Sedona International Film Festival presents the Arizona premiere of “In Search of Haydn.” The documentary will show Monday, July 10, at 4 and 7 p.m. at the festival’s Mary D. Fisher Theatre.

Joseph Haydn is the composer that Mozart and Beethoven revered, yet he is somewhat overlooked. In this documentary, filmmaker Phil Grabsky goes in search of one of the greatest composers of all.
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Grabsky’s biographical account of the life of Haydn includes breathtaking performances by some of the world’s most celebrated musicians. Through enlightening interviews with experts, detailed extracts from personal recollections and beautiful location footage, Grabsky offers tremendous insight into not only Haydn’s music, but the man himself.

By speaking to some of the greatest living exponents of Haydn’s music, “In Search of Haydn” redresses the balance and sheds light on the master and his work. Grabsky hopes Haydn will reach a wider audience who will be surprised, entertained and enthralled by Haydn’s wit, humanity and insatiable creativity.

Haydn’s life spanned from the end of the Baroque period to Napoleon’s invasion of Vienna, outliving his younger friend Mozart. He was one of the most prolific composers, producing more than 100 symphonies, 64 quartets, 16 extant operas, 51 piano sonatas and the oratorios “The Creation” and “The Seasons.”

His seemingly light-hearted, placid temperament embraced the troubles and tribulations of life with casual humor and irony. Though blessed by an encouraging patron, running his own orchestra and opera company for some 30 years on the Esterhazy Estate, he was exposed to the usual upstairs-downstairs antics of an aristocratic household and follies of an artistic world.

These years proved to be enormously productive, inspiring Haydn to write numerous works to please his patron and his eminent guests with witty theatrical evenings, jokes and the occasional prank. The emphasis of the film is on the performance and interpretation of Haydn’s music, with performances from the world’s greatest musicians and orchestras.

“An ideal introduction to one of the greatest composers of his time.” — BBC Music Magazine

“You don’t need to be interested in classical music to find the results engrossing.” — Time Out Chicago

“Grabsky has a great gift for showing how a piece is put together. The music is the thing.” — The Sydney Morning Herald

“A delight for music lovers and does honor to a central composer we too often take for granted.” — Santa Fe New Mexican

“In Search of Haydn” will be shown at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre on Monday, July 10, at 4 and 7 p.m.

Tickets are $15, or $12.50 for Film Festival members. Tickets are available in advance at the Sedona International Film Festival office, by calling 282-1177 or online at SedonaFilmFestival.org. Both the theater and film festival office are at 2030 W. State Route 89A in West Sedona.