Jewels in Her Crown: Treasures of Columbia University Libraries Special Collections

Exhibition Themes > Music > 229. Joseph Haydn

229.  Joseph Haydn (1732-1809).  [Gebote Gottes den Herm] Die X Gebothe Gottes, in Musik gesetzt als Canons von Joseph Hayden (Eigenthum der herausgeber) [The Ten Commandments]. Vienna: Artaria & Comp. [1810?] Gabe M. Wiener Music & Arts Library

Joseph Haydn was born in 1832 the son of a wheelwright. Throughout his career he composed for his patron, Prince Nikolaus Esterhazy. During this period, Haydn was the director of an ensemble of about twenty musicians, with responsibility for the music and the instruments. Even if his music was not as emotionally intense and radical as that of Beethoven (who was his pupil at one point), or as profound and probing as Mozart's (who was his good friend), Haydn's music shows a very solid structure that was an important part of the Classical Era.

In Haydn's sacred vocal music the aesthetics of through-composition is a matter not only of cyclic integration, but of doctrine and devotion. Many of these works are organized around the conceptual image of salvation, at once personal and communal, achieved at or near the end: a musical realization of the desire for a state of grace. At the time of his death, Haydn was mourned as one of the musical giants of his time. His long career enabled him to produce a vast quantity of works that defined the Viennese Classical style.

Gift of John and Johanna Bass, 1962

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