200 Years, Anniversary Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

haydnmania: the 2009 anniversary

Archive for anecdotes

Il mondo della luna – premiere

picture: ©Theater an der Wien

Have you ever flown to the moon thanks to nothing more than the power of your own imagination? In the summer of 1777, Joseph Haydn sent the guests at the prince’s wedding in Esterházy Palace into the fantastic universe with the aid of their imagination, some 190 years before the first moon landing. For “Il mondo della luna” he turned to a source that had already been successfully used for a number of operas and was written originally by the Italian comic poet Carlo Goldoni. Haydn created a work focusing on human longings, the fabled moon and a world turned on its head.

Ecclitico is in pursuit of Clarice while Ernesto loves her sister Flaminia. But Buonafede, the father of the two young ladies and an amateur astronomer, is strictly opposed to these matches. He is also suspicious of the growing affection his servant Cecco is showing towards the maid Lisetta, especially since he has his own designs on her. But the young lovers refuse to give in to pressure. They trick the moonstruck Buonafede into believing he has been transported to the moon. A journey of discovery into outer space and the joys of love merge in the family garden into an increasingly manic muddle. The result: a bull’s eye! At the end a triple wedding is in the offing!

In Haydn’s musical evocation of the surface of the moon, there are fragrant flowers and lush woodland instead of rocks and dust, birdsong and lyrically brilliant arias instead of silence. Haydn was internationally renowned for his operas all his life and was even invited to undertake spectacular journeys to England. No wonder, because this score by the wittiest composer of Viennese classical music is simply bursting with creativity and is perfect for becoming “moonstruck”!

Il mondo della luna

composer: Joseph Haydn, in 1777
libretto: Carlo Goldoni
conductor: Nikolaus Harnoncourt
director: Tobias Moretti
orchestra: Concentus Musicus Vienna ( N. Harnoncourt’s orchestra)
Premiere: Sat, 05.12.2009 – 7:00 p.m.

at “Theater an der Wien”

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”

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.

taxidrivers become Haydn-experts

This news about the activities during the Joseph Haydn anniversary year 2009 made me smile:

The local representative of taxidrivers in Burgenland, member of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (Austrian business community) runs Haydn-seminars for their members (taxidrivers).

The cultural interested visitors during the Haydn Year 2009 will be well informed about Haydn and the Haydn-places by perfect prepared taxidrivers – as “Haydn-experts”.
I think I should make a test drive!

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)

the Haydn-podcast

Austria’s cultural Broadcasting Station “Ö1” offers a “Haydn-Podcast”: documenting Joseph Haydn’s stations in life.
You may follow Joseph Haydn’s journey through Europe in 44 parts during the anniversary-year 2009.
– here the iTunes-Podcast-link “Seeking Haydn”

sometimes humor is a good way …

Haydn’s clear advice to his employer and sovereign Prince Esterházy, the “Farewell Symphony” was part of the New Years Concert program this year and amused along with the audience at the “Wiener Konzertverein” also millions who watched the concert on TV.

Joseph Haydn, Symphony Nr45, “The Farewell-Symphony”, last movement, in Vienna (Austria) on New Years Day by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra Vienna’s “New Years Day Concert 2009”, Conductor: Daniel Barrenboim.

Have fun with Haydn and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra!!

for more information read one of my further articles about the “farewell Symphony” here

crazy lovers …

“Chi vive amante… – Ich weiß, dass derjenige, der als Liebhaber lebt, verrückt ist”
(“I know that the one who lives as lover is crazy”)

… is the title of an actually exhibition at Vienna’s Mozarthaus to the 200th anniversary of the death of Joseph Haydn.
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Hieronymus Loeschenkohl: Joseph Haydn, Schattenriss, in: Wiener Musik- und Theater-Almanach auf das Jahr 1786 © Signatur G 87278, Mozarthaus Vienna

The main exhibit of the show is a fair-copy autograph score of the insertion aria “Chi vive amante”, which Haydn had composed for Francesco Bianchi’s opera “Alessandro nell’Indie” for the performance at Esterháza Palace in 1787. The exhibition – which is presented in co-operation with the Vienna City Library – focuses on the autograph score of this aria, which was written in the same year as Mozart’s “Don Giovanni”. In addition to this score there will be registers and libretti, which elucidate the historical context between this work and other operas of that era. The libretto of the then Viennese court poet Pietro Metastasio, on which the opera is based, was not only set to music by Bianchi but several other composers as well. Three printed versions of the libretto referring to the compositions by Baldassare Galuppi (1752), Leonardo Vinci (1783) and a community of composers (1773) will be on view.

Another focus is the historical context of this Haydn aria. Operas of other composers, which were created in Vienna at about the same period as the above-mentioned fragment will be presented: Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” of course, of which the facsimile of a score written by Mozart himself will be shown, or a contemporary copy of the score of “Axur, re d’Ormus” by Antonio Salieri, who at that time had just returned to Vienna from Paris. His opera is an adaptation of the French original version entitled “Tarare” for the Imperial Court Theatre in Vienna. It probably is Salieri’s most important opera. Vicente Martín y Soler, who is famous for his quotation from “Una cosa rara” in Mozart’s “Don Giovanni”, published his opera “L’arbore di Diana” in 1787. The exhibition will present a print of the piano score of the overture and a series of twelve German dances of this opera.
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from © Andreas Roseneder’s “Haydn-patch”-series, 2009:
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The reception of the aria is another essential aspect on which the exhibition will centre. So far three critical scientific editions have been published on this subject – in 1937 by the then head of the music division of “Städtische Sammlungen” (the predecessor of today’s Vienna City Library), in 1961 by the renowned Haydn expert H. C. Robbins Landon and, finally, in 2000 by Robert von Zahn in the scope of a complete edition of Haydn’s works. All three editions will be represented in the exhibition in order to document the increasing knowledge on this particular piece of music, which has been compiled over the years. All exhibits are part of the stock of the Vienna City Library. Complementary texts will provide the visitors of the exhibition with interesting background information.

“Chi vive amante… – Ich weiß, dass derjenige, der als Liebhaber lebt, verrückt ist”
Exhibition to the 200th anniversary of the death of Joseph Haydn
23 January – 3 May 2009
www.mozarthausvienna.at

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.