Where Did ‘Papa’ Haydn Get His Nickname?
Joseph Haydn – often called the father of the symphony and the string quartet, teacher to many and all around good-natured man. To this day, he still wears the nickname “Papa Haydn” – but where did it come from?
Haydn earned the name “Papa” in many ways. He cared deeply for his students and musicians in orchestras. He was a patient, gentle, and good-humored teacher. He was also a prolific composer and earned a reputation as the finest of his time – recognition that has lived on to this day. He also contributed so much to the mediums of the string quartet (he wrote 68!) and the symphony (106!), he is often called the “father” of both genres.
One of his best loved symphonies, “Farewell,” is a great example of both his humor and his caring nature. After a season that had gone on too long, Haydn decided to send a goofy reminder to his patron, Prince Esterhazy, that it was high time the musicians be released and allowed to return home. The last movement slowly decreased in the amount of players, and the musicians actually left the stage during the performance. Luckily, the message was received and the musicians were released for the season.
Unlike his contemporaries, Britten did not devote much of his time to writing symphonies. It’s no wonder that when he *did* sit down to write his Spring Symphony, it resulted in a grand journey in 4 parts and 12 movements, harnessing the power of mixed chorus, boys’ choir, soprano, alto and tenor soloists and a massive orchestra including harp, tambourine and cow horn. Britten’s Spring Symphony takes us through the changing of the seasons and the power of that transition – both as a time of the year and a stage of life. Continue Reading Spring Music Moment: Britten’s Spring Symphony
Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel got a much needed breath of fresh air and a boost of musical inspiration from a year-long Italian trip in 1840.
Mendelssohn-Hensel, her husband and their young son spent the entire year away from their home of Berlin and vacationing throughout Italy – stopping in Rome and Venice to take in the vast musical inspiration. Continue Reading Spring Music Moment: Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel
The chamber music impresaria Toby Saks became a legend in the music life of the Pacific Northwest. She began her career in New York: she earned awards as a teenage cellist; she played in the New York Philharmonic in her 20s. She moved out west to join the faculty of the University of Washington School of Music, and soon gathered a group of classical music supporters to launch the Seattle Chamber Music Festival. Continue Reading Women’s History Music Moment: Toby Saks