By Derek Strahan BA Cantab (Modern Languages, French & Spanish)



The case of Josef Haydn illustrates the point, which will be the subject of an article to be posted on this website: "The man who married the wrong daughter". In his early days in Vienna , Haydn fell in love with Therese Keller, the younger daughter of a middle class family of wig makers. To show their disapproval of the match, the family arranged for the daughter to become a nun. Haydn was employed to compose organ concerti for performance at the induction ceremony. He kept very few copies of his compositions, but he retained copies of these concerti throughout his life. And he made the mistake of marrying the older sister, Maria Anna, who accompanied him when he obtained a long-term appointment at the court of the wealthy Hungarian aristocratic family, the Esterhazy.

His employer, Prince Nicolas Esterhazy, devoted many years to building Esterhaza, an imitation of Versailles in a mosquito-ridden swamp in Western Hungary . Accommodation was scarce and, among the musicians, only the leader, Haydn was permitted to live with his wife - a privilege he would happily not forgone, since the marriage was a total disaster.

Haydn himself is quoted as saying: "She has no virtues, and it is entirely indifferent to her whether her husband is a shoemaker or an artist." The highlight of his wife's social life was visits from the vicar. She tore up his music scores to obtain paper for her hair curlers. Do I digress? Is this information pertinent to our agenda?

Well, it's pertinent in the overall context of "Composer's earning money" , as it illustrates Haydn's conditions of employment. Haydn's attempt to solicit support from the bourgeoisie impacted disastrously on his quality of life, and had a bizarre side effect on it, when he finally obtained employment from the aristocracy. Fortunately, his employer, understanding Haydn's situation, tolerated the series of well-documented affairs that Haydn had with female singers and musicians to whom he gave valuable employment, during his 30 year exile in that mosquito-ridden swamp, creating and presenting a constant stream of new music for his eccentric employer.

Haydn lived long enough to be able to capitalise on his vast output. When he was finally released from his long tenure he lived his remained years based in Vienna , touring the great capitals, including London . Much loved for the sunny disposition and humour of much of his music, there is also no shortage of works revealing "sturm und drag" - "storm and stress".

Here are two extracts, the first from the first movement of the aforementioned organ concerto, which shows no signs of the turmoil which Haydn must have been feeling when he wrote it. We follow that with the opening to Symphony No. 44 in E minor, subtitled "Trauersymphonie", which is imbued with "sturm und drag". He didn't write this music because he was upset. He wrote it because "Storm and stress" music was in vogue. Hadyn was a consummate professional, who wrote music to order. But of course he did know what "sturm und drag" felt like.

(MUSIC CUE 2 Excerpt from 1 st movement Haydn's Concerto for organ and orchestra in C major )
(MUSIC CUE 3 Excerpt from 1 st movement Haydn's Symphony No. 44 in E minor)

Next >>


Part 1 - Biography
Part 1 - Preamble
Part 2 - Agenda
Part 2 - Arts Organisations - History
Part 3 - Rise of the Committee
Part 4 - Radical Proposition
1. Direct support?
2. Funding?
3. Funding bodies?
4. Bureaucrats?
5. Not empowered.
6 Statistics!
Part 5 - Loose Ends
The Medici Program
Part 6 - No Reasons
Part 7 - Summing Up
Part 8 - Composers earning money
J.S. Bach
Josef Haydn
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