Haydn. A composer who doesn’t let sleep


Haydn. A composer who doesn’t let sleep

The world-famous Austrian composer Franz Joseph Haydn is known as an author of a lot of very beautiful works of classic and as an inventor of several musical genres. His operas even today goes into the list of the most famous works in the world, and his ‘Farewell’ symphony (the performance of ‘Farewell Symphony’ necessarily happens in the candlelight) never fails to leave any lover of classic music indifferent.

Nevertheless, besides all the seriousness of his operas and masses, the composer Hayd is also well-known as a man with good sense of humour, which is tightly connected with resourcefulness and musical genius.

For example, during a tour with a Vienna orchestra in England, Haydn also had to be a conductor of the orchestra. When he was prepared to give the first concert in London, feeling huge responsibility, he was informed that the capital of England, in spite of full halls in the opera theatre, was not famous for its good listeners. And that was because a whole lot of local frequenters came to concerts not to listen to great musical works and enjoy true art but because they wanted to sleep there!

Yes indeed! Anyone who has been at the philharmonic concert at least one time can confirm that armchairs there are soft and comfortable, as thought they were created with one sole purpose – to help a random guest have a good sleep and make him enjoy his dreams.

Franz Joseph Haydn didn’t believe the person who told him that news. He was sure that music performed by his orchestra simple can’t leave any guest indifferent. No sleepy guests! But during the performance (actually halfway through it) he noticed that a great deal of listeners had turned to sleepers, breathing peacefully and heavily in their sleep, sniffing and smacking their lips. As the composer saw those ‘experts of music’ an insidious and cunning plan matured in his head. Several days later the composer gave another concert in London. He announced that he was going to present to his listeners his new symphony. It was in fact some kind of vengeance for the listener’s careless attitude towards music and their sleepiness. Grinning meaningfully and giggling mischievously, Haydn kept looking around the opera hall every now and then. Every time when violins began playing the softest and most gentle melodies and all the Londoners, one by one, unable to resist the temptation, began drifting into sleep, peacefully snoring in their soft comfortable armchairs, kettledrum’s (drums of quite impressive size) beats immediately woke them all up, making them jump in fear in their seats.

The composer didn’t want to give up what he had planned, so the whole symphony consisted of such ‘surprises’. That was why, due to the composer’s cunning idea, nobody could have a good sleep at his concerts. So, if you are ever going to visit a philharmonic concert and have a nap there while listening to divine music, make sure there is no name of ‘Franz Joseph Haydn’ or his symphony ‘Surprise’ on the programme.