Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/716

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704
HAYDN.
 

Reutter took the hint, and on the festival of St. Leopold (Nov. 15), 1748, celebrated at the monastery of Klosterneuburg, near Vienna, gave the 'Salve Regina' to Michael, who sang it so beautifully as to charm both Emperor and Empress, from whom he received 24 ducats in gold.

Joseph was thus completely supplanted by his brother. His voice had lost all its power, and he was oppressed with grief and anxiety. In the midst of his trouble Reutter suggested a means by which his voice might be preserved, and even improved; and referred him to the court chapel, which contained at least a dozen 'castrati.' Haydn's father however, having probably heard of the proposal, came in all haste to Vienna, and saved his son.

His days at the Cantorei were now numbered. He was of no use as a singer, and it does not seem to have occurred to any one that he might be employed as a violinist. Reutter did not consider himself in the least bound to look after his future, and was only waiting for an opportunity to get rid of him. This occurred soon enough, and Haydn himself furnished the pretext. Always full of fun, and inclined to practical jokes, he one day tried a new pair of scissors on the pigtail of a schoolfellow. The pigtail fell, but the culprit was condemned to a caning on the hand. In vain he begged to be let off, declaring he would rather leave than submit to the indignity. That he might do, Reutter said, but he must first be caned and then dismissed.

Haydn was thus thrown upon the world, with an empty purse, a keen appetite, and no friends. The first person to help him was Spangler, a chorister of St. Michael's. He offered him shelter; a few pupils presented themselves, and a good Viennese lent him 150 florins, which enabled him to rent an attic in the old Michaelerhaus, attached to the college of St. Barnabas, in the Kohlmarkt. Here he abandoned himself to the study of composition, and made acquaintance with the master who more than any other became his model—Emmanuel Bach. Having acquired his first 6 Clavier-Sonatas, he pored over them at his little worm-eaten clavier—and how thoroughly he mastered their style his compositions show. Indeed Bach afterwards sent him word, that he alone fully understood his writings, and knew how to use them. Besides the clavier, he diligently practised the violin, so that 'although,' as he said, 'no conjurer on any instrument, he was able to play a concerto.' About this time (1751–52, not 1742 as is always said) he composed his first Mass, in F (No. 11 in Novello's edition). It bears unmistakable evidences of undeveloped and unaided talent. Haydn had forgotten its very existence when, to his great delight, he discovered it in his old age, and inserted additional wind parts.

Having accidentally become acquainted with Felix Kurz, a favourite comic actor at the Stadttheater, Haydn was asked to set his comic opera, 'Der neue krumme Teufel,' a kind of magic farce, interspersed with songs and a few instrumental pieces; and received for it a considerable sum. It was produced at the Stadttheater in the spring of 1752, and frequently repeated in Vienna, Prague, Berlin, Saxony, and the Breisgau. The libretto has been preserved, but the music is lost. Metastasio was then living in the same house with Haydn. He shared the apartments of a Spanish family to whom he was much attached, and superintended the education of the two daughters. The musical training of the elder, Marianne de Martines, was confided to Haydn, who in this way became acquainted with Porpora, then teaching singing to the mistress of Correr, the Venetian ambassador. Porpora proposed that Haydn should act as his accompanyist, thus giving him an opportunity of learning his method. He took him to the baths of Mannersdorf, on the confines of Hungary, where they remained for some months, and, in return indeed for various menial offices, gave him instruction in composition. At Mannersdorf, at the soirées of Prince Hildburghausen, Haydn met Bonno, Wagenseil, Gluck, and Dittersdorf, to the last of whom he became much attached. Gluck advised his going to Italy. Burney heard his quartets finely played at Gluck's house in 1772. One by one he procured all the known theoretical works, and thoroughly mastered their contents, especially Fux's 'Gradus,' which he afterwards used as the foundation of his own teaching. He had had, as we have seen, no regular musical training; but by industry, careful observation, and reiterated attempts, he gradually attained that independence which gave the impress of originality to all his works.

Haydn now made the important acquaintance of Karl Joseph Edlen von Fürnberg, a wealthy proprietor and enthusiastic amateur, who passed the greater part of the year at Weinzirl, near the monastery of Melk. Here he had constant performances of string trios and quartets; he invited Haydn to stay with him, and encouraged him to compose his first quartet (1755, hitherto misdated 1750)—

{ \time 6/8 \key bes \major \partial 8 \tempo "Presto" \relative b { bes8\f | bes4 d8 d4 f8 | f4 bes8 bes4 f8\p | f'( bes) g-. f4 r8 } }

which was soon followed by others, to the number of 18 in all (1755–56; Trautwein, Nos. 58–75). Fürnberg was thus the first to direct Haydn's attention to a branch of composition in which alone he did enough to immortalise his name.

His pecuniary condition now began to amend; he sang and played in several churches, and raised his terms for lessons from 2 florins a month to 5. Among his pupils at this period was the Countess Thun (a name we also encounter in connection with Mozart, Gluck, and Beethoven), who first heard of him through one of his clavier sonatas, then circulated in MS. This highly-cultivated lady took both harpsichord and singing lessons from him, and paid him well for his compositions. In 1759 he had the good fortune to