HAYDN MUSEUM

HAYDN MUSEUM

Even by generous Austrian standards the Haydn brothers, Joseph and Michael, are particularly well served for museums. The thatched-roof farmhouse where they were born five years apart in the 1730s (Joseph in 1732, Michael in 1737) is on the main street of Rohrau, just 20 minutes east of Vienna airport. Its close proximity to the Rohrau palace of the music-loving Count of Harrach closely parallels that of Joseph Haydn’s working home’ in Eisenstadt, a few steps from the Esterhazy Palace, where every September there is a series of Internationale Haydntage concerts in the Haydn-Saal (a large and splendid room, but probably little used by Haydn, whose music-making would mostly have been in the smaller rooms). The composer’s former home in Eisenstadt is the most important of the Haydn museums and the headquarters of the Internationale Joseph-

Rights were not granted to include these illustrations in electronic media. Please refer to print publication The Hasse birthplace in Bergedorf (rear elevation) Rights were not granted to include these illustrations in electronic media, Please refer to print publication Courtyard of the Haydn birthplace at Rohrau Haydn-Stiftung; it is under common management with the Esterhazy Palace. But Haydn also spent time in the period 1766-90 at the Esterhazys’ summer palace, Eszterhaza, in a village now called Fertod. The palace, severely damaged and looted during World War II and the ensuing years, is gradually being restored and is now open to the public; it houses a Haydn at Eszterhaza’ festival each September and has Haydn memorial rooms. Haydn’s Viennese townhouse is among the many musical museums administered by the City of Vienna. Lastly, in the shadow of the Mozart shrines in Salzburg, there is a small but important exhibition in the cloister of St Peter’s Abbey celebrating the life of Michael Haydn, who worked there for more than 40 years.

In the 1730s the Haydn family’s Rohrau house consisted of three main rooms (the parents’ bedroom to the right of the entrance lobby, where the children were born, and the kitchen and a parlour to the left), as well as a workshop wing where their father plied his wheelwright’s trade. Today the bedroom is a place of pilgrimage. The corner room, called the Barockzimmer’, displays some of the most precious items in the collection (an Anton Walter piano that Joseph played; a bronze statuette of him by Robert Weigl; a maquette of a scene from his comic opera L’incontro improvviso, a dramma giocoso performed at the Eszterhaza theatre in 1775; and his snuffbox). It is said to have served as sleeping quarters for the children of the regularly expanding family.

The former workshop is now a light and attractive recital and display room; a modern Bosendorfer grand is available and lining the walls is an exhibition, Joseph and Michael Haydn in their time’, which includes informative wall panels, incorporating a useful comparative chronology, along with displays of early editions and facsimiles of documents.

HAYDN MUSEUM Photo Gallery




The house became a memorial to Haydn in 1877. It was nearly destroyed by fire 20 years later and it was not until the Haydn centenary in 1909 that the exterior was restored. In 1958 the Lower Austrian authorities acquired the house, completing the renovation of the interior and opening it to the public the following year. On 31 March 1982, Joseph Haydn’s 250th anniversary, the house opened as a museum. The monument now in front of the Rohrau parish church was originally erected in the palace gardens in 1794 by the Count of Harrach, who presented the composer with a model when he visited Rohrau the next year; the bust of the composer was added in the 1830s.

The Haydn family had originally come from Hainburg, a small town close by, where Joseph and Michael’s father Matthias was born in 1699. When he was five, Joseph was sent to Hainburg to board with his uncle, Johann Matthias Franck, headmaster of the local boarding school. The town is proud of its connection with Joseph Haydn. The house at Wiener Strafie 7 is marked by memorial plaques erected in 1880 and 1959, with a third on the school building at Ungarstrafie 3; there is a Haydn fountain in the main square and a bust in the square near the Ungarstrafie post office; and concerts are presented by the Hainburg Haydn Society in the Haydnsaal at the local tobacco factory. From Hainburg Joseph went to Vienna, where he spent 20 years, first as a choirboy at St Stephen’s Cathedral, living in the Michaelerhaus at Kohlmarkt 11 (today marked by a plaque), then working as a freelance musician; after that he worked for a time for Count Morzin at Lukavec. Michael followed him to Vienna in 1745. Joseph married Anna Maria Keller, the daughter of a Viennese wigmaker, in 1760 (having previously fallen in love with her sister, destined for a nunnery), and a year later moved out to Eisenstadt on his appointment as ViceKapellmeister to Prince Paul Anton Esterhazy.

When in 1766 he assumed the full Kapellmeistership, Haydn and his wife were able to move from a service flat, in the Kapellhaus (now a convent, the Margaretinum) next to the Bergkirche, into the house at Klostergasse 82 (now Haydngasse 21) backing on to the old city wall. Haydn bought it for 1000 gulden. An entry in the land register in 1758 mentions a stable on the ground floor, with a hayloft above at the back of the courtyard. The Haydns lived upstairs, in four rooms at the front; the ground-floor rooms were reserved for his pupils, among them his copyist Johann Elssler (1764-82) and Ignaz Pleyel (1772-7).

Over the next dozen years Joseph Haydn lived in Eisenstadt mainly in the winters, being obliged to spend most of the year at Eszterhaza, the site of the former hunting lodge close to the southern shore of the Neusiedlersee which Prince Nicolaus Esterhazy transformed into his own Versailles palace, replete with an opera theatre. When at Eszterhaza the musicians lived in their own Musikhaus, usually sharing rooms; because of his position of authority, Haydn had four rooms to himself.

Plaques were erected on the Eisenstadt house in 1898 and 1923. It became a museum in 1935, when three rooms were opened to the public. Two years later it was bought by the Burgenlandische Heimat- und Naturschutzverein; displays were installed in 1938, made up of items from a private Haydn collection assembled by a local wine wholesaler and member of the Heimat- und Naturschutzverein, Sandor Wolf, and that of the Burgenlandisches Landesmuseum. At first the museum incorporated memorial rooms for Franz Liszt (who was born nearby: see Liszt), with the local society headquarters on the second floor, and for the dancer Fanny Elssler, Johann’s daughter, but they led to confusion in visitors’ minds about the true significance of the house and were quietly dropped in favour of a museum devoted solely to Haydn. The building was renovated in 1974-5.

In 1995 the International Joseph Haydn Privatstiftung Eisenstadt purchased the neighbouring property (the so-called Frumwaldhaus’) to allow for expansion of the museum display space and offering interactive and audio-visual facilities on the first floor. In this enlarged form, the museum re-opened in 1998. It is fitted out with stylish, state-of-the-art display cases, many of them with glass-top drawers which visitors can explore, as well as lighting and environmental controls. The seven display rooms are chronologically laid out, covering Rohrau, his student years and the early works in the first, the third to the fifth dealing with the years working for the Esterhazy family (the last of them covering activities at Eszterhaza), then in

Courtyard of the Haydn museum, Eisenstadt the sixth the triumphs in London and Vienna, and finally the great oratorios and the closing years; the second room, with the Guttenbrunn portrait and a Walter piano, represents his own living-room. In addition, a Haydn-Zentrum was established in the front and ground floor of the building, incorporating a research library and archive downstairs and a Kaminzimmer’ seating 35 for lectures and recitals upstairs. The piano was found in the last century at Liszt’s birthplace, having come from the Esterhazy estates, which has led to the suspicion that it may have been Haydn’s own; it is in any case very heavily restored. Over the years the collection has grown to include a large number of Haydn autographs and primary copies of his music, letters and early editions of all his published works as well as librettos for his operas; to set his achievements in context, there are also some early editions of music by his contemporaries. The displays are illustrated with a wide array of iconography – engraved pictures, endless numbers of portraits of Haydn, his patrons and his contemporaries, busts and a death mask – and many important documents, original and in facsimile. Among the period furniture is a beautifully figured wood table that converts to a music stand for eight players (see p.45); among the memorabilia are his medals and a punch recipe he acquired in England. Also there is the organ console from the Bergkirche, often played by Haydn in performances of his masses (and by Beethoven in the premiere of his Mass in C). In 1778 Haydn sold his house in Eisenstadt – it had twice been renovated after fires during his years there – and divided his time between seasons either in Vienna (for which he had to obtain the Prince’s consent) or at Eszterhaza. When Prince Nicolaus died in 1790, his heir, Anton, abandoned Eszterhaza and dismissed the court orchestra, giving Haydn a pension and requiring only occasional duties. Two rooms at Eszterhaza, however, off the anteroom to the concert hall on the upper floor, are devoted to Haydn. There is a chronologically organized display covering his career, but the main feature is the large number of reproductions of music pages – many from his symphonies (scores, orchestral parts, some autograph, some early copies), from the operas – his own and other composers’ – that he produced there along with librettos and costume illustrations, printed editions of his music, letters, accounts and other documents. A special section covers the baryton, Prince Nicolaus’s favourite instrument, and its music (the Prince’s own baryton is in the Magyar Nemzeti Muzeum, Budapest). Haydn lived in Vienna for the rest of his life, except for his two prolonged journeys abroad, to England (1791-2 and 1794-5), and his short visits to Eisenstadt to carry out his official duties (up to 1802) for the next prince, Nicolaus II -chiefly the performance of music for his wife’s nameday. He acquired a single-storey house known as Obere Windmuhl’ at Kleine Steingasse 71, now Haydngasse 19, in what was then Gumpendorf but is now a part of the sixth district of Vienna, slightly south of the centre. He had it enlarged with a second storey while he was away on his second trip to London, taking up residence there in 1797, and as in Eisenstadt he and his wife (who died three years later) lived in the newly built quarters upstairs while the Elsslers lived below. Haydn continued to compose until 1803, producing the masses for Eisenstadt, the opp.76 and 77 string quartets, The Haydn’s house in Vienna (lithograph, 1840) Rights were not granted to include these illustrations in electronic media. Please refer to print publication Creation (1798) and The Seasons (1801), and a fine Te Deum (1800). In 1798, after a gap of some 30 years, he was reunited with his brother Michael, who had been in the service of the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg since 1763. Michael stayed with him in Gumpendorf when he visited Vienna in 1798 and again in 1801, after Joseph had been widowed. On the later visit Michael conducted a performance of his Missa sotto il titulo di Teresia, in which the Empress sang the soprano solos. His brother’s employer, Prince Nicolaus II, offered him the post of vice-Kapellmeister, which, preferring his quieter life in Salzburg, he declined. Since their marriage in 1768, Michael Haydn and his wife, the singer Maria Magdalena Lipp, had lived in a house in the Festungsgasse in Salzburg, immediately below the fortress, on the edge of the courtyard of St Peter’s Abbey. That house has since been demolished in favour of a funicular station, which bears a plaque. His duties as Konzertmeister to the archbishop and later organist of the Trinity Church (from 1777) and the cathedral kept him busy teaching and playing as well as composing. He was a close colleague of Leopold and Wolfgang Mozart and a gifted composer, whose church music was especially admired. In 1983 the Johann Michael Haydn Gesellschaft Salzburg was founded and a year later it opened memorial rooms in the cloister of St Peter’s. Each year the Gesellschaft sets out a fresh exhibition (not always devoted to Michael Haydn) in a large room created in the former stables. Among the collection of Michael Haydn items available for display are autograph manuscripts and letters, his manuscript catalogue (complete with incipits) and an autobiographical sketch of 1808; early editions of his music and engravings of 18th-century Salzburg; portraits of Haydn (including Franz Xaver Hornock’s well-known likeness), his patrons and pupils (Anton Diabelli and Carl Maria von Weber among them) as well as photographs of his skull; memorabilia (including visiting cards, his book plate, spectacles and case); period furnish- ings and musical instruments. Across the archway, a second memorial room is used for temporary exhibitions, recitals (each afternoon in season, except Wednesdays), meetings of the society and twice-daily video presentations to visitors to the Gedenkstatte.

In 1804 Joseph Haydn was made an Honorary Citizen of the City of Vienna. When Napoleon invaded the city at the beginning of May 1809, he installed a Guard of Honour at the elderly composer’s house. A plaque was erected on the house in 1840 and the street was renamed the Haydngasse in 1862. The Haydn House Society mounted an exhibition of pictures, manuscripts, editions and memorabilia in 1899 that led to the acquisition of the house for a public museum by the Vienna City Council in 1904. It was fully restored in 1976, incorporating a memorial room to Brahms (see BRAHMS) and a music room seating 68 was created in what was once Haydn’s stable; further renovation to designs by Elsa Prochazka was undertaken in 1994-5. The displays focus on Haydn’s final Vienna years – his last compositions, in particular The Creation; his patrons, pupils and friends; the sites in Vienna particularly associated with him; and the circumstances surrounding his death and initial commemoration. There is a 1796 piano by Johann Jakob Konnicke on display in the main upstairs room (Haydn’s own Schantz instrument is in the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde collection) and a death mask in the room where he died. A small final room is devoted to the Elssler family.

Michael Haydn, the younger brother, was the first to die, on 10 August 1806. He was buried in Salzburg, in the churchyard at St Peter’s, where he was joined in the same grave not by his wife (who died in 1827) but by Mozart’s sister Nannerl, Maria Anna Berchtold zu Sonnenburg, in 1829 (see p.268). In 1821 his friends put up a memorial to him just inside the abbey, on the left, incorporating the urn containing his skull.

Joseph Haydn died at home in Vienna on 31 May 1809. After a service at

Gumpendorf, at which his brother’s Requiem was performed, he was buried in the Hundsturmer Friedhof. A week afterwards his grave was desecrated and his skull removed. In 1820, at the request of Nicolaus II Esterhazy, his remains were re-interred in the Eisenstadt Kalvarienbergkirche, but not until 1954 were they reunited with his skull (which had been kept at the Musikverein since 1895). No pilgrimage to Eisenstadt is complete with-out pausing to pay one’s respects at the mausoleum, on the left as you enter the church.

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