Classical Haiku: Haydn and His Practical Jokes

(Photo: Jonathan Juravich)
(Photo: Jonathan Juravich)

Happy April Fool’s Day, and Happy National Poetry Month!

Rarely do two such fun phenomena coincide on the same day. To celebrate National Poetry Month this month, WOSU music director Beverley Ervine has all sorts of beautiful music with poetic connections in store for you on Classical 101.

And each day this month I will post on our classical music blog an original Classical Haiku inspired by your favorite composers and their music.

Each haiku will be illustrated by an original pen-and-ink drawing by Columbus artist Jonathan Juravich created specially for the occasion. And I hope both the poetry and the illustrations will inspire you to write – and post – your own  haiku about the music you love.

Who better to spotlight in haiku on both April Fool’s Day and the first day of National Poetry Month than Franz Joseph Haydn, that great musical prankster?

His “Surprise” symphony, with its full-orchestra blast out of the blue near the beginning of the otherwise church-mouse quiet second movement, contains one of classical music’s most famous practical jokes.

And the departing musicians at the end of his “Farewell” symphony shows that humor can be powerful rhetoric: that stunt helped convince the emperor to let his overworked musicians go home to their families for summer vacation.

Today’s Classical Haiku honors the happy-making Papa Haydn:

Discordant surprises,
disappearing orchestras,
your jokes tickle the ears!

Keep your eyes peeled this month for more Classical Haiku and illustrations on this blog, send in comments with your own haiku and keep your ears open for beautiful and refreshing music 24/7 on Classical 101!

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