Music Composers

Josef Haydn-Part 6

In 1759 Prince Esterhazy, a Hungarian nobleman of enormous wealth and passionately devoted to music, appointed Haydn as vice-cappellmeister in his service. It was certainly a providential event for Haydn, for it freed him from anxiety about his daily bread; but the conditions of the agreement would be considered today as utterly humiliating for an artist. Here are some of them:

"When the orchestra shall be summoned to perform before company, the vice-capellmeister and all the musicians shall appear in uniform, and the said Joseph Haydn shall take care that he and the members o the orchestra shall appear in white stockings, white linen, and either with a pigtail or a tiewig."

"He shall abstain from undue familiarity and from vulgarity in eating, drinking and conversation."

These and other similar conditions have afforded matter for a good deal of astonishment and indignation at the thought of a great composer placed in the position of a servant! However, these things should be judged in relation to the customs of the age. There was no idea in Haydn's native country of the dignity of art, at any rate so far as musicians were concerned. Mozart, also had to live with the archbishop's household and dine at the servant's table!

The Etude Magazine September 1920

 

 

 

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