Joseph Haydn: String Quartet Op 77 No 2
I heard a live performance of this quartet today, 6/29/2009, at Stanford University, as performed by the St. Lawrence Quartet. I came to the awareness again of the huge and profound impact that Joseph Haydn had on so much of the music from the so-called “Classical” period.
Haydn was born on March 31, 1732 in Austria. He is often called the “Father of the Symphony” and “Father of the String Quartet” because of his major contributions to these forms of compositions.
Haydn spent much of his career as a court musician for the wealthy Hungarian aristocratic Esterházy family on their estate, composing and performing music for the family’s enjoyment. (There were no TV’s at that time J)
Haydn had a robust sense of humor, which is often apparent in his music. Yet, there is much of Haydn that is also serious, religious, and profound.
The Quartet Op 77 Number 2 is the last quartet that Haydn wrote. It is a beautiful, upbeat, often dance-like and joyful work. The work is composed in 4 movements. In my view, this is music at its best, and Haydn exhibits the full range of the sheer joy and craft of music-making.
In Haydn’s days, more than 200 years ago, people often died in their 30’s, as was the case with Mozart, Schubert, and Mendelssohn. Yet Haydn lived to the ripe old age of 77, when he died at the end of May in 1809. Enjoy!