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The son of a wheelwright he was trained as a choirboy and taken into the choir at St Stephens Cathedral Vienna where he sang from circa 1740 to circa 1750 He then worked as a freelance musician playing the violin and keyboard instruments accompanying for singing lessons given by the composer Porpora who helped and encouraged him At this time he wrote some sacred works music for theatre comedies and chamber music In circa 1759 he was appointed music director to Count Morzin but he soon moved into service as Vice-Kapellmeister with one of the leading Hungarian families the Esterhzys becoming full Kapellmeister in 1766 He was director of an ensemble of generally some 15-20 musicians with responsibility for the music and the instruments and was required to compose as his employer - from 1762 Prince Nikolaus Esterhzy - might command At first he lived at Eisenstadt circa 30 miles south-east of Vienna by 1767 the familys chief residence and Haydns chief place of work was at the new palace at Eszterhza In his early years Haydn chiefly wrote instrumental music including symphonies and other pieces for the twice-weekly concerts and the princes Tafelmusik and works for the instrument played by the prince the baryton for which he composed circa 125 trios in ten years There were also cantatas and a little church music Around 1766 church music became more central and so after the opening of a new opera house at Eszterhza in 1768 did opera Some of the symphonies from circa 1770 show Haydn expanding his musical horizons from occasional entertainment music towards larger and more original pieces for example nos26 39 49 44 and 52 Also from 1768-72 come three sets of string quartets probably not written for the Esterhzy establishment but for another patron or perhaps for publication op20 clearly shows the beginnings of a more adventurous and integrated quartet style Among the operas from this period are Lo speziale
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