200 Years, Anniversary Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

haydnmania: the 2009 anniversary

Archive for Esterháza

what happend today (236 years ago!):

Sept 2, 1773:
PHILEMON UND BAUCIS – Joseph Haydn’s Marionette Opera had premiere at Esterháza (now known as Esterházy Palace, at Fertöd, Hungary)

philemon

more:

“If  I want to hear good opera I must come to Eszterháza,” Maria Theresa is supposed to have said, giving a somewhat misleading impression. In fact she was there on only one occasion, for the first two days of September 1773.  The large scale celebrations were written up in local newspaper reports.  On the first day there was a banquet (at which three gamebirds killed by Haydn with one shot were on the Empress’s plate),  the inspection of the Park, a performance of Haydn’s opera “L’infedeltà delusa” in the opera house, followed by a fancy-dress ball which lasted till dawn.  During an intermission in the ball the Prince showed the imperial party his new Chinese Pleasurehouse.  The walls were covered with mirrors which reflected the light of innumerable Chinese lanterns and candles.  Haydn and the orchestra played a symphony and other works.  The main ball took place in a 130 foot long Chinese gallery adjoining the opera house.  Eleven chandeliers and 600 candles illuminated the room and the musicians were dressed in Chinese costume.  It was the stove in this room that exploded in 1779 causing the fire that completely destroyed the first opera house and, far worse, all the music and parts of the operas written to date with the exception of the scores that Haydn had fortuitously taken to his living quarters some half mile away (still preserved).

The next evening’s entertainment started with Haydn’s specially composed marionette opera “Philemon und Baucis”, or “Jupiter’s journey to Earth”. This could well have been the official opening of the marionette theatre, which, unlike the rebuilt opera house and the Chinese Pleasurehouse, still can be seen, although now used for agricultural purposes.  The auditorium was flanked on both sides by caves domed with rockery and sea shells in the fashionable rocaille style. Some of the caves were embellished with fresco paintings, others with miniature fountains.

The puppet opera was followed by a festive supper after which the Prince led the Imperial party through an avenue illuminated with coloured Chinese lanterns to the site of a spectacular firework display.  Once seated the Empress lit the first fuse.  After the fireworks an outdoor ball took place in a specially prepared arena, lit by more than 20,000 Chinese lanterns and with over a thousand young peasants performing local dances.

The opera was repeated at Eszterháza in 1776, presumably with a less elaborate final tableau, and was then available as two pieces, the prologue on Olympus as  “Der Götterrat” and the main opera as “Philemon und Baucis”. At some time in the 19th century the music disappeared completely, though the printed libretto survived.  In 1935 a manuscript score from about 1800 of the main opera was discovered in a Paris bookshop, without the prologue and without the final chorus, but with a lot of extraneous material by other composers that could be discarded thanks to the existence of the libretto.  Music from earlier in the opera is repeated for the final chorus.   It is generally agreed that the first two movements of Symphony No. 50 were the original overture to the prologue.  H. C. Robbins Landon prepared a performing version and produced the first recording in Vienna in 1951.

The tale of Philemon and Baucis appears in Book 8 of  Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Two tree trunks grow together in a walled enclosure on a hilltop, surrounded by a swamp, in Phrygia.  The story is that the gods destroyed the village but left a temple with the old couple to look after it. Their one wish was to die together when their time came and they were transformed into an entwined oak and a lime.  The libretto Haydn set is based on a play by the blind Alsatian poet and teacher, Gottlieb Konrad Pfeffel, presumably found and adapted by the Esterházy librarian, Philipp Georg Bader. Gounod composed a version of the story in 1860. In this very French operetta Baucis asks for the return of her youth, Jupiter falls in love with her and a second wish returns her to Philemon and safe old age.

Advertisements

Haydn at Esterháza (Fertöd, Hungary)

esterhaza092
esterhaza029

“…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”.

esterhaza027

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”

visiting Esterhàza Palace (Fertöd, Hungary)

panorama2

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…”.

esterhaza018
esterhaza027
esterhaza048
esterhaza051
esterhaza056
esterhaza065
the male’s (prince’s) bedroom with the “secret” door:
esterhaza068
esterhaza059
esterhaza042
esterhaza007

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!
esterhaza012
esterhaza011
esterhaza131
esterhaza132
esterhaza134esterhaza086
esterhaza092
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:
Haydn reloaded
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

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.

zuerich_oper1

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.

zuerich_oper

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.
amante

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.
patch1
from © Andreas Roseneder’s “Haydn-patch”-series, 2009:
haydn2009_banner_patch

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