Back in school I heard the story that Haydn wrote the “Surprise Symphony” because he was sick of people sleeping through his music, and wanted to startle them awake. It seems like this was a myth.

From the Wikipedia article:

In Haydn’s old age, his biographer Georg August Griesinger asked him whether he wrote this “surprise” to awaken the audience. Haydn replied:

No, but I was interested in surprising the public with something new…

Why do all the cool stories from history end up being made up?