The blog of late has been focusing more and more on culture, specifically music. That makes sense because I am, after all, a music teacher, and am increasingly moving away from teaching social studies. That’s never been truer than this year, where I am teaching, among other things, a detailed Music Appreciation course covering the major works and stylistic periods of Western music.
This focus is also a result of a desire to move away from the constant flux of politics. More and more, I’m coming to believe that the best way to improve our lot is to focus on creating culture and building our communities. Decentralized, localized bulwarks against progressivism offer one peaceful form in which like-minded conservatives and traditionalists can continue to live freely—at least to some extent—and happily.
So in casting about for a TBT post this week, I stumbled upon this one from 16 December 2019, “A Little Derb’ll Do Ya: Haydn’s ‘Derbyshire Marches.’” My Music Appreciation students and I have been discussing Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, and have listened to a number of their works this week in class.
Joseph Haydn lived a remarkable, long, and successful life. He grew up poor, and his early musical experiences involved hearing and singing the folk tunes of his native Austria. He spent his childhood singing in a church, but was turned out when his voice changed. He then made ends meet teaching music lessons and taking side gigs, slowly teaching himself how to compose.
His fortunes changed at 29 when he joined the Hungarian Esterházy family as their Kappelmeister, writing and composing a mind-boggling amount of pieces (at one point, the family staged two operas a week in their personal theatre in Hungary, all of which required Haydn’s pen and conductor’s baton). But the position—difficult as it was—made Haydn wealthy and secure.
Even in spite of his workload and an unhappy marriage, Haydn maintained a positive attitude, and adopted an optimistic, humorous outlook on life. It shows in his compositions, which are light-hearted, whimsical, joyous—and fun.
With that, here is 2019’s “A Little Derb’ll Do Ya: Haydn’s ‘Derbyshire Marches’“:
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