Notes from composer Michael Haydn

Composing pairs of brothers are rare in the history of music. The fact that Michael Haydn (1737-1806) today stands so much in the shadow of his brother Joseph Haydn, who was five years older than him, is not due to the - supposedly - lower quality of his music, but simply to the confusion of names.

Michael Haydn spent almost his entire professional life in the service of the Archbishop of Salzburg and did not go on trips through which his name could have become known throughout Europe - as his brother Joseph or his Austrian colleague Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart did.

Today Michael Haydn is known above all for his church music. His German High Mass Hier liegt vor deiner Majestät is one of the few mass hymns of classical music in vernacular language besides the German Mass by Franz Schubert.

With his works for vocal quartet, Michael Haydn is regarded as a pioneer of the male voice choir. His composition students included Carl Maria von Weber and Anton Diabelli.

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