Before the classical composers were ranked among the all-time greats, they were flesh-and-blood people trying to make sense of the world through their art, and in this series, Anna Harwell Celenza tells readers 6 to 9 the very human stories of how some of music's most important masterpieces were written. With her expressive watercolor and ink illustrations, JoAnne Kitchel makes these geniuses of long ago seem completely relatable, and her thoughtful use of historical details gives us a sense of their era.
At his summer palace, Prince Nicholas of Esterházy endlessly entertained hundreds of guests at his rural retreat and demanded music for every occasion. As the months passed, Joseph Haydn was kept very busy writing and performing music for parties, balls, dinners, and even walks in the gardens. His orchestra members became homesick and missed their families. Here is the story of how Haydn—a polite man who would not want to offend royalty—wrote his innovative Surprise Symphony, a piece whose score cleverly dismisses the musicians, to convince Prince Nicholas that it was time to go home.