Joseph Haydn (1732–1809)

How to say the name:

‘Haydn’ is said like High-din. ‘Joseph’ is easy to say.

Hadyn’s grave in Eisenstadt


31st March 1732 in Rohrau, Austria.


31st May 1809 in Vienna, Austria.


Bergkirche in Eisenstadt, Burgenland, Austria.

Type of Music:

Classical music from the classical period.

Some famous pieces:
  • The ‘Surprise’ Symphony (actually the second movement of this symphony). (See below for a video.)
  • ‘The heavens are telling the glory of God’ (from Die Schöpfung or ‘The Creation’).
Some great pieces:
  • Many symphonies, especially the ‘Surprise’ Symphony (No. 94), ‘London’ Symphony (No. 104), ‘Military’ Symphony (No. 100) and the ‘Clock’ Symphony (No. 101).
  • Many string quartets.
  • Die Schöpfung (The Creation).
  • Die Jahreszeiten (The Seasons).
  • Nelson Mass (or Missa in Angustiis—‘Mass for troubled times’).
  • The Seven Last Words of Christ.
Some interesting facts:
  • He was one of the greatest composers of the classical period.
  • He is often known as the ‘father of the symphony’.
  • He is sometimes known by the nickname ‘Papa’ Hadyn.
  • Unlike Mozart, he became very rich from composing music.
  • He taught Beethoven for a short while.
  • He often thought his operas were some of his best music, but nobody thinks that now.
  • He liked making practical jokes!
  • The ‘surprise’ in the ‘Surprise’ Symphony was the biggest musical joke of its time! The joke is simply a loud note when the audience is expecting a quiet one. This joke doesn’t seem much of a joke at all today. (See below for a video.)
  • He was quite ugly, so he could never understand why so many pretty women liked him!
  • His younger brother, Michael Haydn (1737–1806), is also a well-known composer.
  • He has been re-buried many times—the latest in 1954!

Here is a video of part of Haydn’s ‘Surprise’ Symphony. Can you spot the surprise?

The &#8216surprise’ in the Haydn’s ‘Surprise’ Symphony

(If you didn’t spot the surprise, it’s 42 seconds into the video.)

Here is a video of part of Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto.

First movement of Hadyn’s Trumpet Concerto

Picture credits:
  1. Joseph Haydn. This is a painting by Thomas Hardy. The image is in the public domain. Click here for the source of this image, along with the relevant copyright information.
  2. Haydn’s grave in Eisenstadt. This photograph was taken by Jerzy F. Gierula. I have obtained permission from him to use the image here. Click here for the source of this image.
Video credits:
  1. Haydn Surprise Symphony Movement 2. Franz Joseph Haydn, Surprise Symphony, Movement 2, The Baroque Orchestra of New Jersery, Robert W. Butts, Conductor, 2009 Summer Festival of Baroque Music, August 16, 2009, College of St Elizabeth, Brian Foran, Producer.
  2. Jeroen Berwaerts plays Haydn (excellent video quality). Jeroen Berwaerts plays Joseph Haydns trumpet concert. The Symphonic Orchestra of Flanders and trumpet soloist Jeroen Berwaerts made music perfectly together. There is more information about this one on the video’s YouTube page. There is more about Jeroen Berwaerts at: