J. Cuthbert Hadden

Part 2 out of 4

"M. le Gros, director of the 'Concerts Spirituels' [in Paris],
wrote me a great many fine things about my Stabat Mater, which
had been given there four times with great applause; so this
gentleman asked permission to have it engraved. They made me an
offer to engrave all my future works on very advantageous terms,
and are much surprised that my compositions for the voice are so
singularly pleasing. I, however, am not in the least surprised,
for, as yet, they have heard nothing. If they could only hear my
operetta, 'L'Isola Disabitata,' and my last Shrove-tide opera,
'La Fedelta Premiata,' I do assure you that no such work has
hitherto been heard in Paris, nor, perhaps, in Vienna either. My
great misfortune is living in the country." It will be seen from
this what he thought of "L'Isola," which was not heard in Vienna
until its performance at a concert given at the Court Theatre by
Willmann the 'cellist in 1785. Haydn sent the score to the King
of Spain, who showed his sense of the honour by the gift of a
gold snuff-box, set in brilliants. Other marks of royal attention
were bestowed upon him about this time. Thus, in 1784, Prince
Henry of Prussia sent him a gold medal and his portrait in return
for the dedication of six new quartets, while in 1787 King
Frederick William II gave him the famous gold ring which he
afterwards always wore when composing.

A Love Episode

But we have passed somewhat out of our chronological order. The
absence of love at home, as we all know, often encourages love
abroad. Haydn liked to have an occasional flirtation, as ardent
as might be within the bounds of decorum. Sometimes, indeed,
according to our insular ideas of such things, he exceeded the
bounds of decorum, as in the case of which we are now compelled
to speak. Among the musicians who had been engaged for the
Esterhazy service in 1779 were a couple named Polzelli--the
husband a violinist, the wife a second-rate vocalist. Luigia
Polzelli was a lively Italian girl of nineteen. She does not seem
to have been happy with Polzelli, and Haydn's pity was roused for
her, much as Shelley's pity was roused for "my unfortunate
friend," Harriet Westbrook. The pity, as often happens in such
cases, ultimately ripened into a violent passion.

We are not concerned to adopt an apologetic tone towards Haydn.
But Signora Polzelli was clearly an unscrupulous woman. She first
got her admirer into her power, and then used her position to dun
him for money. She had two sons, and the popular belief of the
time that Haydn was the father of the younger is perpetuated in
several of the biographies. Haydn had certainly a great regard
for the boy, made him a pupil of his own, and left him a small
sum in his first will, which, however, he revoked in the second.
Signora Polzelli's conduct was probably natural enough in the
circumstances, but it must have been rather embarrassing to
Haydn. After the death of her husband, she wheedled him into
signing a paper promising to marry her in the event of his
becoming a widower. This promise he subsequently repudiated, but
he cared for her well enough to leave her an annuity in his will,
notwithstanding that she had married again. She survived him for
twenty-three years, and her two daughters were still living at
Pesth in 1878.

Returning to 1779, an untoward event of that year was the
destruction by fire of the theatre at Esterhaz. The re-building
of the house was set about at once, the prince having meanwhile
gone to Paris, and the re-opening took place on October 15, 1780,
when Haydn's "La Fedelta Premiata," already mentioned, was


It was about this time that he began to correspond with Artaria,
the Vienna music-publisher, with whom he had business dealings
for many years. A large number of his letters is given in an
English translation by Lady Wallace. [See Letters of Distinguished
Musicians. Translated from the German by Lady Wallace. London,
1867]. They treat principally of business matters, but are not
unimportant as fixing the chronological dates of some of his
works. They exhibit in a striking way the simple, honest,
unassuming nature of the composer; and if they also show him
"rather eager after gain, and even particular to a groschen," we
must not forget the ever-pressing necessity for economy under
which be laboured, and his almost lavish benevolence to
straitened relatives and friends. In one letter requesting an
advance he writes: "I am unwilling to be in debt to tradesmen,
and, thank God! I am free from this burden; but as great people
keep me so long waiting for payments, I have got rather into
difficulty. This letter, however, will be your security...I will
pay off the interest with my notes." There is no real ground for
charging Haydn with avarice, as some writers have done. "Even
philosophers," as he remarked himself, "occasionally stand in
need of money"; and, as Beethoven said to George Thomson, when
haggling about prices, there is no reason why the "true artist"
should not be "honourably paid."

A London Publisher

It was about this time too that Haydn opened a correspondence
with William Forster of London, who had added to his business
of violin-maker that of a music-seller and publisher. Forster
entered into an agreement with him for the English copyright
of his compositions, and between 1781 and 1787 he published
eighty-two symphonies, twenty-four quartets, twenty-four solos,
duets and trios, and the "Seven Last Words," of which we have
yet to speak. Nothing of the Forster correspondence seems to
have survived.

Royal Dedicatees

Among the events of 1781-1782 should be noted the entertainments
given in connection with two visits which the Emperor Joseph II
received from the Grand Duke Paul and his wife. The Grand Duchess
was musical, and had just been present at the famous combat
between Clementi and Mozart, a suggestion of the Emperor. She had
some of Haydn's quartets played at her house and liked them so
well that she gave him a diamond snuff-box and took lessons from
him. It was to her that he afterwards--in 1802--dedicated his
part-songs for three and four voices, while the Grand Duke was
honoured by the dedication of the six so-called "Russian"
quartets. It had been arranged that the Duke and Duchess should
accompany the Emperor to Eisenstadt, but the arrangement fell
through, and an opera which Haydn had written for the occasion
was only produced at Esterhaz in the autumn of 1782. This was his
"Orlando Paladino," better known in its German form as "Ritter
Roland." Another work of this year (1782) was the "Mariazell"
Mass in C major (Novello, No. 15), which derives its name from
the shrine of the Virgin in Styria, the scene of an incident
already related. The mass was written to the order of a certain
Herr Liebe de Kreutzner, and the composer is said to have taken
special pains with it, perhaps because it reminded him of his
early struggling days as a chorister in Vienna. It was the eighth
mass Haydn had written, one being the long and difficult
"Cecilia" Mass in C major, now heard only in a curtailed form. No
other work of the kind was composed until 1796, between which
year and 1802 the best of his masses were produced. To the year
1783 belongs the opera "Armida," performed in 1784 and again in
1797 at Schickaneder's Theatre in Vienna. Haydn writes to Artaria
in March 1784 to say that "Armida" had been given at Esterhaz
with "universal applause," adding that "it is thought the best
work I have yet written." The autograph score was sent to London
to make up, in a manner, for the non-performance of his "Orfeo"
there in 1791.

The "Seven Words"

But the most interesting work of this period was the "Seven Words
of our Saviour on the Cross," written in 1785. The circumstances
attending its composition are best told in Haydn's own words. In
Breitkopf & Hartel's edition of 1801, he writes:

About fifteen years ago I was requested by a Canon of Cadiz to
compose instrumental music on the Seven Words of Jesus on the
Cross. It was the custom of the Cathedral of Cadiz to produce an
oratorio every year during Lent, the effect of the performance
being not a little enhanced by the following circumstances. The
walls, windows and pillars of the Church were hung with black
cloth, and only one large lamp, hanging from the centre of the
roof, broke the solemn obscurity. At mid-day the doors were
closed and the ceremony began. After a short service the bishop
ascended the pulpit, pronounced one of the Seven Words (or
sentences) and delivered a discourse thereon. This ended, he
left the pulpit and knelt prostrate before the altar. The
pause was filled by the music. The bishop then in like manner
pronounced the second word, then the third, and so on, the
orchestra falling in at the conclusion of each discourse. My
composition was to be subject to these conditions, and it was
no easy matter to compose seven adagios to last ten minutes
each, and follow one after the other without fatiguing the
listeners; indeed I found it quite impossible to confine
myself within the appointed limits.

This commission may be taken as a further evidence of the growing
extent of Haydn's fame. He appears to have been already well
known in Spain. Boccherini carried on a friendly correspondence
with him from Madrid, and he was actually made the hero of a poem
called "The Art of Music," published there in 1779. The "Seven
Words" created a profound impression when performed under the
circumstances just detailed, but the work was not allowed to
remain in its original form, though it was printed in that form
by Artaria and by Forster. Haydn divided it into two parts, and
added choruses and solos, in which form it was given for the
first time at Eisenstadt in October, 1797, and published in 1801.
The "Seven Words" was a special favourite of the composer
himself, who indeed is declared by some to have preferred it
to all his other compositions.

The "Toy" Symphony

The remaining years of the period covered by this chapter being
almost totally devoid of incident, we may pause to notice briefly
two of the better-known symphonies of the time--the "Toy"
Symphony and the more famous "Farewell." The former is a mere jeu
d'esprit, in which, with an orchestral basis of two violins and a
bass, the solo instruments are all of a burlesque character.
Mozart attempted something of a kindred nature in his "Musical
joke," where instruments come in at wrong places, execute
inappropriate phrases, and play abominably out of tune. This kind
of thing does not require serious notice, especially in the case
of Haydn, to whom humour in music was a very different matter
from the handling of rattles and penny trumpets and toy drums.

The "Farewell" Symphony

The "Farewell" Symphony has often been described, though the
circumstances of its origin are generally mis-stated. It has been
asserted, for example, that Haydn intended it as an appeal to the
prince against the dismissal of the Capelle. But this, as Pohl
has conclusively shown, is incorrect. The real design of the
"Farewell" was to persuade the prince to shorten his stay at
Esterhaz, and so enable the musicians to rejoin their wives and
families. Fortunately, the prince was quick-witted enough to see
the point of the joke. As one after another ceased playing and
left the orchestra, until only two violinists remained, he
quietly observed, "If all go, we may as well go too." Thus
Haydn's object was attained--for the time being! The "Farewell"
is perfectly complete as a work of art, but its fitness for
ordinary occasions is often minimized by the persistent way in
which its original purpose is pointed out to the listener.

Free from Esterhaz

Haydn's active career at Esterhaz may be said to have closed with
the death, on September 28, 1790, of Prince Nicolaus. The event
was of great importance to his future. Had the prince lived,
Haydn would doubtless have continued in his service, for he
"absolutely adored him." But Prince Anton, who now succeeded,
dismissed the whole Capelle, retaining only the few members
necessary for the carrying on of the church service, and Haydn's
occupation was practically gone. The new prince nominally held
the right to his services, but there was no reason for his
remaining longer at the castle, and he accordingly took up his
residence in Vienna. Thus free to employ his time as he
considered best, Haydn embraced the opportunity to carry out a
long-meditated project, and paid the first of his two visits to
London. With these we enter upon a new epoch in the composer's
life, and one of great interest to the student and lover of



English Music about 1791--Salomon--Mozart and Haydn--Terms for
London--Bonn and Beethoven--Haydn Sea-Sick--Arrives in London--
An Enthusiastic Welcome--Ideas of the Metropolis--At Court--
Unreasoning Rivalries--Temporarily eclipsed--Band and Baton--
A Rehearsal Incident--Hanover Square Rooms--Hoops and Swords--
The "Surprise" Symphony--Gallic Excitement--New Compositions--
Benefit and Other Concerts--Haydn on Handel--Oxford Doctor of
Music--The "Oxford" Symphony--Relaxations--Royalty again--Pleyel
--Close of Season--Herschel--Haydn at St Paul's--London
Acquaintances--Another Romance--Mistress Schroeter--Love-Letters
--Haydn's Note-Book.

English Music about 1791

Haydn came to England in 1791. It may occur to the reader to ask
what England was doing in music at that time, and who were the
foremost representatives of the art. The first question may be
partially answered from the literature of the period. Thus
Jackson, in his Present State of Music in London, published the
year after Haydn's arrival, remarks that "instrumental music has
been of late carried to such perfection in London by the
consummate skill of the performers that any attempt to beat the
time would be justly considered as entirely needless." Burney,
again, in his last volume, published in 1789, says that the great
improvement in taste during the previous twenty years was "as
different as civilized people from savages"; while Stafford
Smith, writing in 1779, tells that music was then "thought to be
in greater perfection than among even the Italians themselves."
There is a characteristic John Bull complacency about these
statements which is hardly borne out by a study of the lives
of the leading contemporary musicians. Even Mr Henry Davey,
the applauding historian of English music, has to admit the
evanescent character of the larger works which came from
the composers of that "bankrupt century." Not one of these
composers--not even Arne--is a real personality to us like Handel,
or Bach, or Haydn, or Mozart. The great merit of English music
was melody, which seems to have been a common gift, but "the only
strong feeling was patriotic enthusiasm, and the compositions that
survive are almost all short ballads expressing this sentiment
or connected with it by their nautical subjects." When Haydn
arrived, there was, in short, no native composer of real genius,
and our "tardy, apish nation" was ready to welcome with special
cordiality an artist whose gifts were of a higher order.


We have spoken of Haydn's visit as a long-meditated project. In
1787 Cramer, the violinist, had offered to engage him on his own
terms for the Professional Concerts; and Gallini, the director of
the King's Theatre in Drury Lane, pressed him to write an opera
for that house. Nothing came of these proposals, mainly because
Haydn was too much attached to his prince to think of leaving
him, even temporarily. But the time arrived and the man with it.
The man was Johann Peter Salomon, a violinist, who, having fallen
out with the directors of the professional concerts, had started
concerts on his own account. Salomon was a native of Bonn, and
had been a member of the Electoral Orchestra there. He had
travelled about the Continent a good deal, and no one was better
fitted to organize and direct a series of concerts on a large
scale. In 1790 he had gone abroad in search of singers, and,
hearing of the death of Prince Esterhazy, he set off at once for
Vienna, resolved to secure Haydn at any cost. "My name is
Salomon," he bluntly announced to the composer, as he was shown
into his room one morning. "I have come from London to fetch you;
we will settle terms to-morrow."

The question of terms was, we may be sure, important enough for
Haydn. But it was not the only question. The "heavy years" were
beginning to weigh upon him. He was bordering on threescore, and
a long journey in those days was not to be lightly undertaken.
Moreover, he was still, nominally at least, the servant of Prince
Anton, whose consent would have to be obtained; and, besides all
this, he was engaged on various commissions, notably some for the
King of Naples, which were probably a burden on his conscience.
His friends, again, do not appear to have been very enthusiastic
about the projected visit. There were Dittersdorf and
Albrechtsberger, and Dr Leopold von Genzinger, the prince's
physician, and Frau von Genzinger, whose tea and coffee he so
much appreciated, and who sent him such excellent cream. Above
all, there was Mozart--"a man very dear to me," as Haydn himself

Mozart and Haydn

He had always greatly revered Mozart. Three years before this he
wrote: "I only wish I could impress upon every friend of mine,
and on great men in particular, the same deep musical sympathy
and profound appreciation which I myself feel for Mozart's
inimitable music; then nations would vie with each other to
possess such a jewel within their frontiers. It enrages me to
think that the unparalleled Mozart is not yet engaged at any
Imperial Court! Forgive my excitement; I love the man so dearly."
The regard was reciprocal. "Oh, Papa," exclaimed Mozart, when he
heard of Haydn's intention to travel, "you have had no education
for the wide, wide world, and you speak too few languages." It
was feelingly said, and Haydn knew it. "My language," he replied,
with a smile, "is understood all over the world." Mozart was
really concerned at the thought of parting with his brother
composer, to whom he stood almost in the relation of a son. When
it came to the actual farewell, the tears sprang to his eyes, and
he said affectingly: "This is good-bye; we shall never meet
again." The words proved prophetic. A year later, Mozart was
thrown with a number of paupers into a grave which is now as
unknown as the grave of Moliere. Haydn deeply lamented his loss;
and when his thoughts came to be turned homewards towards the
close of his English visit his saddest reflection was that there
would be no Mozart to meet him. His wretched wife had tried to
poison his mind against his friend by writing that Mozart had
been disparaging his genius. "I cannot believe it," he cried; "if
it is true, I will forgive him." It was not true, and Haydn never
believed it. As late as 1807 he burst into tears when Mozart's
name was mentioned, and then, recovering himself, remarked:
"Forgive me! I must ever weep at the name of my Mozart."

Terms for London

But to return. Salomon at length carried the day, and everything
was arranged for the London visit. Haydn was to have 300 pounds
for six symphonies and 200 pounds for the copyright of them; 200
pounds for twenty new compositions to be produced by himself at
the same number of concerts; and 200 pounds from a benefit
concert. The composer paid his travelling expenses himself, being
assisted in that matter by an advance of 450 florins from the
prince, which he refunded within the year. In order to provide
for his wife during his absence he sold his house at Eisenstadt,
the gift of Prince Nicolaus, which had been twice rebuilt after
being destroyed by fire.

Salomon sent advance notices of the engagement to London, and on
the 30th of December the public were informed through the Morning
Chronicle that, immediately on his arrival with his distinguished
guest, "Mr Salomon would have the honour of submitting to all
lovers of music his programme for a series of subscription
concerts, the success of which would depend upon their support
and approbation." Before leaving for London Haydn had a tiff with
the King of Naples, Ferdinand IV, who was then in Vienna. The
composer had taken him some of the works which he had been
commissioned to write, and His Majesty, thanking him for the
favour, remarked that "We will rehearse them the day after
to-morrow." "The day after to-morrow," replied Haydn, "I shall be
on my way to England." "What!" exclaimed the King, "and you
promised to come to Naples!" With which observation he turned on
his heel and indignantly left the room. Before Haydn had time to
recover from his astonishment Ferdinand was back with a letter of
introduction to Prince Castelcicala, the Neapolitan Ambassador in
London; and to show further that the misunderstanding was merely
a passing affair he sent the composer later in the day a valuable
tabatiere as a token of esteem and regard.

Bonn and Beethoven

The journey to London was begun by Haydn and Salomon on the 15th
of December 1790, and the travellers arrived at Bonn on Christmas
Day. It is supposed, with good reason, that Haydn here met
Beethoven, then a youth of twenty, for the first time. Beethoven
was a member of the Electoral Chapel, and we know that Haydn,
after having one of his masses performed and being complimented
by the Elector, the musical brother of Joseph II, entertained the
chief musicians at dinner at his lodgings. An amusing description
of the regale may be read in Thayer's biography of Beethoven.
From Bonn the journey was resumed by way of Brussels to Calais,
which was reached in a violent storm and an incessant downpour
of rain. "I am very well, thank God!" writes the composer to
Frau Genzinger, "although somewhat thinner, owing to fatigue,
irregular sleep, and eating and drinking so many different

Haydn Sea-Sick

Next morning, after attending early mass, he embarked at 7:30, and
landed at Dover at five o'clock in the afternoon. It was his first
acquaintance with the sea, and, as the weather was rather rough, he
makes no little of it in letters written from London. "I remained on
deck during the whole passage," he says, "in order to gaze my full
at that huge monster--the ocean. So long as there was a calm I had
no fears, but when at length a violent wind began to blow, rising
every minute, and I saw the boisterous high waves running on, I was
seized with a little alarm and a little indisposition likewise."
Thus delicately does he allude to a painful episode.

Arrives in London

Haydn reached London in the opening days of 1791. He passed his
first night at the house of Bland, the music-publisher, at 45
High Holborn, which now, rebuilt, forms part of the First Avenue
Hotel. Bland, it should have been mentioned before, had been sent
over to Vienna by Salomon to coax Haydn into an engagement in
1787. When he was admitted on that occasion to Haydn's room, he
found the composer in the act of shaving, complaining the while
of the bluntness of his razor. "I would give my best quartet for
a good razor," he exclaimed testily. The hint was enough for
Bland, who immediately hurried off to his lodgings and fetched a
more serviceable tool. Haydn was as good as his word: he
presented Bland with his latest quartet, and the work is still
familiarly known as the "Rasirmesser" (razor) Quartet. The
incident was, no doubt, recalled when Haydn renewed his
acquaintance with the music-publisher.

But Haydn did not remain the guest of Bland. Next day he went to
live with Salomon, at 18 Great Pulteney Street, Golden Square,
which--also rebuilt--is now the warehouse of Messrs Chatto &
Windus, the publishers. [See Musical Haunts in London, by F.G.
Edwards, London, 1895] He described it in one of his letters as
"a neat, comfortable lodging," and extolled the cooking of his
Italian landlord, "who gives us four excellent dishes." But his
frugal mind was staggered at the charges. "Everything is terribly
dear here," he wrote. "We each pay 1 florin 30 kreuzers [about
2s. 8d.] a day, exclusive of wine and beer." This was bad enough.

An Enthusiastic Welcome

But London made up for it all by the flattering way in which it
received the visitor. People of the highest rank called on him;
ambassadors left cards; the leading musical societies vied with
each other in their zeal to do him honour. Even the poetasters
began to twang their lyres in his praise. Thus Burney, who had
been for some time in correspondence with him, saluted him with
an effusion, of which it will suffice to quote the following

Welcome, great master! to our favoured isle,
Already partial to thy name and style;
Long may thy fountain of invention run
In streams as rapid as it first begun;
While skill for each fantastic whim provides,
And certain science ev'ry current guides!
Oh, may thy days, from human suff'rings, free,
Be blest with glory and felicity,
With full fruition, to a distant hour,
Of all thy magic and creative pow'r!
Blest in thyself, with rectitude of mind,
And blessing, with thy talents, all mankind!

Like "the man Sterne" after the publication of Tristram Shandy,
he was soon deep in social engagements for weeks ahead. "I could
dine out every day," he informs his friends in Germany. Shortly
after his arrival he was conducted by the Academy of Ancient
Music into a "very handsome room" adjoining the Freemasons' Hall,
and placed at a table where covers were laid for 200. "It was
proposed that I should take a seat near the top, but as it so
happened that I had dined out that very day, and ate more than
usual, I declined the honour, excusing myself under the pretext
of not being very well; but in spite of this, I could not get off
drinking the health, in Burgundy, of the harmonious gentlemen
present. All responded to it, but at last allowed me to go home."
This sort of thing strangely contrasted with the quiet, drowsy
life of Esterhaz; and although Haydn evidently felt flattered by
so much attention, he often expressed a wish that he might escape
in order to have more peace for work.

Ideas of London

His ideas about London were mixed and hesitating. He was chiefly
impressed by the size of the city, a fact which the Londoner of
to-day can only fully appreciate when he remembers that in Haydn's
time Regent Street had not been built and Lisson Grove was a
country lane. Mendelssohn described the metropolis as "that smoky
nest which is fated to be now and ever my favourite residence."
But Haydn's regard was less for the place itself than for the
people and the music. The fogs brought him an uncommonly severe
attack of rheumatism, which he naively describes as "English,"
and obliged him to wrap up in flannel from head to foot. The
street noises proved a great distraction--almost as much as they
proved to Wagner in 1839, when the composer of "Lohengrin" had to
contend with an organ-grinder at each end of the street! He
exclaimed in particular against "the cries of the common people
selling their wares." It was very distracting, no doubt, for, as
a cynic has said, one cannot compose operas or write books or
paint pictures in the midst of a row. Haydn desired above all
things quiet for his work, and so by-and-by, as a solace for the
evils which afflicted his ear, he removed himself from Great
Pulteney Street to Lisson Grove--"in the country amid lovely
scenery, where I live as if I were in a monastery."

Haydn at Court

For the present the dining and the entertaining went on. The 12th of
January found him at the "Crown and Anchor" in the Strand, where the
Anacreonatic Society expressed their respect and admiration in the
usual fashion. The 18th of the same month was the Queen's birthday,
and Haydn was invited to a Court ball in the evening. This was quite
an exceptional distinction, for he had not yet been "presented" at
Court. Probably he owed it to the Prince of Wales, afterwards George
IV. The Prince was a musical amateur, like his father and his
grandfather, whose enthusiasm for Handel it is hardly necessary to
recall. He played the 'cello--"not badly for a Prince," to parody
Boccherini's answer to his royal master--and liked to take his part
in glees and catches. Haydn was charmed by his affability. "He is
the handsomest man on God's earth," wrote the composer. "He has an
extraordinary love for music, and a great deal of feeling, but very
little money." These courtesies to Haydn may perhaps be allowed to
balance the apparent incivility shown to Beethoven and Weber, who
sent compositions to the same royal amateur that were never so much
as acknowledged.

But even the attentions of princes may become irksome and
unprofitable. Haydn soon found that his health and his work were
suffering from the flood of social engagements which London
poured upon him. The dinner hour at this time was six o'clock. He
complained that the hour was too late, and made a resolve to dine
at home at four. He wanted his mornings for composition, and if
visitors must see him they would have to wait till afternoon.
Obviously he was beginning to tire of "the trivial round."

Unreasoning Rivalries

The Salomon concerts should have begun in January, but London, as
it happened, was suffering from one of those unreasoning
rivalries which made a part of Handel's career so miserable, and
helped to immortalize the names of Gluck and Piccini. It is
hardly worth reviving the details of such ephemeral contests now.
In the present case the factionists were to some extent swayed by
financial interests; to a still greater extent by professional
jealousies. The trouble seems to have arisen originally in
connection with Gallini's preparations for the opening of a new
Opera House in the Haymarket. Salomon had engaged Cappelletti and
David as his principal vocalists; but these, it appeared, were
under contract not to sing in public before the opening of the
Opera House. One faction did not want to have the Opera House
opened at all. They were interested in the old Pantheon, and
contended that a second Italian Opera House was altogether

Temporarily eclipsed

Salomon's first concert, already postponed to February 25, had
been fixed for the 11th of March, on which date David, by special
permission, was to appear "whether the Opera house was open or
not." The delay was extremely awkward for both Haydn and Salomon,
particularly for Haydn. He had been brought to London with beat
of drum, and here he was compelled to hide his light while the
directors of the professional concerts shot ahead of him and
gained the ear of the public before he could assert his
superiority. By this time also the element of professional
jealousy had come into free play. Depreciatory paragraphs
appeared in the public prints "sneering at the composer as 'a
nine days' wonder,' whom closer acquaintance would prove to be
inferior to either Cramer or Clementi; and alluding to the
'proverbial avarice' of the Germans as tempting so many artists,
who met with scanty recognition from their own countrymen to
herald their arrival in England with such a flourish of trumpets
as should charm the money out of the pockets of easily-gulled
John Bull." These pleasantries were continued on rather different
lines, when at length Haydn was in a position to justify the
claims made for him.

Band and Baton

Haydn, meanwhile, had been rehearsing the symphony for his
opening concert. Two points are perhaps worth noting here: First,
the size and strength of the Salomon Orchestra; and second, the
fact that Haydn did not, as every conductor does now, direct his
forces, baton in hand. The orchestra numbered between thirty-five
and forty performers--a very small company compared with our Handel
Festival and Richter Orchestras, but in Haydn's time regarded as
quite sufficiently strong. There were sixteen violins, four tenors,
three 'celli, four double basses, flutes, oboes, bassoons, trumpets
and drums.

Salomon played the first violin and led the orchestra, and
Haydn sat at the harpsichord, keeping the band together by
an occasional chord or two, as the practice then was. Great
composers have not always been great conductors, but Haydn
had a winning way with his band, and generally succeeded in
getting what he wanted.

A Rehersal Incident

An interesting anecdote is told by Dies of his first experience
with the Salomon Orchestra. The symphony began with three single
notes, which the orchestra played much too loudly; Haydn called for
less tone a second and a third time, and still was dissatisfied. He
was growing impatient. At this point he overheard a German player
whisper to a neighbour in his own language: "If the first three
notes don't please him, how shall we get through all the rest?"
Thereupon, calling for the loan of a violin, he illustrated his
meaning to such purpose that the band answered to his requirements
in the first attempt. Haydn was naturally at a great disadvantage
with an English orchestra by reason of his ignorance of the
language. It may be true, as he said, that the language of music
"is understood all over the world," but one cannot talk to an
orchestra in crotchets and semi-breves.

The Hanover Square Rooms

At length the date of the first concert arrived, and a brilliant
audience rewarded the enterprise, completely filling the Hanover
Square Rooms, at that time the principal concert hall in London.
It had been opened in 1775 by J. C. Bach, the eleventh son of the
great Sebastian, when the advertisements announced that "the
ladies' tickets are red and the gentlemen's black." It was there
that, two years after the date of which we are writing, "Master
Hummel, from Vienna," gave his first benefit; Liszt appeared in
1840, when the now familiar term "recital" was first used;
Rubinstein made his English debut in 1842; and in the same year
Mendelssohn conducted his Scotch Symphony for the first time in
England. In 1844 the "wonderful little Joachim," then a youth of
thirteen in a short jacket, made the first of his many subsequent
visits to London, and played in the old "Rooms."

Hoops and Swords

So much for the associations of the concert hall in which Haydn
directed some of his finest symphonies. And what about the
audiences of Haydn's time? It was the day of the Sedan chair,
when women waddled in hoops, like that of the lady mentioned in
the Spectator, who appeared "as if she stood in a large drum."
Even the royal princesses were, in Pope's phrase, "armed in ribs
of steel" so wide that the Court attendants had to assist their
ungainly figures through the doorways. Swords were still being
worn as a regulation part of full dress, and special weapons were
always provided at a grand concert for the use of the
instrumental solo performers, who, when about to appear on the
platform, were girt for the occasion by an attendant, known as
the "sword-bearer." [See Musical Haunts in London, F. G. Edwards,
quoting Dr W. H. Cummings.]

Haydn's first concert, we have said, was an immense success.
Burney records that his appearance in the orchestra "seemed to
have an electrical effect on all present, and he never remembered
a performance where greater enthusiasm was displayed." A wave of
musical excitement appears to have been passing through London,
for on this very evening both Covent Garden and Drury Lane
Theatres were packed with audiences drawn together by the
oratorio performances there. Haydn was vastly pleased at having
the slow movement of his symphony encored--an unusual occurrence
in those days--and he spoke of it afterwards as worthy of mention
in his biography. Fresh from the dinner-table, the audience
generally fell asleep during the slow movements! When the novelty
of the Salomon concerts had worn off, many of the listeners
lapsed into their usual somnolence. Most men in Haydn's position
would have resented such inattention by an outburst of temper.
Haydn took it good-humouredly, and resolved to have his little

The "Surprise" Symphony

He wrote the well-known "Surprise" Symphony. The slow movement of
this work opens and proceeds in the most subdued manner, and at
the moment when the audience may be imagined to have comfortably
settled for their nap a sudden explosive fortissimo chord is
introduced. "There all the women will scream," said Haydn, with
twinkling eyes. A contemporary critic read quite a different
"programme" into it. "The 'Surprise,'" he wrote, "might not be
inaptly likened to the situation of a beautiful shepherdess who,
lulled to slumber by the murmur of a distant waterfall, starts
alarmed by the unexpected firing of a fowling-piece." One can
fancy the composer's amusement at this highly-imaginative
interpretation of his harmless bit of waggery.

Gallic Excitement

The same success which attended Haydn's first concert marked the
rest of the series. The Prince of Wales's presence at the second
concert no doubt gave a certain "lead" to the musical public. We
read in one of the Gallic newspapers: "It is truly wonderful what
sublime and august thoughts this master weaves into his works.
Passages often occur which it is impossible to listen to without
becoming excited--we are carried away by admiration, and are
forced to applaud with hand and mouth. The Frenchmen here cannot
restrain their transports in soft adagios; they will clap their
hands in loud applause and thus mar the effect."

In the midst of all this enthusiasm the factionists were keeping
up their controversy about the opening of Gallini's Theatre.
Gallini had already engaged the services of Haydn, together with
an orchestra led by Salomon, but nothing could be done without
the Lord Chamberlain's license for the performance of operas. To
prevent the issue of that license was the avowed object of the
Pantheon management and their friends. The fight was rendered all
the more lively when the Court divided itself between the
opposing interests. "The rival theatre," wrote Horace Walpole,
"is said to be magnificent and lofty, but it is doubtful whether
it will be suffered to come to light; in short the contest will
grow political; 'Dieu et mon Droit' (the King) supporting the
Pantheon, and 'Ich dien' (the Prince of Wales) countenancing the
Haymarket. It is unlucky that the amplest receptacle is to hold
the minority."

Cantatas, Catches and Choruses

That was how it turned out. The Lord Chamberlain finally refused
his license for operatic performances, and Gallini had to be
content with a license for "entertainments of music and dancing."
He opened his house on the 20th of March, and continued during
the season to give mixed entertainments twice a week. Various
works of Haydn's were performed at these entertainments,
including a cantata composed for David, an Italian catch for
seven voices, and the chorus known as "The Storm," a setting of
Peter Pindar's "Hark, the wild uproar of the waves." An opera,
"Orfeo ed Euridice," to which we have already referred, was almost
completed, but its production had necessarily to be abandoned, a
circumstance which must have occasioned him considerable regret
in view of the store he set upon his dramatic work.

Benefit and Other Concerts

On the 16th of May he had a benefit concert, when the receipts
exceeded by 150 pounds the 200 pounds which had been guaranteed. A second
benefit was given on May 30, when "La Passione Instrumentale"
(the "Seven Words" written for Cadiz) was performed. This work
was given again on June 10, at the benefit concert of the
"little" Clement, a boy violinist who grew into the famous artist
for whom Beethoven wrote his Violin Concerto. On this occasion
Haydn conducted for Clement, and it is interesting to observe
that Clement took the first violin at the last concert Haydn ever
attended, in March 1808.

Haydn on Handel

In the note-book he kept while in London, one of the entries
reads: "Anno 1791, the last great concert, with 885 persons, was
held in Westminster, Anno 1792, it was transferred to St
Margaret's Chapel, with 200 performers. This evoked criticism."
Haydn here refers to the Handel Commemoration Festival, the sixth
and last of the century. He attended that of 1791, and was much
impressed with the grandeur of the performances. A place had been
reserved for him near the King's box, and when the "Hallelujah
Chorus" was sung, and the whole audience rose to their feet, he
wept like a child. "Handel is the master of us all," he sobbed.
No one knew the value of Handel's choral work better than Haydn.
After listening at the Concert of Antient Music to the chorus,
"The Nations tremble," from "Joshua," he told Shield that "he had
long been acquainted with music, but never knew half its powers
before he heard it, as he was perfectly certain that only one
inspired author ever did, or ever would, pen so sublime a
composition." [See the Appendix to Shield's
Introduction to Harmony.]

Oxford Doctor of Music

Haydn was no Handel, either as man or artist. Handel declined the
Doctor of Music degree with the characteristic remark: "What the
devil I throw my money away for that the blockhead wish?" Haydn
did not decline it, though probably enough he rated the
distinction no higher than Handel did. In the month of July he
went down to the Oxford Commemoration, and was then invested with
the degree. Handel's latest biographer, Mr W. S. Rockstro, says
that the Oxford fees would have cost Handel 100 pounds. Haydn's
note of the expense is not so alarming: "I had to pay one and a
half guineas for the bell peals at Oxforth [sic] when I received
the doctor's degree, and half a guinea for the robe." He seems to
have found the ceremonies a little trying, and not unlikely he
imagined himself cutting rather a ridiculous figure in his
gorgeous robe of cherry and cream-coloured silk. At the concert
following the investiture he seized the gown, and, raising it in
the air, exclaimed in English, "I thank you." "I had to walk
about for three days in this guise," he afterwards wrote, "and
only wish my Vienna friends could have seen me." Haydn's
"exercise" for the degree was the following "Canon cancrizans, a
tre," set to the words, "Thy voice, O harmony, is divine."

[figure: a musical score excerpt]

This was subsequently used for the first of the Ten Commandments,
the whole of which he set to canons during his stay in London.
Three grand concerts formed a feature of the Oxford

The "Oxford" Symphony

At the second of these a symphony in G, written in 1787 or 1788,
and since known as the "Oxford," was performed, with the composer
at the organ. He had taken a new symphony with him for the
occasion, but owing to lack of time for rehearsals, the earlier
work was substituted. Of this latter, the Morning Chronicle wrote
that "a more wonderful composition never was heard. The applause
given to Haydn was enthusiastic; but the merit of the work, in
the opinion of all the musicians present, exceeded all praise."

Holiday Relaxations

The London season having now come to an end, Haydn proceeded to
recruit his energies by paying visits to distinguished people at
their country quarters, taking part in river excursions, picnics,
and the like. Prince Esterhazy had sent him a pressing summons to
return for a great fete which was being organized in honour of
the Emperor, but having entered into new engagements with Salomon
and others, he found it impossible to comply. A less indulgent
employer would have requited him with instant dismissal, but all
that the prince said when they afterwards met was, "Ah, Haydn!
you might have saved me 40,000 florins." His longest visit at
this time was spent with Mr Brassey, a Lombard Street banker,
and ancestor of the present peer. "The banker," he says, "once
cursed because he enjoyed too much happiness in this world." He
gave lessons to Miss Brassey, and "enjoyed the repose of country
life in the midst of a family circle all cordially devoted to
him." In November he was the guest at two Guildhall banquets--that
of the outgoing Lord Mayor on the 5th and that of his successor
on the 9th. Of these entertainments he has left a curious account,
and as the memorandum is in English it may, perhaps, be reproduced
here. It runs as follows in Lady Wallace's translation of the

I was invited to the Lord Mayor's banquet on November 5. At the
first table, No. 1, the new Lord Mayor and his wife dined, the
Lord Chancellor, the two sheriffs, the Duke of Lids [Leeds], the
minister Pitt, and others of the highest rank in the Cabinet. I was
seated at No. 2 with Mr Sylvester, the most celebrated advocate and
first King's counsel in London. In this hall, called the Geld Hall
[Guildhall], were six tables, besides others in the adjoining room.
About twelve hundred persons altogether dined, and everything was
in the greatest splendour. The dishes were very nice and well
dressed. Wines of every kind in abundance. We sat down to dinner at
six o'clock and rose from table at eight. The guests accompanied
the Lord Mayor both before and after dinner in their order of
precedence. There were various ceremonies, sword bearing, and a
kind of golden crown, all attended by a band of wind instruments.
After dinner, the whole of the aristocratic guests of No. 1
withdrew into a private room prepared for them, to have tea and
coffee, while the rest of the company were conducted into another
room. At nine o'clock No. 1 repaired to a small saloon, when the
ball began. There was a raised platform in this room, reserved for
the highest nobility, where the Lord Mayor and his wife were seated
on a throne. Dancing then commenced in due order of precedence,
but only one couple at a time, just as on January 6, the King's
birthday. There were raised benches on both sides of this room
with four steps, where the fair sex chiefly prevailed. Nothing
but minuets were danced in this saloon, but I could only remain for
a quarter of an hour, first, because the heat of so many people
assembled in such a narrow space was so oppressive, and, secondly,
on account of the bad music for dancing, the whole orchestra
consisting of two violins and a violoncello; the minuets were more
in the Polish style than in our own, or that of the Italians.
I proceeded into another room, which really was more like a
subterranean cave than anything else; they were dancing English
dances, and the music here was a degree better, as a drum was
played by one of the violinists! [This might be effected by the
violin player having the drumstick tied to his right foot, which
was sometimes done.]

I went on to the large hall, where we had dined, and there the
orchestra was more numerous, and the music more tolerable. They
were also dancing English dances, but only opposite the raised
platform where the four first sets had dined with the Lord Mayor.
The other tables were all filled afresh with gentlemen, who as
usual drank freely the whole night. The strangest thing of all was
that one part of the company went on dancing without hearing a
single note of the music, for first at one table, and then at
another, songs were shouted, or toasts given, amidst the most crazy
uproar and clinking of glasses and hurrahs. This hall and all the
other rooms were lighted with lamps, of which the effluvia was most
disagreeable, especially in the small ballroom. It was remarkable
that the Lord Mayor had no need of a carving-knife, as a man in the
centre of the table carved everything for him. One man stood before
the Lord Mayor and another behind him, shouting out vociferously
all the toasts in their order according to etiquette, and after
each toast came a flourish of kettledrums and trumpets. No health
was more applauded than that of Mr Pitt. There seemed to be no
order. The dinner cost 6,000 pounds, one-half of which is paid
by the Lord Mayor, and the other half by the two sheriffs.

Royalty Again

In this same month--November--he visited the Marionettes at the
Fantoccini Theatre in Saville Row, prompted, no doubt, by old
associations with Esterhaz. On the 24th he went to Oatlands to
visit the Duke of York, who had just married the Princess of
Prussia. "I remained two days," he says, "and enjoyed many marks
of graciousness and honour... On the third day the Duke had me
taken twelve miles towards town with his own horses. The Prince
of Wales asked for my portrait. For two days we made music for
four hours each evening, i.e., from ten o'clock till two hours
after midnight. Then we had supper, and at three o'clock went to
bed." After this he proceeded to Cambridge to see the university,
thence to Sir. Patrick Blake's at Langham. Of the Cambridge visit
he writes: "Each university has behind it a very roomy and
beautiful garden, besides stone bridges, in order to afford
passage over the stream which winds past. The King's Chapel is
famous for its carving. It is all of stone, but so delicate that
nothing more beautiful could have been made of wood. It has
already stood for 400 years, and everybody judges its age at
about ten years, because of the firmness and peculiar whiteness
of the stone. The students bear themselves like those at Oxford,
but it is said they have better instructors. There are in all 800

From Langham he went to the house of a Mr Shaw, to find in his
hostess the "most beautiful woman I ever saw." Haydn, it may be
remarked in passing, was always meeting the "most beautiful
woman." At one time she was a Mrs Hodges, another of his London
admirers. When quite an old man he still preserved a ribbon which
Mrs Shaw had worn during his visit, and on which his name was
embroidered in gold.

Pleyel in Opposition

But other matters now engaged his attention. The directors of the
Professional Concerts, desiring to take advantage of his popularity,
endeavoured to make him cancel his engagements with Salomon and
Gallini. In this they failed. "I will not," said Haydn, "break my
word to Gallini and Salomon, nor shall any desire for dirty gain
induce me to do them an injury. They have run so great a risk and
gone to so much expense on my account that it is only fair they
should be the gainers by it." Thus defeated in their object, the
Professionals decided to bring over Haydn's own pupil, Ignaz Pleyel,
to beat the German on his own ground. It was not easy to upset
Haydn's equanimity in an affair of this kind; his gentle nature,
coupled with past experiences, enabled him to take it all very
calmly. "From my youth upwards," he wrote, "I have been exposed to
envy, so it does not surprise me when any attempt is made wholly
to crush my poor talents, but the Almighty above is my support....
There is no doubt that I find many who are envious of me in London
also, and I know them almost all. Most of them are Italians. But
they can do me no harm, for my credit with this nation has been
established far too many years." As a rule, he was forbearing enough
with his rivals. At first he wrote of Pleyel: "He behaves himself
with great modesty." Later on he remarked that "Pleyel's presumption
is everywhere criticized." Nevertheless, "I go to all his concerts,
for I love him." It is very pleasant to read all this. But how far
Haydn's feelings towards Pleyel were influenced by patriotic
considerations it is impossible to say.

The defeated Professionals had a certain advantage by being first
in the field in 1792. But Haydn was only a few days behind them
with his opening concert, and the success of the entire series
was in no way affected by the ridiculous rivalry. Symphonies,
divertimenti for concerted instruments, string quartets, a
clavier trio, airs, a cantata, and other works were all produced
at these concerts, and with almost invariable applause. Nor were
Haydn's services entirely confined to the Salomon concerts. He
conducted for various artists, including Barthelemon, the
violinist; Haesler, the pianist; and Madam Mara, of whom he
tells that she was hissed at Oxford for not rising during the
"Hallelujah" Chorus.

Close of the Season

The last concert was given on June 6 "by desire," when Haydn's
compositions were received with "an extasy of admiration." Thus
Salomon's season ended, as the Morning Chronicle put it, with the
greatest eclat. Haydn's subsequent movements need not detain us
long. He made excursions to Windsor Castle and to Ascot "to see
the races," of which he has given an account in his note-book.

Herschel and Haydn

From Ascot he went to Slough, where he was introduced to Herschel.
In this case there was something like real community of tastes, for
the astronomer was musical, having once played the oboe, and later
on acted as organist, first at Halifax Parish Church, and then at
the Octagon Chapel Bath. The big telescope with which he discovered
the planet Uranus in 1781 was an object of great interest to Haydn,
who was evidently amazed at the idea of a man sitting out of doors
"in the most intense cold for five or six hours at a time."

Visits were also paid to Vauxhall Gardens, where "the music is
fairly good" and "coffee and milk cost nothing." "The place and
its diversions," adds Haydn, "have no equal in the world."

At St Paul's

But the most interesting event of this time to Haydn was the
meeting of the Charity Children in St Paul's Cathedral, when
something like 4000 juveniles took part. "I was more touched," he
says in his diary, "by this innocent and reverent music than by
any I ever heard in my life!" And then he notes the following
chant by John Jones: [Jones was organist of St Paul's Cathedral at
this time. His chant, which was really in the key of D, has since
been supplanted. Haydn made an error in bar 12.]

[Figure: a musical score excerpt]

Curiously enough Berlioz was impressed exactly in the same way
when he heard the Charity Children in 1851. He was in London as a
juror at the Great Exhibition; and along with his friend, the
late G. A. Osborne, he donned a surplice and sang bass in the
select choir. He was so moved by the children's singing that he
hid his face behind his music and wept. "It was," he says, "the
realization of one part of my dreams, and a proof that the
powerful effect of musical masses is still absolutely unknown."
[See Berlioz's Life and Letters, English edition, Vol. I., p.

London Acquaintances

Haydn made many interesting acquaintances during this London
visit. Besides those already mentioned, there was
Bartolozzi, the famous engraver, to whose wife he dedicated three
clavier trios and a sonata in E flat (Op. 78), which, so far
unprinted in Germany, is given by Sterndale Bennett in his
Classical Practice. There was also John Hunter, described by
Haydn as "the greatest and most celebrated chyrurgus in London,"
who vainly tried to persuade him to have a polypus removed from
his nose. It was Mrs Hunter who wrote the words for most of his
English canzonets, including the charming "My mother bids me bind
my hair." And then there was Mrs Billington, the famous singer,
whom Michael Kelly describes as "an angel of beauty and the Saint
Cecilia of song." There is no more familiar anecdote than that
which connects Haydn with Sir Joshua Reynolds's portrait of this
notorious character. Carpani is responsible for the tale. He says
that Haydn one day found Mrs Billington sitting to Reynolds, who
was painting her as St Cecilia listening to the angels. "It is
like," said Haydn, "but there is a strange mistake." "What is
that?" asked Reynolds. "You have painted her listening to the
angels. You ought to have represented the angels listening to
her." It is a very pretty story, but it cannot possibly be true.
Reynolds's portrait of Mrs Billington was painted in 1789, two
years before Haydn's arrival, and was actually shown in the
Academy Exhibition of 1790, the last to which Sir Joshua
contributed. [The portrait, a whole length, was sold in 1798
for 325 pounds, 10s., and again at Christie's, in 1845, for 505
guineas--to an American, as usual.] Of course Haydn may have made
the witty remark here attributed to him, but it cannot have been
at the time of the painting of the portrait. That he was an
enthusiastic admirer of Mrs Billington there can be no doubt.

Another Romance

There was another intimacy of more import, about which it is
necessary to speak at some length. When Dies published his
biography of Haydn in 1810 he referred to a batch of love-letters
written to the composer during this visit to London. The
existence of the letters was known to Pohl, who devotes a part of
his Haydn in London to them, and prints certain extracts; but the
letters themselves do not appear to have been printed either in
the original English or in a German translation until Mr Henry
E. Krehbiel, the well-known American musical critic, gave them to
the world through the columns of the New York Tribune. Mr
Krehbiel was enabled to do this by coming into possession of a
transcript of Haydn's London note-book, with which we will deal
presently. Haydn, as he informs us, had copied all the letters
out in full, "a proceeding which tells its own story touching his
feelings towards the missives and their fair author." He
preserved them most carefully among the souvenirs of his visit,
and when Dies asked him about them, he replied: "They are letters
from an English widow in London who loved me. Though sixty years
old, she was still lovely and amiable, and I should in all
likelihood have married her if I had been single." Who was the
lady thus celebrated? In Haydn's note-book the following entry
occurs: "Mistress Schroeter, No. 6 James Street, Buckingham
Gate." The inquiry is here answered: Mistress Schroeter was the

Mistress Schroeter

Haydn, it will be seen, describes her as a widow of sixty.
According to Goldsmith, women and music should never be dated;
but in the present case, there is a not unnatural curiosity to
discover the lady's age. Mr Krehbiel gives good grounds for
doubting Haydn's statement that Mistress Schroeter was sixty when
he met her. She had been married to Johann Samuel Schroeter, an
excellent German musician, who settled in London in 1772.
Schroeter died in 1788, three years before the date of Haydn's
visit, when he was just thirty-eight. Now Dr Burney, who must
have known the family, says that Schroeter "married a young lady
of considerable fortune, who was his scholar, and was in easy
circumstances." If, therefore, Mrs Schroeter was sixty years old
when Haydn made her acquaintance, she must have been nineteen
years her husband's senior, and could not very well be described
as a "young" lady at the time of her marriage.

It is, however, unnecessary to dwell upon the matter of age. The
interesting point is that Haydn fell under the spell of the
charming widow. There is no account of their first meeting; but
it was probably of a purely professional nature. Towards the end
of June 1791 the lady writes: "Mrs Schroeter presents her
compliments to Mr Haydn, and informs him she is just returned to
town, and will be very happy to see him whenever it is convenient
to him to give her a lesson." A woman of sixty should hardly have
been requiring lessons, especially after having been the wife of
a professor who succeeded the "English Bach" as music-master to
the Queen. But lessons sometimes cover a good deal of love-making,
and that was clearly the case with Haydn and Mrs Schroeter.

Love Letters

There is indeed some reason to doubt if the lessons were
continued. At any rate, by February 1792, the affair had ripened
so far as to allow the lady to address the composer as "my dear,"
and disclose her tender solicitude for his health. On the 7th of
the following month she writes that she was "extremely sorry" to
part with him so suddenly the previous night. "Our conversation
was particularly interesting, and I had a thousand affectionate
things to say to you. My heart was and is full of tenderness for
you, but no language can express half the love and affection I
feel for you. You are dearer to me every day of my life."

This was pretty warm, considering that Haydn was still in the
bonds of wedlock. We cannot tell how far he reciprocated the
feeling, his letters, if he wrote any, not having been preserved;
but it may be safely inferred that a lady who was to be "happy to
see you both in the morning and the evening" did not do all the
love-making. On the 4th of April the composer gets a present of
soap, and is the "ever dear Haydn" of the "invariable and truly
affectionate" Mistress Schroeter. He had been working too hard
about this particular date (he notes that he was "bled in London"
on the 17th of March), and on the 12th the "loveress," to use
Marjorie Fleming's term, is "truly anxious" about her "dear
love," for whom her regard is "stronger every day." An extract
from the letter of April 19 may be quoted as it stands:

I was extremely sorry to hear this morning that you were
indisposed. I am told you were five hours at your studies
yesterday. Indeed, my dear love, I am afraid it will hurt
you. Why should you, who have already produced so many
wonderful and charming compositions, still fatigue yourself
with such close application? I almost tremble for your
health. Let me prevail on you, my much-loved Haydn, not
to keep to your studies so long at one time. My dear love,
if you could know how very precious your welfare is to me,
I flatter myself you would endeavour to preserve it for my
sake as well as your own.

Come Early

The next letter shows that Haydn had been deriving some profit
from Mistress Schroeter's affections by setting her to work as an
amanuensis. She has been copying out a march, and is sorry that
she has not done it better. "If my Haydn would employ me oftener
to write music, I hope I should improve; and I know I should
delight in the occupation." Invitations to dine at St James's
Street are repeatedly being sent, for Mistress Schroeter wishes
"to have as much of your company as possible." When others are
expected, Haydn is to come early, so that they may have some time
together "before the rest of our friends come." Does the adored
Schroeter go to one of her "dearest love's" concerts, she thanks
him a thousand times for the entertainment. "Where your sweet
compositions and your excellent performance combine," she writes,
"it cannot fail of being the most charming concert; but, apart
from that, the pleasure of seeing you must ever give me infinite
satisfaction." As the time drew near for Haydn's departure,
"every moment of your company is more and more precious to me."
She begs to assure him with "heart-felt affection" that she will
ever consider the acquaintance with him as one of the chief
blessings of her life. Nay, she entertains for her "dearest
Haydn" "the fondest and tenderest affection the human heart is
capable of." And so on.

An Innocent Amourette

One feels almost brutally rude in breaking in upon the privacy of
this little romance. No doubt the flirtation was inexcusable
enough on certain grounds. But taking the whole circumstances
into account--above all, the loveless, childless home of the
composer--the biographer is disposed to see in the episode merely
that human yearning after affection and sympathy which had been
denied to Haydn where he had most right to expect them. He
admitted that he was apt to be fascinated by pretty and amiable
women, and the woman to whom he had given his name was neither
pretty nor amiable. An ancient philosopher has said that a man
should never marry a plain woman, since his affections would
always be in danger of straying when he met a beauty. This
incident in Haydn's career would seem to support the
philosopher's contention. For the rest, it was probably harmless
enough, for there is nothing to show that the severer codes of
morality were infringed.

The biographers of Haydn have not succeeded in discovering how
the Schroeter amourette ended. The letters printed by Mr
Krehbiel are all confined to the year 1792, and mention is
nowhere made of any of later date. When Haydn returned to London
in 1794, he occupied rooms at No. 1 Bury Street, St James', and
Pohl suggests that he may have owed the more pleasant quarters to
his old admirer, who would naturally be anxious to have him as
near her as possible. A short walk of ten minutes through St
James' Park and the Mall would bring him to Buckingham Palace,
and from that to Mrs Schroeter's was only a stone-throw. Whether
the old affectionate relations were resumed it is impossible to
say. If there were any letters of the second London visit, it is
curious that Haydn should not have preserved them with the rest.
There is no ground for supposing that any disagreement came
between the pair: the facts point rather the other way. When
Haydn finally said farewell to London, he left the scores of his
six last symphonies "in the hands of a lady." Pohl thinks the
lady was Mrs Schroeter, and doubtless he is right. At any rate
Haydn's esteem for her, to use no stronger term, is sufficiently
emphasized by his having inscribed to her the three trios
numbered 1, 2 and 6 in the Breitkopf & Hartel list.

Haydn's Note-Book

Reference has already been made to the diary or note-book kept by
Haydn during his visit. The original manuscript of this curious
document came into the hands of his friend, Joseph Weigl, whose
father had been 'cellist to Prince Esterhazy. A similar diary was
kept during the second visit, but this was lost; and indeed the
first note-book narrowly escaped destruction at the hands of a
careless domestic. Haydn's autograph was at one time in the
possession of Dr Pohl. A copy of it made by A. W. Thayer, the
biographer of Beethoven, in 1862, became, as previously stated,
the property of Mr Krehbiel, who has printed the entries, with
running comment, in his "Music and Manners in the Classical
Period" (London, 1898). Mr Krehbiel rightly describes some of
the entries as mere "vague mnemonic hints," and adds that one
entry which descants in epigrammatic fashion on the comparative
morals of the women of France, Holland and England is unfit for
publication. Looking over the diary, it is instructive to observe
how little reference is made to music. One or two of the entries
are plainly memoranda of purchases to be made for friends. There
is one note about the National Debt of England, another about the
trial of Warren Hastings. London, we learn, has 4000 carts for
cleaning the streets, and consumes annually 800,000 cartloads of
coals. That scandalous book, the Memoirs of Mrs Billington,
which had just been published, forms the subject of a long entry.
"It is said that her [Mrs Billington's] character is very
faulty, but nevertheless she is a great genius, and all the women
hate her because she is so beautiful."

Prince of Wale's Punch

A note is made of the constituents of the Prince of Wales's
punch--"One bottle champagne, one bottle Burgundy, one bottle
rum, ten lemons, two oranges, pound and a half of sugar." A
process for preserving milk "for a long time" is also described.
We read that on the 5th of November (1791) "there was a fog so
thick that one might have spread it on bread. In order to write I
had to light a candle as early as eleven o'clock." Here is a
curious item--"In the month of June 1792 a chicken, 7s.; an
Indian [a kind of bittern found in North America] 9s.; a dozen
larks, 1 coron [? crown]. N.B.--If plucked, a duck, 5s."

Haydn liked a good story, and when he heard one made a note of it.
The diary contains two such stories. One is headed "Anectod," and
runs: "At a grand concert, as the director was about to begin the
first number, the kettledrummer called loudly to him, asking him to
wait a moment, because his two drums were not in tune. The leader
could not and would not wait any longer, and told the drummer to
transpose for the present." The second story is equally good. "An
Archbishop of London, having asked Parliament to silence a preacher
of the Moravian religion who preached in public, the Vice-President
answered that could easily be done: only make him a Bishop, and he
would keep silent all his life."

On the whole the note-book cannot be described as of strong
biographical interest, but a reading of its contents as
translated by Mr Krehbiel will certainly help towards an
appreciation of the personal character of the composer.



Beethoven--Takes Lessons from Haydn--The Relations of the Two
Composers--The Haydn Museum--Haydn starts for London--His Servant
Elssler--The Salomon Concerts--A "Smart" Drummer--New
Acquaintances--Haydn at Bath--Opera Concerts--Kingly Courtesies--
A Valuable Parrot--Rohrau Reminiscences--Esterhaz once more--The
"Austrian Hymn"--Haydn's Love for It--A Charge of Plagiarism.

Haydn left London some time towards the end of June 1792. He had
intended to visit Berlin, in response to an invitation from King
Frederick William II., but he altered his route in order to meet
Prince Anton Esterhazy, who was at Frankfort for the coronation
of the Emperor Francis II.


A more interesting meeting took place at Bonn. Beethoven, then a
young man of twenty-two, was still living with his people in the
Wenzegasse, but already arrangements had been made by the Elector
for his paying a somewhat lengthened visit to Vienna in order to
prosecute his studies there. Since the death of Mozart, Haydn had
become the most brilliant star in the musical firmament, and it
was only natural that the rising genius should look to him for
practical help and encouragement. It so happened that the
Elector's Band, of which Beethoven was a member, gave a dinner to
Haydn at Godesberg. The occasion was opportune. Beethoven
submitted a cantata to the guest of the evening which Haydn
"greatly praised, warmly encouraging the composer to proceed with
his studies." The name of the cantata has not been ascertained,
though Thayer conjectures it to have been on the death of the
Emperor Leopold II.

Whatever it was, the fact of Haydn's approval would make it an
easy matter to discuss the subject of lessons, whether now or
later. Beethoven did not start for Vienna until November, and
it appears that immediately before that date some formal
communication had been made with Haydn in reference to his
studies. On the 29th of October Count Waldstein wrote:

"DEAR BEETHOVEN,--You are travelling to Vienna in fulfillment of
your long-cherished wish. The genius of Mozart is still weeping
and bewailing the death of her favourite. With the inexhaustible
Haydn she found a refuge, but no occupation, and is now waiting to
leave him and join herself to someone else. Labour assiduously,
and receive Mozart's spirit from the hands of Haydn."

This was not exactly complimentary to Haydn, but Beethoven
doubtless had the good sense not to repeat the count's words.
When the young artist arrived in Vienna, he found Haydn living at
the Hamberger Haus, No. 992 (since demolished), and thither he
went for his lessons. From Beethoven's own notes of expenses we
find that his first payment was made to Haydn on December 12. The
sum entered is 8 groschen (about 9 1/2 d.), which shows at least
that Haydn was not extravagant in his charges.

Master and Pupil

Beethoven's studies were in strict counterpoint, and the text-book
was that same "Gradus ad Parnassum" of Fux which Haydn had himself
contended with in the old days at St Stephen's. How many exercises
Beethoven wrote cannot be said, but 245 have been preserved, of
which, according to Nottebohm, Haydn corrected only forty-two.
Much ink has been wasted in discussing the relations of these
distinguished composers. There is no denying that Haydn neglected
his young pupil, but one may find another excuse for the neglect
besides that of his increasing age and his engrossing occupations.
Beethoven was already a musical revolutionist: Haydn was content
to walk in the old ways. The two men belonged almost to different
centuries, and the disposition which the younger artist had for
"splendid experiments" must have seemed to the mature musician
little better than madness and licentious irregularity. "He will
never do anything in decent style," was Albrechtsberger's dictum
after giving Beethoven a series of lessons.

Haydn's opinion of Beethoven's future was not so dogmatically
expressed; but he must have been sorely puzzled by a pupil who
looked upon even consecutive fifths as an open question, and
thought it a good thing to "learn occasionally what is according
to rule that one may hereafter come to what is contrary to rule."
It is said that Haydn persisted in regarding Beethoven, not as a
composer at all but as a pianoforte player; and certainly
Beethoven regarded Haydn as being behind the age. That he was
unjust to Haydn cannot be gainsaid. He even went so far as to
suspect Haydn of willfully trying to retard him in his studies, a
proceeding of which Haydn was altogether incapable. For many
years he continued to discharge splenetic remarks about his
music, and he was always annoyed at being called his pupil. "I
never learned anything from Haydn," he would say; "he never would
correct my mistakes." When, the day after the production of his
ballet music to Prometheus, he met Haydn in the street, the old
man observed to him: "I heard your music last night; I liked it
very well." To which Beethoven, alluding to Haydn's oratorio,
replied: "Oh! dear master, it is far from being a CREATION."
The doubtful sincerity of this remark may be inferred from an
anecdote quoted by Moscheles. Haydn had been told that Beethoven
was speaking depreciatingly of "The Creation." "That is wrong of
him," he said. "What has HE written, then? His Septet? Certainly
that is beautiful; nay, splendid."

Beethoven on Haydn

It is hardly necessary to say who comes out best in these
passages at arms. Yet we must not be too hard on Beethoven. That
he recognized Haydn's genius as a composer no careful reader of
his biography can fail to see. As Pohl takes pains to point out,
he spoke highly of Haydn whenever opportunity offered, often
chose one of his themes when improvising in public, scored one
of his quartets for his own use, and lovingly preserved the
autograph of one of the English symphonies. That he came in the
end to realize his true greatness is amply proved by the story
already related which represents him as exclaiming on his
death-bed upon the fact of Haydn having been born in a common
peasant's cottage.

In the meantime, although Beethoven was dissatisfied with his
progress under Haydn, there was no open breach between the two.
It is true that the young musician sought another teacher--one
Schenck, a well-known Viennese composer--but this was done
without Haydn's knowledge, out of consideration, we may assume,
for his feelings. That master and pupil were still on the best of
terms may be gathered from their having been at Eisenstadt
together during the summer of 1793. In the January of the
following year Haydn set out on his second visit to England, and
Beethoven transferred himself to Albrechtsberger.

The Haydn Museum

Haydn's life in Vienna during the eighteen months which
intervened between the two London visits was almost totally
devoid of incident. His wife, it will be remembered, had written
to him in England, asking for money to buy a certain house which
she fancied for a "widow's home." Haydn was astute enough not to
send the money, but on his return to Vienna, finding the house
in every way to his liking, he bought it himself. Frau Haydn died
seven years later, "and now," said the composer, speaking in
1806, "I am living in it as a widower." The house is situated in
the suburb of Vienna known as Gumpendorf. It is No. 19 of the
Haydngasse and bears a marble memorial tablet, affixed to it in
1840. The pious care of the composer's admirers has preserved it
almost exactly as it was in Haydn's day, and has turned it into
a kind of museum containing portraits and mementoes of the master,
the original manuscript of "The Creation," and other interesting

Starts for London

Haydn started on his journey to England on January 19, 1794,
Salomon having brought him, under a promise to return with six
new symphonies which be was to conduct in person. This time he
travelled down the Rhine, and he had not been many days on the way
when news reached him of the death of Prince Anton Esterhazy, who
had very reluctantly given him leave of absence. On the occasion of
the first London visit Salomon had been his travelling companion;
now, feeling doubtless the encumbrance of increasing years, Haydn
took his servant and copyist, Johann Elssler, along with him.

Honest Elssler

It may be noted in passing that he entertained a very warm regard
for Elssler, whose father had been music copyist to Prince
Esterhazy. He was born at Eisenstadt in 1769, and, according to
Pohl, lived the whole of his life with Haydn, first as copyist, and
then as general servant and factotum. It was Elssler who tended the
composer in his last years, a service recompensed by the handsome
bequest of 6000 florins, which he lived to enjoy until 1843. No
man, it has been said, is a hero to his valet, but "Haydn was to
Elssler a constant subject of veneration, which he carried so far
that when he thought himself unobserved he would stop with the
censer before his master's portrait as if it were the altar." This
"true and honest servant" copied a large amount of Haydn's music,
partly in score, partly in separate parts, much of which is now
treasured as the autograph of Haydn, though the handwritings of
the two are essentially different. It is a pity that none of the
earlier writers on Haydn thought of applying to Elssler for
particulars of the private life of the composer. He could have
given information on many obscure points, and could have amplified
the details of this second London visit, about which we know much
less than we know about the former visit.

The Salomon Concerts

Salomon's first concert had been arranged for the 3rd of
February, but Haydn did not arrive until the 4th, and the series
accordingly began upon the 10th. Twelve concerts were given in
all, and with the most brilliant success. The six new symphonies
commissioned by Salomon were performed, and the previous set were
also repeated, along with some new quartets. Of the many
contemporary notices of the period, perhaps the most interesting
is that which appears in the Journal of Luxury and Fashion,
published at Weimar in July 1794. It is in the form of a London
letter, written on March 25, under the heading of "On the Present
State and Fashion of Music in England." After speaking of
Salomon's efforts on behalf of classical music and of the praise
due to him for his performance of the quartets of "our old
favourite, Haydn," the writer continues: "But what would you now
say to his new symphonies composed expressly for these concerts,
and directed by himself at the piano? It is truly wonderful what
sublime and august thoughts this master weaves into his works.
Passages often occur which render it impossible to listen to them
without becoming excited. We are altogether carried away by
admiration, and forced to applaud with hand and mouth. This is
especially the case with Frenchmen, of whom we have so many here
that all public places are filled with them. You know that they
have great sensibility, and cannot restrain their transports, so
that in the midst of the finest passages in soft adagios they
clap their hands in loud applause and thus mar the effect. In
every symphony of Haydn the adagio or andante is sure to be
repeated each time, after the most vehement encores. The worthy
Haydn, whose personal acquaintance I highly value, conducts
himself on these occasions in the most modest manner. He is
indeed a good-hearted, candid, honest man, esteemed and beloved
by all."

Several notable incidents occurred at the Salomon Concerts. It
has been remarked, as "an event of some interest in musical
history," that Haydn and Wilhelm Cramer appeared together at one
concert, Cramer as leader of the orchestra, Haydn conducting from
the pianoforte. But Cramer was not a genius of the first rank--
his compositions are of the slightest importance--and there was
nothing singular about his appearing along with Haydn. He had
been leader at the Handel Festivals at Westminster Abbey in 1784
and 1787, and was just the man to be engaged for an enterprise
like that of Salomon's.

A "Smart" Drummer

An anecdote told of Haydn in connection with one of the rehearsals
is better worth noting. The drummer was found to be absent. "Can
anyone here play the drum?" inquired Haydn, looking round from
his seat at the piano. "I can," promptly replied young George
(afterwards Sir George) Smart, who was sitting among the
violinists. Smart, who lived to become the doyen of the musical
profession in England, had never handled a drumstick before,
and naturally failed to satisfy the conductor. Haydn took the
drumstick from him and "showed to the astonished orchestra a new
and unexpected attitude in their leader." Then, turning to Smart,
he remarked: "That is how we use the drumsticks in Germany."
"Oh, very well," replied the unabashed youth, "if you like it
better in that way we can also do it so in London."

New Acquaintances

Haydn made several new acquaintances during this visit, the most
notable being, perhaps, Dragonetti, the famous double-bass
player, who had accompanied Banti, the eminent prima donna, to
London in 1794. Banti had been discovered as a chanteuse in a
Paris cafe, and afterwards attracted much notice by her fine
voice both in Paris and London. "She is the first singer in
Italy, and drinks a bottle of wine every day," said one who knew
her. In her journeys through Germany, Austria and Italy she won
many triumphs. Haydn composed for her an air, "Non Partir," in E,
which she sang at his benefit. As for "Old Drag," the familiar
designation of the distinguished bassist, his eccentricities must
have provided Haydn with no little amusement. He always took his
dog Carlo with him into the orchestra, and Henry Phillips tells
us that, having a strange weakness for dolls, he often carried
one of them to the festivals as his wife! On his way to Italy in
1798 Dragonetti visited Haydn in Vienna, and was much delighted
with the score of "The Creation," just completed. Several eminent
violinists were in London at the time of Haydn's visit. The most
distinguished of them was perhaps Felice de Giardini, who, at the
age of fourscore, produced an oratorio at Ranelagh Gardens, and
even played a concerto. He had a perfectly volcanic temper, and
hated Haydn as the devil is said to hate holy water. "I don't
wish to see the German dog," he remarked in the composer's
hearing, when urged to pay him a visit. Haydn, as a rule, was
kindly disposed to all brother artists, but to be called a dog
was too much, He went to hear Giardini, and then got even with
him by noting in his diary that he "played like a pig."

The accounts preserved of Haydn's second visit to England are, as
already remarked, far less full than those of the first visit.
Unconnected memoranda appear in his diary, some of which are
given by Griesinger and Dies; but they are of comparatively
little interest. During the summer of 1794 he moved about the
country a good deal. Thus, about the 26th of August, he paid a
visit to Waverley Abbey, whose "Annales Waverliensis" suggested
to Scott the name of his first romance. The ruined condition of
the venerable pile--it dates from 1128--set Haydn moralizing on
the "Protestant heresy" which led the "rascal mob" to tear down
"what had once been a stronghold of his own religion."

Haydn at Bath

In the following month he spent three days in Bath with Dr Burney,
and Rauzzini, the famous tenor, who had retired to the fashionable
watering-place after a successful career of thirteen years as a
singer and teacher in London. Rauzzini is little more than a name
now, but for Haydn's sake it is worth recalling his memory. Born at
Rome in 1747, his striking beauty of face and figure had drawn him
into certain entanglements which made it expedient for him to leave
his native land. He was as fond of animals as Dragonetti was of
dolls, and had erected a memorial tablet in his garden to his "best
friend," otherwise his dog. "Turk was a faithful dog and not a
man," ran the inscription, which reminds one of Schopenhauer's
cynical observation that if it were not for the honest faces of
dogs, we should forget the very existence of sincerity. When Haydn
read the inscription he immediately proceeded to make use of the
words for a four-part canon. It was presumably at this time that he
became acquainted with Dr Henry Harington, the musician and author,
who had removed to Bath in 1771, where he had founded the Harmonic
Society. Haydn dedicated one of his songs to him in return for
certain music and verses, which explains the following otherwise
cryptic note of Clementi's, published for the first time recently
by Mr J. S. Shedlock: "The first Dr [Harington] having bestowed
much praise on the second Dr [Haydn], the said second Dr, out of
doctorial gratitude, returns the 1st Dr thanks for all favours
recd., and praises in his turn the said 1st Dr most handsomely."
The title of Haydn's song was "Dr Harington's Compliments."

Opera Concerts

The composer returned to London at the beginning of October for
the winter season's concerts. These began, as before, in
February, and were continued once a week up to the month of May.
This time they took the form of opera concerts, and were given
at the "National School of Music" in the new concert-room of the
King's Theatre. No fresh symphonies were contributed by Haydn for
this series, though some of the old ones always found a place in
the programmes. Two extra concerts were given on May 21 and June 1,
at both of which Haydn appeared; but the composer's last benefit
concert was held on May 4. On this occasion the programme was
entirely confined to his own compositions, with the exception of
concertos by Viotti, the violinist, and Ferlendis, the oboist. Banti
sang the aria already mentioned as having been written expressly for
her, but, according to the composer, "sang very scanty." The main
thing, however, was that the concert proved a financial success,
the net receipts amounting to 400 pounds. "It is only in England,"
said Haydn, "that one can make 4000 gulden in one evening."

Haydn did indeed remarkably well in London. As Pohl says, "he
returned from it with increased powers, unlimited fame, and a
competence for life. By concerts, lessons, and symphonies, not
counting his other compositions, he had again made 1200 pounds, enough
to relieve him from all anxiety as to the future. He often said
afterwards that it was not till he had been to England that he
became famous in Germany; by which he meant that although his
reputation was high at home, the English were the first to give
him public homage and liberal remuneration."

Kingly Courtesies

It is superfluous to say that Haydn was as much of a "lion" in
London society during his second visit as he had been on the
previous occasion. The attention bestowed on him in royal circles
made that certain, for "society" are sheep, and royalty is their
bell-wether. The Prince of Wales had rather a fancy for him, and
commanded his attendance at Carlton House no fewer than twenty-six
times. At one concert at York House the programme was entirely
devoted to his music. George III and Queen Caroline were present,
and Haydn was presented to the King by the Prince. "You have
written a great deal, Dr Haydn," said the King. "Yes, sire,"
was the reply; "more than is good for me." "Certainly not,"
rejoined His Majesty. He was then presented to the Queen, and
asked to sing some German songs. "My voice," he said, pointing
to the tip of his little finger, "is now no bigger than that";
but he sat down to the pianoforte and sang his song, "Ich bin
der Verliebteste." He was repeatedly invited by the Queen to
Buckingham Palace, and she tried to persuade him to settle in
England. "You shall have a house at Windsor during the summer
months," she said, and then, looking towards the King, added,
"We can sometimes make music tete-a-tete." "Oh! I am not jealous
of Haydn," interposed the King; "he is a good, honourable German."
"To preserve that reputation," replied Haydn, "is my greatest

Most of Haydn's appearances were made at the concerts regularly
organized for the entertainment of royalty at Carlton House and
Buckingham Palace, and Haydn looked to be paid for his services.
Whether the King and the Prince expected him to give these
services in return for the supposed honour they had conferred
upon him does not appear. At all events, Haydn sent in a bill for
100 guineas sometime after his return to Vienna, and the amount
was promptly paid by Parliament.

A Valuable Parrot

Among the other attentions bestowed upon him while in London,
mention should be made of the present of a talking parrot. Haydn
took the bird with him, and it was sold for 140 pounds after his
death. Another gift followed him to Vienna. A Leicester
manufacturer named Gardiner--he wrote a book on The Music of
Nature, and other works--sent him half a dozen pairs of cotton
stockings, into which were woven the notes of the Austrian Hymn,
"My mother bids me bind my hair," the Andante from the "Surprise"
Symphony, and other thematic material. These musical stockings,
as a wit has observed, must have come as a REAL surprise to
Haydn. It was this same Leicester manufacturer, we may remark
parenthetically, who annotated the translation of Bombet's Life
of Haydn, made by his fellow-townsman, Robert Brewin, in 1817.

Haydn's return from London was hastened by the receipt of a
communication from Esterhaz. Prince Anton had been succeeded by
his son Nicolaus, who was as fond of music as the rest of his
family, and desired to keep his musical establishment up to the
old standard. During the summer of 1794 he had written to Haydn,
asking if the composer would care to retain his appointment as
director. Haydn was only too glad to assent; and now that his
London engagements were fulfilled, he saw no reason for remaining
longer in England. Accordingly he started for home on the 15th of
August 1795, travelling by way of Hamburg, Berlin and Dresden,
and arriving at Vienna in the early days of September.

Rohrau Reminiscences

Soon after his return he was surprised to receive an invitation
to visit his native Rohrau. When he arrived there he found that a
monument, with a marble bust of himself, had been erected to his
honour in a park near his birthplace. This interesting memorial
consists of a square pillar surmounting three stone steps, with
an inscription on each side. The visit was productive of mingled
feelings to Haydn. He took his friends to see the old thatch-roofed
cottage, and, pointing to the familiar stove, still in its place,
modestly remarked that there his career as a musician began--a
reminiscence of the now far-away time when he sat by his father's
side and sawed away on his improvised fiddle.

Esterhaz once more

There is little to say about Haydn's labours as Capellmeister of
the Esterhazy household at this time. Apparently he was only at
Eisenstadt for the summer and autumn. Down to 1802, however, he
always had a mass ready for Princess Esterhazy's name-day in
September. These compositions are Nos. 2, 1, 3, 16, 4 and 6 of
the Novello edition. No. 2, Pohl tells us, was composed in 1796,
and called the "Paukenmesse," from the fact of the drums being
used in the Agnus. No. 3 was written in 1797. It is known in
England as the Imperial Mass, but in Germany as "Die
Nelsonmesse," on account of its having been performed during
Nelson's visit to Eisenstadt in 1800. On that occasion Nelson
asked Haydn for his pen, and gave him his own gold watch in

The Austrian Hymn

It was shortly after his return to Vienna--in January 1797, to be
precise--that he composed his favourite air, "God preserve the
Emperor," better known as the Austrian Hymn. The story of this
celebrated composition is worth telling with some minuteness. Its
inception was due to Count von Saurau, Imperial High Chancellor
and Minister of the Interior. Writing in 1820, the count said:

I often regretted that we had not, like the English, a national
air calculated to display to all the world the loyal devotion of
our people to the kind and upright ruler of our Fatherland, and
to awaken within the hearts of all good Austrians that noble
national pride so indispensable to the energetic fulfillment of
all the beneficial measures of the sovereign. This seemed to me
more urgent at a period when the French Revolution was raging
most furiously, and when the Jacobins cherished the idle hope of
finding among the worthy Viennese partisans and participators
in their criminal designs. [The scandalous Jacobin persecutions
and executions in Austria and Hungary took place in 1796].
I caused that meritorious poet Haschka to write the words,
and applied to our immortal countryman Haydn to set them to
music, for I considered him alone capable of writing anything
approaching in merit to the English "God save the King." Such
was the origin of our national hymn.

It would not have been difficult to match "God save the King,"
the mediocrity of which, especially as regards the words, has
been the butt of countless satirists. Beethoven wrote in his
diary that he "must show the English what a blessing they have"
in that "national disgrace." If Haydn regarded it as a
"blessing," he certainly did not take it as a model. He produced
an air which, looking at it from a purely artistic point of view,
is the best thing of the national anthem kind that has ever been
written. The Emperor was enchanted with it when sung on his
birthday, February 12, 1797, at the National Theatre in Vienna,
and through Count Saurau sent the composer a gold box adorned
with a facsimile of the royal features. "Such a surprise and such
a mark of favour, especially as regards the portrait of my
beloved monarch," wrote Haydn, "I never before received in
acknowledgment of my poor talents."

Haydn's Love for It

We have several indications of Haydn's predilection for this fine
air, which has long been popular as a hymn tune in all the
churches. He wrote a set of variations for it as the Andante of
his "Kaiser Quartet." Griesinger tells us, too, that as often as
the warm weather and his strength permitted, during the last few
years of his life, he used to be led into his back room that he
might play it on the piano. It is further related by Dies that,
during the bombardment of Vienna in May 1809, Haydn seated
himself at his instrument every forenoon to give forth the sound
of the favourite song. Indeed, on May 26, only five days before
his death, he played it over three times in succession, and "with
a degree of expression that astonished himself." As one writer
puts it, the air "seemed to have acquired a certain sacredness
in his eyes in an age when kings were beheaded and their crowns
tossed to the rabble."

Haydn's first sketch of the melody was found among his papers
after his death. We reproduce it here, with an improvement
shown in small notes. There are, it will be observed, some slight
differences between the draft and the published version of the air:

[figure: a musical score excerpt from the draft]

[figure: a musical score excerpt from the published version]

The collecting of what Tennyson called "the chips of the
workshop" is not as a rule an edifying business, but the
evolution of a great national air must always be interesting.

Plagiarism or Coincidence?

It might perhaps be added that Dr Kuhac, the highest authority
on Croatian folk-song, asserted in an article contributed to the
Croatian Review (1893) that the Austrian National Hymn was based
on a Croatian popular air. In reviewing Kuhac's collection of
Croatian melodies, a work in four volumes, containing 1600
examples, Dr Reimann signifies his agreement with Kuhac, and
adds that Haydn employed Croatian themes not only in "God
preserve the Emperor," but in many passages of his other works.
These statements must not be taken too seriously. Handel purloined
wholesale from brother composers and said nothing about it. The
artistic morality of Haydn's age was different, and, knowing his
character as we do, we may be perfectly sure that if he had of
set purpose introduced into any of his compositions music which
was not his own he would, in some way or other, have acknowledged
the debt. This hunting for plagiarisms which are not plagiarisms
at all but mere coincidences--coincidences which are and must be
inevitable--is fast becoming a nuisance, and it is the duty of
every serious writer to discredit the practice. The composer of
"The Creation" had no need to borrow his melodies from any



Haydn's Crowning Achievement--"The Creation" suggested--The
"Unintelligible Jargon" of the Libretto--The Stimulating Effect
of London--Haydn's Self-Criticism--First Performance of "The
Creation"--London Performances--French Enthusiasm--The Oratorio
criticized--"The Seasons."

Haydn's Crowning Achievement

Haydn rounded his life with "The Creation" and "The Seasons."
They were the summit of his achievement, as little to be expected
from him, considering his years, as "Falstaff" was to be expected
from the octogenarian Verdi. Some geniuses flower late. It was
only now, by his London symphonies and his "Creation," that
Haydn's genius blossomed so luxuriantly as to place him with
almost amazing suddenness among the very first of composers.
There is hardly anything more certain than this, that if he had
not come to London he would not have stood where he stands to-day.
The best of his symphonies were written for London; and it was
London, in effect, that set him to work in what was for him
practically a new direction, leading to the production of an
oratorio which at once took its place by the side of Handel's
master-pieces, and rose to a popularity second only to that of
"The Messiah" itself.

"The Creation" suggested

The connection thus established between the names of Handel and
Haydn is interesting, for there can be little question that Haydn
was led to think of writing a large choral work chiefly as the
result of frequently hearing Handel's oratorios during his visits
to the metropolis. The credit of suggesting "The Creation" to
Haydn is indeed assigned to Salomon, but it is more than probable
that the matter had already been occupying his thoughts. It has
been explicitly stated [See note by C.H. Purday in
Leisure Hour for 1880, p. 528.] that, being greatly impressed
with the effect produced by "The Messiah," Haydn intimated to his
friend Barthelemon his desire to compose a work of the same kind.
He asked Barthelemon what subject he would advise for such a
purpose, and Barthelemon, pointing to a copy of the Bible,
replied: "There! take that, and begin at the beginning." This
story is told on apparently good authority. But it hardly fits in
with the statements of biographers. According to the biographers,
Salomon handed the composer a libretto originally selected for
Handel from Genesis and Paradise Lost by Mr Lidley or Liddell.
That this was the libretto used by Haydn is certain, and we may
therefore accept it as a fact that Haydn's most notable
achievement in choral music was due in great measure to the man
who had brought him to London, and had drawn from him the finest
of his instrumental works.

"The Creation" Libretto

Before proceeding further we may deal finally with the libretto
of "The Creation." The "unintelligible jargon" which disfigures
Haydn's immortal work has often formed the subject of comment; and
assuredly nothing that can be said of it can well be too severe.
"The Creation" libretto stands to the present day as an example of
all that is jejune and incongruous in words for music. The theme
has in itself so many elements of inspiration that it is a matter
for wonder how, for more than a century, English-speaking audiences
have listened to the arrant nonsense with which Haydn's music is
associated. As has been well observed, "the suburban love-making of
our first parents, and the lengthy references to the habits of the
worm and the leviathan are almost more than modern flesh and blood
can endure." Many years ago a leading musical critic wrote that
there ought to be enough value, monetarily speaking, in "The
Creation" to make it worth while preparing a fresh libretto; for,
said he, "the present one seems only fit for the nursery, to use in
connection with Noah's ark." At the Norwich Festival performance of
the oratorio in 1872, the words were, in fact, altered, but in all
the published editions of the work the text remains as it was. It
is usual to credit the composer's friend, Baron van Swieten, with
the "unintelligible jargon." The baron certainly had a considerable
hand in the adaptation of the text. But in reality it owes its very
uncouth verbiage largely to the circumstance that it was first
translated from English into German, and then re-translated back
into English; the words, with the exception of the first chorus,
being adapted to the music. Considering the ways of translators,
the best libretto in the world could not but have suffered under
such transformations, and it is doing a real injustice to the
memory of Baron Swieten, the good friend of more than one composer,
to hold him up needlessly to ridicule. [In one of George Thomson's
letters to Mrs Hunter we read: "It it is not the first time that
your muse and Haydn's have met, as we see from the beautiful
canzonets. Would he had been directed by you about the words to
'The Creation'! It is lamentable to see such divine music joined
with such miserable broken English. He (Haydn) wrote me lately that
in three years, by the performance of 'The Creation' and 'The
Seasons' at Vienna, 40,000 florins had been raised for the poor
families of musicians."]

The Stimulus of London

Haydn set to work on "The Creation" with all the ardour of a first
love. Naumann suggests that his high spirits were due to the
"enthusiastic plaudits of the English people," and that the birth
of both "The Creation" and "The Seasons" was "unquestionably owing
to the new man he felt within himself after his visit to England."
There was now, in short, burning within his breast, "a spirit of
conscious strength which he knew not he possessed, or knowing, was
unaware of its true worth." This is somewhat exaggerated. Handel
wrote "The Messiah" in twenty-four days; it took Haydn the best part
of eighteen months to complete "The Creation," from which we may
infer that "the sad laws of time" had not stopped their operation
simply because he had been to London. No doubt, as we have already
more than hinted, he was roused and stimulated by the new scenes
and the unfamiliar modes of life which he saw and experienced in
England. His temporary release from the fetters of official life
had also an exhilarating influence. So much we learn indeed from
himself. Thus, writing from London to Frau von Genzinger, he says:
"Oh, my dear, good lady, how sweet is some degree of liberty! I had
a kind prince, but was obliged at times to be dependent on base
souls. I often sighed for freedom, and now I have it in some
measure. I am quite sensible of this benefit, though my mind is
burdened with more work. The consciousness of being no longer a
bond-servant sweetens all my toils." If this liberty, this contact
with new people and new forms of existence, had come to Haydn twenty
years earlier, it might have altered the whole current of his
career. But it did not help him much in the actual composition
of "The Creation," which he found rather a tax, alike on his
inspiration and his physical powers. Writing to Breitkopf &
Hartel on June 12, 1799, he says: "The world daily pays me many
compliments, even on the fire of my last works; but no one could
believe the strain and effort it costs me to produce these,
inasmuch as many a day my feeble memory and the unstrung state of
my nerves so completely crush me to the earth, that I fall into the
most melancholy condition, so much so that for days afterwards I am
incapable of finding one single idea, till at length my heart is
revived by Providence, when I seat myself at the piano and begin
once more to hammer away at it. Then all goes well again, God be


In the same letter he remarks that, "as for myself, now an old
man, I hope the critics may not handle my 'Creation' with too
great severity, and be too hard on it. They may perhaps find the
musical orthography faulty in various passages, and perhaps other
things also which I have for so many years been accustomed to
consider as minor points; but the genuine connoisseur will see
the real cause as readily as I do, and will willingly cast aside
such stumbling blocks." It is impossible to miss the significance
of all this.

[At this point in the original book, a facsimile of a letter
regarding "The Creation" takes up the entire next page.]

Certainly it ought to be taken into account in any critical
estimate of "The Creation"; for when a man admits his own
shortcomings it is ungracious, to say the least, for an outsider
to insist upon them. It is obvious at any rate that Haydn
undertook the composition of the oratorio in no light-hearted
spirit. "Never was I so pious," he says, "as when composing 'The
Creation.' I felt myself so penetrated with religious feeling
that before I sat down to the pianoforte I prayed to God with
earnestness that He would enable me to praise Him worthily." In
the lives of the great composers there is only one parallel to
this frame of mind--the religious fervour in which Handel
composed "The Messiah."

First Performance of the Oratorio

The first performance of "The Creation" was of a purely private
nature. It took place at the Schwartzenburg Palace, Vienna, on
the 29th of April 1798, the performers being a body of
dilettanti, with Haydn presiding over the orchestra. Van Swieten
had been exerting himself to raise a guarantee fund for the
composer, and the entire proceeds of the performance, amounting
to 350 pounds, were paid over to him. Haydn was unable to describe
his sensations during the progress of the work. "One moment," he
says, "I was as cold as ice, the next I seemed on fire; more than
once I thought I should have a fit." A year later, on the 19th of
March 1799, to give the exact date, the oratorio was first heard
publicly at the National Theatre in Vienna, when it produced the
greatest effect. The play-bill announcing the performance (see
next page) had a very ornamental border, and was, of course, in

[At this point in the original book, a facsimile of the first
play-bill for "The Creation" takes up the entire next page.]

Next year the score was published by Breitkopf & Hartel, and no
fewer than 510 copies, nearly half the number subscribed for,
came to England. The title-page was printed both in German and
English, the latter reading as follows: "The Creation: an
Oratorio composed by Joseph Haydn, Doctor of Musik, and member of
the Royal Society of Musik, in Sweden, in actuel (sic) service of
His Highness the Prince of Esterhazy, Vienna, 1800." Clementi had
just set up a musical establishment in London, and on August 22,
1800, we find Haydn writing to his publishers to complain that
he was in some danger of losing 2000 gulden by Clementi's
non-receipt of a consignment of copies.

London Performances

Salomon, strangely enough, had threatened Haydn with penalties
for pirating his text, but he thought better of the matter, and


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