Haydn’s Creative Quartets

Composer Joseph Haydn wrote a whole lot of music. More than 100 symphonies, religious works, concerti for solo instruments, and also a large quantity of chamber music.

While many of Haydn’s symphonies might well begin by a slow introduction, followed by a brightly paced Allegro and then a slow movement and a closing Presto, his chamber music can show us amazing inventiveness and creativity.


Haydn’s set of six quartets under Opus 76 show us much of this inventive genius. The quartet Op. 76 number 1 begins with three chords played in unison by all four of the players. At that point, however, he shows us some new things:

The Cello begins by stating the theme for the first movement. Right after that, the viola states the same thing on its own. Then the second violin says “I can do it, too”, and finally the first violin echoes the original theme, as well. Haydn then developed the quartet in his amazingly interesting ways.

Here is the opening movement of Haydn’s Quartet Op. 76, number 1:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *