While some suggest that he was overshadowed by Mozart and Beethoven, it would be difficult to overstate Haydn's centrality to the new style, and therefore to the future of Western art music as a whole. At the time, before the pre-eminence of Mozart or Beethoven, and with Johann Sebastian Bach known primarily to connoisseurs of keyboard music, Haydn reached a place in music that set him above all other composers except perhaps George Frideric Handel. He took existing ideas, and radically altered how they functioned—earning him the titles "father of the symphony," and "father of the string quartet."
One of the forces that worked as an impetus for his pressing forward was the first stirring of what would later be called Romanticism—the Sturm und Drang, or "storm and stress" phase in the arts, a short period where obvious emotionalism was a stylistic preference. Haydn accordingly wanted more dramatic contrast and more emotionally appealing melodies, with sharpened character and individuality. This