The Transition Between Classical And Romantic Styles

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Franz Joseph Haydn was a “kind, simple man whose ‘eyes beamed with benevolence’ (Dies), and he never forgot his humble origin.” His string quartet known as “The Lark” embodies the Romantic and Neoclassical styles of its time and is a well-represented example of the Apollonian Order aesthetic. He was an important aspect in the transition between the Classical and Romantic styles as well as an excellent model for the music of his time. Joseph Haydn was born March 31, 1732, in the marshy town of Rohrau, Lower Austria. Born as one of six surviving children of Maria and Mathias Haydn, he began his education in music at a young age and, upon maturity, began his work as a freelance musician. He quickly started to acquire aristocratic patronage, and in 1761 gained a music director (or Kappelmeister) position at the Esterháza Palace in Austria working for Prince Nicolaus I. His composition of the six string quartets comprising Opus 64 was completed in 1790 after nearly thirty years of experiment. Opus 64 was one of two sets of six string quartets commissioned by and written for Johann Tost, “a violinist in Prince Nicolaus Esterhazy’s orchestra.” The quartets were said to be encouraged by the Prince’s housekeeper, Maria Anna von Jerlischek (or Fräulein Nanette as referred to by Haydn in his letters to Maria Anna von Genzinger), who would later become Tost’s wife. The period during which the quartet was written occurred on the cusp of Romanticism, in the midst of the American
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