Haydn: Emperor Quartet

Lesson Time Required: 50 minutes

Grade Level & Conceptual Focus: Grade 8, Social Issues

Key Inquiry Question: How did Franz Joseph Haydn contribute to the Classical Era and how did his travels inspire him to compose a moving national anthem to honor his native country of Austria?  

Required Resources & Materials: Variety of instruments found in the music classroom. 12 copies of the prepared Reader’s Theatre, 12 students to volunteer to read/ act the script. Attached PDF copy of Emperor’s Quartet (lyrics included). A printed table (below) for each student, for end of class assessment

Positive Personal skillsNegative Personal Skills

Computer with access to YouTube and audio so the students can listen to String Quartet in C Major, op. 76, no. 3 (“Emperor Quartet”).

Photo of Esterhazy Palace (Austria)

Arts Education Goals Addressed: (Cultural/Historical, Critical/Responsive, Creative/Productive) All 3.

Arts Education Strands Addressed: Music, drama, visual art, and literature.

Connections to Other Subject Areas:

CG8.2 Analyze abilities for responding positively to change in one’s life.

d. Document and appraise one’s own dependability and honesty towards others.

CC8.1 Examine how a disposition for lifelong learning connects to potential career pathways.

c. Compare how positive and negative personal skills and attitudes influence life and work-related success d. Explore and clarify understandings about the relationship between personal knowledge and skills and life and work choices

Proposed Learning Outcomes & Indicators: 

CP8.7 Improvise, compose, and perform (e.g., with voice, instruments, and technologies) a selection of pieces in contrasting styles.

a. Examine and apply the technique of vocal improvisation in song and speech.

h. Prepare, rehearse, present, and evaluate individual and group performances of contrasting styles of music.

Planned Learning Activities: To introduce and learn about Franz Joseph Haydn, have 12 volunteers read/ act out the Reader’s Theatre (I wrote). Have students listen to YouTube Franz Joseph Haydn’s String Quartet in C Major, op. 76, no. 3 (“Emperor Quartet”). Re explain the reason Haydn composed this piece of music (as found in the green highlighted section of Reader’s Theatre). Allow students to explore the various movements and variations of The Emperor Quartet using the classroom instruments. Teach the students the beat/ structure of The Emperor Quartet and have them repeat using their selected instrument (this is a very easy/ basic 2/2 time). Allow time for students to “perform” if they’d like to, in front of the class. Teach the students the words in the first line of The Emperor Quartet in English. If available and I can find someone in the school community that knows German, introduce The Emperor Quartet in German and learn the first line in German. 

Mother HaydnHELLO! I am a cook, my husband is a wheelwright (a person that fixes wooden wheels) and we have 3 sons, Michael, Johann, and Franz Joseph, all who became musicians. We live in Rohrau, Austria.
Franz JosephI was born in 1732 and I am a self-taught musician.
Nicolo PorporaI am an Italian singer and composer and Franz Joseph considers me to have been his only teacher.
Franz JosephI was educated at St. Stephen’s Cathedral where I was a choirboy until my voice changed, causing my dismissal. 
Count Ferdinand von Morzin  I hired Franz Joseph for his first full time position as Kapellmeister. His responsibilities included conducting, composing, and performing.
Maria Anna KellerI married Franz Joseph in 1760 and one year later my husband began his long and successful career with the wealthy & influential Esterhazy family. 
Prince Nikolai EsterhazyFranz Joseph became Kapellmeister and moved to my family’s magnificent palace (show picture of palace), in 1766.
Maria Anna KellerMy husband worked hard training instrumentalists, conducting, composing, and performing chamber music. He provided all the music for the court opera house, theatre, and chapel.
Prince Nikolai EsterhazyFranz Joseph’s contract stipulated strict rules that included a dress code (looked like the Pope’s Swiss Guard), his manners, and habits.
Franz JosephDespite my many restrictions at the Esterhazy’s, I was given much creative freedom to discover my artistic voice. I enjoyed exploring symphony, opera, and string quartet.
NarratorFranz Joseph’s reputation gradually grew outside of the Esterhazy House.
MozartEven though I was over two decades younger than Franz Joseph, we developed a friendship and we respected and admired each other. We dedicated string quartets to one another.
Prince AntonI am the new Prince, succeeding Prince Nikolai. I do not love music as much as Nikolai therefore I relieved Franz Joseph from all his duties but I did pay him a pension. However, he was still required to compose for the annual mass.
Franz JosephAfter being relieved of my duties at the Esterhazy House, I moved back to Vienna (276 KM), in the year 1790. I was 58 years old now. I had an opportunity to travel to London where I met Johann Peter Salomon. 
Johann Peter SalomonI captured Franz Joseph’s attention as a concert promoter and he carried out a series of concerts, finding great success. He “electrified” his audiences.
Franz JosephDespite my many restrictions, I was given much creative freedom to discover my artistic voice. I enjoyed exploring symphony, opera, and string quartet.
NarratorFranz Joseph received an honorary doctorate from Oxford University.
BeethovenI was privileged to meet Franz Joseph in 1792 in Vienna where he briefly taught me.
Franz JosephIn 1794, I took a second trip back to London where I found a lot of financial success with my last six symphonies. I was deeply moved by the English anthem “God Save the King” and was inspired to write a moving anthem for my native Austria to honour its emperor, Francis II.
NarratorIn 1795 Franz Joseph permanently moved back to Vienna and wrote oratorios, six masses for Prince Nicholas II (Anton’s successor, the Prince who didn’t care for music), and more string quartets.
Franz JosephThe year 1802 I retired due to my failing health but I made one last appearance in my 1808 performance of The Creation.
NarratorFranz Joseph died May 31, 1809.

Follow up discussion questions:

  • Did Haydn have the “easy Street” life? Did he experience change and difficulty?
    • How can we be honest with ourselves and others when difficulties arise?
    • How did Haydn show he was dependable and honest?
  • Was Haydn a lifelong learner? Are you? How do positive/ negative attitudes influence our lives and work success? How was Haydn affected? (even though he was let go from the Esterhazy House, he found success performing concerts in Vienna.
  • Plans for Assessment: Using the image of the Esterhazy House, ask students to explain the significance in relation to one of the chapter’s key points.

Possibilities include:

  • Haydn was employed by the wealthy and influential Esterhazy family most of his career.
  • Haydn lived at the Esterhazy palace while training instrumentalists, conducting, composing, and performing
  • He provided all the music for the opera house, theatre, and chapel
  • Was told what he could wear
  • Had a lot of restrictions imposed upon him by the Esterhazy’s
  • Knew and respected Mozart
  • New prince fired Haydn when he was in his 50’s- new prince didn’t like music
  • Haydn moved back to Vienna (from Austria) but this gave Haydn a new opportunity b/c he met Salomon who promoted concerts. Haydn found success.

Hand out chart for students to fill in regarding their attitude because attitude affects our lives and work success.

My Positive Personal skillsMy Negative Personal Skills

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