“I was cut off from the world. There was no one to confuse or torment me, and I was forced to become original.”
An often overlooked genius, he is a towering, dicreet Colossus in terms of genre. How could someone produce oratorios, as The Creation and The Seasons are, with such mastery in spite of not having composed or getting acquainted with a forgotten form in his time?
Much like Mozart, his amount of work is impressive, producing in a limited and fast-paced span, and under much scrutiny, specially in his London voyages, which he managed to conquer and remain an imperious victor. His music is a true witness of the historical and literary culture of the time, seen under the eyes of a stoic and unassuming Werther, in which we could experience the unfolding of musical genesis and new conceptions and horizons of the future, shaped only in the regard of its tomorrow and with Haydn as one of its Grand Architects.
It is a wonderful and famous anecdote I always enjoy remembering, that of Niemetschek, an early biographer of Mozart:
“At a private party a new work of Joseph Haydn was being performed. Besides Mozart there were a number of other musicians present, among them a certain man who was never known to praise anyone but himself. He was standing next to Mozart and found fault with one thing after another. For a while Mozart listened patiently; when he could bear it no longer and the fault-finder once more conceitedly declared: ‘I would not have done that’, Mozart retorted: ‘Neither would I but do you know why? Because neither of us could have thought of anything so appropriate.”
Topfenstrudel, made with cheese (made with cashews and almonds for the occasion) is a popular Austrian dessert, and what I chose to celebrate his birthday. In spite of having lived in London for several years, his preference for coffee remained unchanged.
Young people can learn from my example that something can come from nothing. What I have become is the result of my hard efforts.