200 Years, Anniversary Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

haydnmania: the 2009 anniversary

Archive for anecdote

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”

today, 200 years ago, on may 31, 1809


haydn by Andreas Roseneder

Haydn, modern view – by Andreas Roseneder

Today is the great Anniversary Day for Joseph Haydn! Exactly 200 years ago he died on may 31, 1809 in Vienna in the age of 77.
Among his last words was his attempt to calm and reassure his servants when cannon shot fell in the neighborhood. (The french army under Napoleon was in Vienna):  “My children, have no fear, for where Haydn is, no harm can fall.”
Two weeks later, a memorial service was held in the Schottenkirche on June 15, 1809, at which Mozart’s Requiem was performed. (Mozart died before Haydn, they met 1781 for the first time and stayed friends since Mozart died in 1791)

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The Anniversary Ceremonies in Eisenstadt began in the middle of the night: at 0.40 a.m. the bells of the Haydnchurch began to ring (it was the hour of Joseph Haydn’s death) and a commemoration was held there.
Todays further program:
at 9.00 a.m. Haydn’s “Schöpfungsmesse” (Creation Mass) is celebrated, with Bishop Dr. Paul Iby, the Hadnorchestra & Choir – (live in ORF)
at 11.00 a.m. Haydn’s “The Creation”, live in TV from the Haydnsaal, Esterhazy Castle: with The Austro-Hungarian Philharmonics under Adam Fischer, with the singer Anette Dasch and Thomas Quasthoff!!!

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“The Creation” was played to honour Joseph Haydn at his 76th birthday at the Old University Hall in Vienna on march 27, 1808. Joseph Haydn was there, Antonio Salieri was conducting, Beethoven kissed his hands, the audience was enthusiastic! In the front, sitting on a chair in the middle: Joseph Haydn. – Watercolor by Balthasar Wigand, who was also there.

– and here the (tv-)pictures from “the Creation”, live from Haydnsaal:

Thomas Quasthoff, Anette Dasch

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Anette Dasch & Thomas Quasthoff

Präsident Dr. Heinz Fischer, "The Creation" at Esterházy Castle

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I’ll celebrate this day and have a few thankfully thoughts on Haydn!

Haydn & Bach

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Haydn ventured into a bookshop and asked for a good textbook on theory. The bookseller named the writings of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach as the best and most recent. Haydn wanted to look and see for himself. He began to read, he understood, found what he was looking for, paid for the book, and took it away thoroughly pleased. That Haydn sought to make Bach’ s principles his own, that he studied them untiringly, is apparent even in his youthful works from that period. From his nineteenth year Haydn wrote quartets which gave him a reputation among lovers of music as a profound genius, so quickly had he learnt. As time went on, he acquired Bach s later writings. In his opinion Bach’s writings form the best, most thorough and most useful textbook ever published.
As soon as Haydn s musical output became available in print, Bach noted with pleasure that he could count Haydn among his pupils. He later paid Haydn a flattering compliment; that Haydn alone had understood [Bach’s] writings completely and had known how to make use of them.

from: AC Dies, Biographische Nachrichten von Joseph Haydn, Vienna, 1810, R/Berlin, 2nd edition, 1962, pp. 40f.

The dark, dramatic, improvisation-like passages that appear in some of Mozart’s and Haydn’s works are due in part to the influence of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s work.

HAYDN – DOCTOR OF MUSIC

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HAYDN – DOCTOR OF MUSIC was the title of a concert review in an english newspaper on  11 July 1791.
“Doctor of Musick” conferred upon Haydn at Oxford:

“… At the Theatre that night the audience were in excellent humour; and when Haydn appeared, and, grateful for the applause he received, seized hold of, and displayed, the gown he wore as a mark of the honour that had in the morning been conferred upon him, the silent emphasis with which he thus expressed his feelings, met with an unanimous and loud clapping”…… (13” Page 3 Col 1)

When he came to London Haydn wrote to a friend:
“Everyone wants to know me. I had to dine out six times up to now. I could have an invitation everyday…”

Haydn was the 1st musician who was honoured with the title “doctor” from the Oxford University during his lifetime.

J.H.’s “La fedeltà premiata” now at the Opera in Zürich

Adam Fischer

Adam Fischer

Adam Fischer (picture), founder of the “Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra” and familiar to all Haydn works, is the musical director of Haydn’s opera “La fedeltà premiata” which  is now played at the Zürich Opera house.

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The Zürich-production is a very modern version of Haydn’s opera, which he composed once for the Opera House at Schloss Eszterháza, where it was played for the first time on 25 February 1781.

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Haydn: “…Now something about Paris. They were very surprised that my vocal composition should be so exceedingly complaisant; but I was not at all surprised, as they have not yet heard anything. If they were only to hear my operetta “L’isola disabitata” and my last opera for Shrovetide, “La fedeltà premiata”, I assure you that nothing has yet been heard like them in Paris, and perhaps not even in Vienna. My misfortune is only that I have to stay in the country..” — Joseph Haydn, 27 May 1781

link: Opera Zürich (Switzerland)

Guardian’s author Stephen Moss on his “Haydn-Tripp”

An interesting story about his tripp to discover Haydn and “Haydn-Land” wrote Stephen Moss on january 1st 2009 for the “Guardian”.
An article about the “exclusivity” of Haydn – in comparison to Mozart and Beethoven.

– read the article here

– have a look on his pictures here

gold watch for the composer’s pen: Haydn & Nelson

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picture: Lord Nelson before Trafalgar

Precisely how the Nelson Mass became so called, when and by whom shall probably never be known. What is at least clear is that within a month of the Battle of the Nile on august 1, 1798. Haydn had completed a Mass in D Minor, and within months of the Battle of Trafalgar ( october 21, 1805) that same mass had become known as the Nelson Mass.

Amongst his other court duties Haydn was required to produce a new mass each year for the name-day of Princess Esterhazy. Two years previously, in the summer of 1798, Haydn had composed a mass in the key of D minor. He could not have known of the Battle of the Nile until weeks after the mass was finished, so the mass was certainly not written for that Nelson victory. The original manuscript of that mass has neither title nor motto, and bears nothing but the pious formulae ‘In nomine Domini’ at the start and ‘Laus Deo’ at the end.

However, both the Mass in D Minor (probably) and the Te Deum (certainly) were performed to honour Nelson during his visit to Eisenstadt in 1800, together with a brief cantata, Lines from the Battle of the Nile, which Haydn composed for Lady Hamilton. Nelson and Haydn apparently became friends – some accounts tell that Nelson gave Haydn a gold watch he had won at Aboukir Bay, in return for the pen that was used to compose Lady Hamilton’s cantata. It is likely that the name Nelson Mass began being applied to this piece some time after this event, although the name was never used by Haydn himself.