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Biography

Michael Haydn (1737-1806) was an Austrian composer of the classical period.

Haydn was born on 14th September 1737 in the Austrian village of Rohrau near the Hungarian border. Michael Haydn, like his brother Joseph, was a chorister at St Stephen's in Vienna. Shortly after leaving the choir-school, he was appointed Kapellmeister at Großwardein and later, in 1762, at Salzburg. The latter office he held for forty-three years, during which time he wrote over 360 compositions for the church and much instrumental music. He was an intimate friend of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who had a high opinion of his work, and the teacher of Carl Maria von Weber. He died in Salzburg on 10th August 1806.

Haydn's sacred choral works are generally regarded as being his most important; they include the Requiem pro defuncto Archiepiscopo Sigismundo (Requiem for the death of Achbishop Siegmund) in C minor, which greatly influenced the Requiem by Mozart, Missa Hispanica (which he submitted for his diploma at Stockholm), a Mass in D minor, a Lauda Sion, and a set of graduals, forty-two of which are reprinted in Anton Diabelli's Ecciesiaslicon. He was also a prolific composer of secular music, including forty symphonies, a number of concerti, and chamber music including a string quintet in C major which was once thought to have been by his brother Joseph.

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