In September 1790, following the death of his princely employer, court composer Haydn and his entire orchestra were sacked. As he was considering this change in circumstances, Haydn received an unexpected visit from Johann Peter Salomon, a German impresario based in London, who made him a tempting offer: an opera, six symphonies and twenty other pieces to be written for the city, and a guaranteed income from a new concert series. So it was that, on 2 January 1791, Haydn arrived in England for the first of two visits that would leave an indelible mark both on the musical life of his host country and on the composer himself. Using Haydns original letters and notebooks, and accounts by contemporaries, Christopher Hogwood brings a fascinating period vividly to life, as Haydn is taken up by London society, travels into the country, plays for the royal family and writes some of his most famous music. Haydns jottings reveal an insatiable curiosity (and occasional astonishment) at English manners, morals and customs, but it is the gentle humour and generosity of this highly original composer that makes the greatest impression.