Franz Joseph Haydn, the ‘father of the symphony’ and creator of the modern string quartet, spent most of his prolific creative life in isolation, away from the glamour of Vienna.
However, far from becoming simply another anonymous court composer stuck in provincial obscurity, Haydn established an international reputation for his symphonies, the sheer size alone of his output intimidating subsequent generations. He wrote 107 symphonies in total, as well as 83 string quartets, 45 piano trios, 62 piano sonatas, 14 masses and 26 operas, amongst countless other scores. In deed, the fact that he avoided the bright lights of Vienna was, the composer himself suggested, the secret of his success: “I was cut off from the world. There was no one near to torment me or make me doubt myself, and so I had to become original.”