haydn’s most gifted students, pupils and admirers!


And Beethoven owed more to Haydn than Mozart did!

Mozart’s plunge into opera and the profound romanticism within his dramas?!

As for Beethoven?!

For me, Ludwig Van Beethoven is the Napoleonic Haydn!

And it is, in the end, not about war!

It is about “awakeness”!

Beethoven’s symphonies repeatedly demanding that we, the human race, “WAKE-UP!!”

My symphonies 2-5 are my, how shall I say, “wake-up” calls.

As the first movement of Haydn’s “London” Symphony No. 95 begins to thrill me, I come to a close. We’ve, therefore, and much to my delight, a long, long way to go.

Beginning with the London Symphonies and once finished with them, we must return to the very beginning of Haydn’s career.

What a divine thought! ESR

Michael Moriarty is a Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actor who starred in the landmark television series Law and Order from 1990 to 1994. His recent film and TV credits include The Yellow Wallpaper, 12 Hours to Live, Santa Baby and Deadly Skies. Contact Michael at rainbowfamily2008@yahoo.com. He can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/@MGMoriarty.




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