I've just been arranging a movement from a Haydn Baryton Trio for three guitars (for three pupils - I've published it on my other blog). I had a look on Youtube to see if I could find the movement I'd arranged - but I couldn't. I found another, though, which I hope illustrates why I don't think there are many composers better than Haydn. Not only is there is a wonderful sense of proportion in his music, but there's a good-naturedness to it, which always seems to shine through. Interestingly, people who knew him used to say what a thoroughly nice chap he was.
Getting a bit carried away, I thought I'd search Youtube for one of my favourite bits of Haydn, and I found it. His Symphony No 6, "Morning", begins with what I think is one of the best portrayals of the dawn in music. The sun rises, in a stately fashion, with strings. Then the birds start singing, in the form of the woodwind. No crude imitations of birdsong, just an impression.
The Burlington Chamber Orchestra is directed by Michael Hopkins:
I don't think translations of Sanskrit were around in Haydn's day (the earliest European translations I've heard of were 19th Century) but I like to think he would have approved of this poem. It certainly goes very well with the opening of the Symphony. I read somewhere that it was by the Sanskrit poet, Kalidasa (who I know very little about):
Salutation to the Dawn
Look to this day!
For it is life, the very life of life,
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence
The bliss of growth
The glory of action
The splendor of beauty.
For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision,
But today well lived makes every yesterday
A dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day!
Such is the salutation of the dawn.
And, almost finally, from the sublime to the ridiculous.In case you don't know, the title of the post the first line of a very old musical joke:
Ist person: What are you doing in the piano?
2nd person: I'm hidin'.
1st person: No you're not, Haydn died years ago!
And finally, completely off the subject, (and this shows how long it is since I last blogged) isn't the Poetry Bus Magazine good?