200 Years, Anniversary Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

haydnmania: the 2009 anniversary

Archive for June, 2009

Haydn at Esterháza (Fertöd, Hungary)

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“…Well, here I sit in my wilderness – forsaken – like a poor waif – almost without any human society – melancholy – full of the memories of past glorious days – yes! past alas! – and who knows when these days shall return again? Those wonderful parties? Where the whole circle is one heart, one soul – all these beautiful musical evenings – which can only be remebered and not described – where are all these enthusiastic moments? – all gone – and gone for a long time…”

This is the beginning of one of Haydn’s remarkable letters, written to Maria Anna von Grenzinger in February 1790 shortly after his return to Eszterháza from the Christmas season in Vienna. This letter contains a rare glimpse of Haydn out of livery as “Capellmeister of His Highness the Prince (Esterházy) in whose service I live and die”, as Haydn had styled himself in another well-known letter, his autobiography of 1776.

When Baron Riesbeck visited Esterháza in the 1780s he observed that “The Neusiedler See, from which the castle is not far removed, makes miles of swamp and threatens in time to swallow up all the land right up to the Prince’s dwelling.” When Haydn used the term Einöde to refer to Esterháza he was perhaps translating the Hungarian term for the marshy plains of the area – puszta, which means “wilderness”.

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Haydn’s life at Esterháza apparently hinged on extremes of luxury and privation. Descriptions of the Hungarian Paradise invariably dwell on the lavish furnishings, exquisite collections, and dazzling theatrical entertainments that won it so many accolades.

At Esterháza Haydn lived with the other musicians, singers and traveling players in the Musicians’ Building, a two stried building of 250 rooms. It was from his appartment there that he wrote his letters to von Genzinger.

link to my article “visiting Esterháza Palace”

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visiting Esterhàza Palace (Fertöd, Hungary)

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Whow, what an impressive ensemble: Esterháza Castle, at Fertöd, Hungary (google map) – just half an hour to go, from the Austria-Hungarian border at Sopron!
1767 Prince Nikolaus (later called “the Magnificent”) visited Versailles and became inspired to build this Castle – on a place that, at this time, was  “in the middle of nowhere”.
1768 also a Opera house was built there – the first performance was Haydn’s opera “Lo speciale”.

the 2 scultpures (here the model) of Haydn (left) and the Prince Esterházy (up on the balcony) will be built in bronce nest year.

the 2 scultptures (here the model) of Haydn (left) and the Prince Esterházy (up on the balcony) will be built in bronce next year.

The most famous and importend people of the aera have spent time here, e.g. Empress Maria Theresia loved to be a guest in Esterháza, ’cause “…if you want to listen to the best music you have to go to Esterháza…”.

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the male’s (prince’s) bedroom with the “secret” door:
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What I have to mention: all the people working in Esterháza were overwhelming friendly and gracious (special thanks to Erna and Tünde!), tried very patiently to answer all our questions and celebrated great hospitality. At least we spent more than 5 hours (!) there – and did not see yet the gigantic historic gardens!
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Prince Paul Anton still lives there, although the Esterháza Palace today belongs to the National Administration Departement of Historical Buildings.

Enjoy a visit there! And one of the exhibitions or one of the many concerts during the Haydn-anniversary-year!
On saturday, august 8, 2009 the opening event of an extraordinary exhibition of contemporary art starts at Esterháza Castle:
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Andreas Roseneder: “Haydn reloaded” – a modern painters view on the genius, his life and works and his surrounding. New paintings and objects as result of Roseneder’s artwork about Haydn.

link: www.mag.hu