The Papa’s Piano

Franz Joseph Haydn, the great Austrian Classical Era composer, is known as Papa Haydn because he is considered the father of the classical symphony. Haydn composed 104 classical symphonies. A characteristic of a Haydn symphony is its bright, happy, playful nature. Audiences of the time loved their Papa Haydn because of the good feeling when listening to a Haydn symphony. There were so many times in a Haydn symphony where he would put in a surprising moment [for example a forzando, out of the blue, in the middle of a soft passage] that the audience looked forward to them in anticipation. In fact, that anticipation at one of the premiers of Haydn’s Symphony #96 in D Major, which was conducted by the maestro himself, literally saved lives. What happened at the premiere is, audience members in the back seats moved closer to the stage to get a better view of their beloved “Papa”. Legend has it [and this is believed by music historians to be true] that a few minutes after the audience members from the back seats moved closer, a giant chandelier crashed down among the recently vacated seats; thus Haydn’s Symphony #96 has been given the title, the “Miracle Symphony”.

Franz Joseph “Papa” Haydn [March 31, 1732 – May 31, 1809]

It wasn’t just symphonies that Haydn wrote. Papa Haydn wrote many chamber music pieces [like string quartets] and also, many great works for the piano. One of my favorite Haydn pieces for the piano was his Piano Concerto in D Major. I love this concerto. This D Major concerto is just like a typical Haydn symphony with its light, playful nature. Haydn uses the D Major key to bring out a bright and happy feeling when listening to this concerto.

Haydn scored this D Major Concerto with the typical three movements: The first movement, Vivace, has a very happy, bright quality;  The second movement, Poco Adagio, is a pleasant slow movement that switches to the A Major key. The second movement is unusual as it also contains a cadenza; The third movement, Rondo all’Ungarese-Allegro assai, returns to the home key of D Major and this is a very fun “Haydn” playful movement.

So, please turn up the volume and enjoy one of Papa’s piano pieces. His Piano Concerto #1 in D Major:

I hope you enjoyed this Piano Concerto by Franz Joseph Haydn!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s