The Beethoven, Haydn and Mozart Connection

Three Great Masters of the Classical Period

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed the Haffner Symphony during the summer of 1782. Found in the collection of Moscow's Russian State Library, this picture shows a House Concert at the Mozart family home in Vienna (19th century).
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed the Haffner Symphony during the summer of 1782. Found in the collection of Moscow's Russian State Library, this picture shows a House Concert at the Mozart family home in Vienna (19th century). Photo by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images

When we speak of the Classical period in music, the names of these three composers always come to mind - Beethoven, Haydn and Mozart. Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany; Haydn was born in Rohrau, Austria and Mozart in Salzburg, Austria. However, the paths of these three great masters somehow crossed when they traveled to Vienna. It is believed that in his teens Beethoven went to Vienna to perform for Mozart and that later on he studied with Haydn.

Mozart and Haydn were also good friends. In fact, at Haydn's funeral, Mozart’s Requiem was performed. Let's learn more about these composers:

Ludwig van Beethoven - He began his career by playing at parties attended by wealthy people. As his popularity grew, so was the opportunity to travel to various European cities and perform. Beethoven's fame grew by the 1800s.

Franz Joseph Haydn - He had a beautiful voice when he was young and he showcased his talent by singing in church choirs. Eventually, as he hit puberty his voice changed and he became a freelance musician.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - He worked as Kapellmeister for the archbishop of Salzburg. In 1781, he requested release from his duties and started working freelance.

Beethoven suffered from abdominal pains and became deaf when he was in his late 20s (some say in his 30s). Haydn spent nearly 30 years working for the wealthy Esterhazy family as Kapellmeister where he was expected to follow a strict protocol.

Mozart was highly successful as a child but died in debt. In reading about the lives of these master composers, we come to appreciate them more, not only as composers but as individuals who were able to rise above whatever limitations or hindrances they faced during their time.