A Cheerful Heart

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) was probably the most influential musical genius of his time. He befriended the younger Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)—and outlived him. He also tutored Ludwig van Beethoven (1779-1827). He is considered the Father of the Symphony as well as the Father of the String Quartet.

For much of his incredibly productive career, Haydn was the court musician of the Eszterházy family in Hungary. He composed in all 104 symphonies and 68 string quartets. Today, as I drove to do some grocery shopping, I listened to one of his early symphonies on KUSC-FM and thought to myself that here was an artist who could genuinely not only feel joy but convey it to his listeners. But then, it was Haydn who said, “Since God has given me a cheerful heart, He will forgive me for serving Him cheerfully,”

Some day I would love to get CDs of all of his symphonies: In their totality, they represent one of the most concentrated collections of artistic happiness in the history of the world. If you are feeling down some day, try listening to his work; and you will see what I mean.