Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/718

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alto, 2 violins, and organ; a Te Deum (1764); 4 Italian Operettas (1762); a pastoral, 'Acide e Galatea' (the action identical with that of Handel's cantata), performed Jan. 11, 1763, on the marriage of Count Anton, eldest son of Prince Nicolaus; and a grand cantata, in honour of the Prince's return from the coronation of the Archduke Joseph as King of the Romans (1764).

Soon after Werner's death an event took place, which greatly affected the music, viz. the establishment of a new palace near Süttör, at the southern end of the Neusiedler-See, where the Prince rebuilt an old hunting-place, turned it into a splendid summer residence, and gave it the name of Esterház. Here the chapel (except a small portion left to carry on the church service at Eisenstadt) were located for the greater part of the year, during which they were expected to redouble their exertions.

Esterház—described by a French traveller as 'having no place but Versailles to compare to it for magnificence'—stands in the middle of an unhealthy marsh, quite out of the world. The erection of such a building in such a neighbourhood, at a cost amounting it is said to 11,000,000 gulden, was one of the caprices of Prince Nicolaus. The canals and dykes he constructed were, however, substantial improvements to the neighbourhood. The dense wood behind the castle was turned into a delightful grove, containing a deer-park, flower-gardens and hot-houses, elaborately furnished summer-houses, grottoes, hermitages, and temples. Near the castle stood an elegant theatre, for operas, dramas, and comedies; also a second theatre, brilliantly ornamented, and furnished with large artistic marionettes, excellent scenery and appliances. The orchestra of the opera was formed of members of the chapel, under Haydn's direction; the singers were Italian for the most part, engaged for one, two, or more years, and the books of the words were printed. Numerous strolling companies were engaged for shorter terms; travelling virtuosi often played with the members of the band; special days and hours were fixed for chamber-music and for orchestral works; and in the intervals the singers, musicians, and actors met at the café, and formed, so to speak, one family. The castle itself was fitted up in exquisite taste, and stored with numerous and costly collections of works of art. Royal and noble personages, home and foreign, formed a constant stream of guests; at whose disposal the Prince placed his beautiful carriages, and to whom he proved the most attentive and charming of hosts. He became so much attached to this place of his own creation, as often to stay there till quite the end of autumn, and return with the first days of spring. Eisenstadt he visited very rarely, and Vienna he disliked more and more, often cutting short his visits in the most abrupt manner. Hence his singers and musicians were increasingly tied to this one spot—a fate all the harder, since very few were allowed to bring their wives and families. Here Haydn composed nearly all his operas, most of his arias and songs, the music for the marionette theatre—of which he was particularly fond—and the greater part of his orchestral and chamber works. He was satisfied with his position, and though he sometimes complained of the disadvantages of such a seclusion, and often expressed his wish to visit Italy, he also acknowledged its compensating advantages. In his own words: 'My Prince was always satisfied with my works; I not only had the encouragement of constant approval, but as conductor of an orchestra I could make experiments, observe what produced an effect and what weakened it, and was thus in a position to improve, alter, make additions or omissions, and be as bold as I pleased; I was cut off from the world, there was no one to confuse or torment me, and I was forced to become original.'

With the band and singers Haydn was on the best of terms. They vied with each other in carrying out his intentions, simply to show their gratitude and affection for him. He was constantly endeavouring to improve their lot, was invariably a warm advocate with the Prince on their behalf, and they all loved him like a father. The Prince gave unusually high salaries, and several of the musicians played two instruments—generally the violin and a wind instrument. A good many of them afterwards entered the Imperial chapel.

The principal and best-paid members of the chapel during the period spoken of (1767–90) were: female singers, Weigl, Cellini, Jermoli, Rippamonti, [1]Valdesturla, Tavecchia, Maria and Matilda Bolognia, Raimondi, Nencini, Benvenuti; male singers—Friberth, Bianchi, Gherardi, Jermoli, Moratti, Morelli, Totti (2), Peschi; violins—Tomasini, Rosetti, Rippamonti, Mentrino, Mraw; cellists—Weigl, Küffel, Marteau, Kraft; flute—Hirsch; clarinets—Griesbacher (2); oboi—Columbazzo (2), Poschwa, Czerwenka; bassoons—Schiringer, Peczival; horns—Steinmüller, Karl Franz (also played thebaryton) Stamitz, Oliva, Pauer, Lendway. Besides Franz there was another performer on the prince's own instrument, the baryton—Andreas Lidl (1769–74) who played in London soon after leaving the band. J. B. Krumpholtz the harpist was engaged from 1773–76.

In March, 1769, the whole musical establishment visited Vienna for the first time; and, under Haydn's direction, gave a performance of his opera, 'Lo Speziale' (comp. 1768), at the house of Freiherr von Sommerau; and a repetition in the form of a concert. On their second visit, in the summer of 1777, they performed at Schönbrunn an opera and a marionetteopera of Haydn's, and also played during the Empress's dinner. The Prince would often take them to Presburg during the sitting of the Hungarian diet, or for the festival of Count Grassalcovich, and in 1772 Haydn conducted the Count's own orchestra even at a ball.

In 1771 Haydn composed a 'Stabat Mater'

  1. Afterwards married to Schicht, Cantor of the Thomas-schule at Leipzig.