After his summary dismissal from the Kapellhaus, Joseph Haydn was without any accommodations or income. His parents tried talking him into joining the clergy again, but were unsuccessful. In 1751 he found a wretched unheated garret at Michaelerhaus, which still stands today next to Michaelerkirche across from the Hofburg. In the following years Haydn lived primarily from giving lessons and working as an accompanist. For 60 gulden he was the principal performer at the Klosterkirche der Barmherzigen Brüder in Leopoldstadt, where every Sunday and feast day he played the mass at eight in the morning. At ten he played in the noble Haugwitz`sche Kapelle and at eleven he sang at Stefansdom for 17 kreuzers per mass.
Two personalities who played a significant role in Haydn`s artistic career lived at Michaelerhaus in Vienna: court poet Pietro Metastasio (1698-1782), with whom Haydn learned the Italian language, and the opera composer and voice instructor Nicola Antonia Porpora (1686-1768). Haydn was allowed to accompany Porpora`s voice students on the piano and was also his chamber servant for a time. He admitted to his biographer Griesinger that with Porpora he benefited a great deal in voice, composition and the Italian language.´´ On the first floor of Michaelerhaus at that time lived the widowed Princess Maria Octavia Esterházy (1683-1762), mother of Princes Paul Anton and Nicholas, whose kapellmeister Joseph Haydn would later become.
For Baron Karl Joseph von Fürnberg Haydn wrote his first string quartet, which became popular very quickly. It was one of the first works to be printed abroad – in Paris 1764, albeit without the knowledge of the composer. Haydn`s stays in Weinzierl, where Baron Fürnberg owned a palace, and the early string quartets form the prelude to his employment as kapellmeister for Count Morzin. Around 1758/59 Haydn was hired as kapellmeister by Karl Joseph Franz Graf Morzin (1717-1783?) for 200 gulden per year as well as room and board. In addition to Haydn`s first symphony, among the compositions written for Morzin were a number of divertmenti for wind instruments, generally for two oboes, horns and bassoon.
Likely out of gratitude and because he had been on familiar terms with the family for several years on 26 November 1760 Haydn married the eldest daughter of the Viennese wigmaker Keller, Maria Anna Aloysia (1729-1800). He was probably in love with the youngest daughter, Therese, but she had joined a convent. The marriage with Maria Anna took place at Stefansdom in Vienna. Haydn`s marriage was not a happy one: My wife was incapable of bearing children, thus I was less indifferent to the charms of other women,´´ according to one of Haydn`s few comments concerning his married life. The biographers Griesinger and Dies have nothing admirable to say about Mrs Haydn: she was uneducated, failed to understand the genius of her husband and was said to be extravagant.