Johann Michael Haydn (14 September 1737 ? 10 August 1806) was an Austrian composer of the classical period, the younger brother of Joseph Haydn.
Johann Michael Haydn was born in 1737 in the Austrian village of Rohrau, Austria near the Hungarian border. His father was Mathias Haydn, a wheelwright who also served as "Marktrichter", an office akin to village mayor. Haydn's mother Maria, née Koller, had previously worked as a cook in the palace of Count Harrach, the presiding aristocrat of Rohrau. Mathias was an enthusiastic folk musician, who during the journeyman period of his career had taught himself to play the harp, and he also made sure that his children learned to sing; for details see Mathias Haydn.
Michael's early professional career path was paved by his older brother Joseph, whose skillful singing had landed him a position as a boy soprano in the St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna where he worked as a chorister, under the direction of Georg Reutter. Other singers in that choir included Johann Georg Albrechtsberger and Franz Joseph Aumann, both composers with whom Haydn later traded manuscripts. The early 19th century author Albert Christoph Dies, reporting from Joseph's late-life reminiscences, says the following:
'Reutter was so captivated by [Joseph]'s talents that he declared to the father that even if he had twelve sons, he would take care of them all. The father saw himself freed of a great burden by this offer, consented to it, and some five years after dedicated Joseph's brother Michael and still later Johann to the musical muse. Both were taken on as choirboys, and, to Joseph's unending joy, both brothers were turned over to him to be trained.'
The same source indicates that Michael was a brighter student than Joseph, and that (particularly when Joseph had grown enough to have trouble keeping his soprano voice), it was Michael's singing that was the more admired.
Shortly after he left the choir-school, Michael was appointed Kapellmeister at Nagyvárad (Großwardein, Oradea) and later, in 1762, at Salzburg. The latter office he held for forty-three years, during which time he wrote over 360 compositions for the church and much instrumental music.
On 17 August 1768 Haydn married the singer Maria Magdalena Lipp (1745?1827); they had a daughter, Aloisia Josefa in January 1770, but she died only a few days before her first birthday. Lipp was disliked by the women in Mozart's family. Still, Lipp had created the role of Barmherzigkeit (Divine Mercy) in Mozart's first musical play Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots (1767), and later the role of Tamiri in Il re pastore (1775). Leopold Mozart criticized Haydn's alcoholism.
He was acquainted with Mozart, who had a high opinion of his work, and was the teacher of both Carl Maria von Weber and Anton Diabelli.
Michael remained close to Joseph all of his life. Joseph highly regarded his brother and felt that Michael's religious works were superior to his own. In 1802, when Michael was 'offered lucrative and honourable positions' by 'both Esterházy and the Grand Duke of Tuscany,' he wrote to Joseph in Vienna asking for advice, though in the end he chose to stay in Salzburg. It has been hypothesized that Michael and Maria Magdalena named their daughter Josefa in honor of Michael's brother.
Michael Haydn died in Salzburg at the age of 68.
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