Music Composers

Josef Haydn-Part 9

Haydn, like all geniuses, had a host of opponents. In 1778 he applied for membership to the Tonkunstler Societat, for whom he had written his oratorio Il ritorno di Tobia. Once would have expected such a body to receive him with open arms. Instead of that they asked a sum of 300 florins for the admission and the promise to compose for them whenever they chose to ask him. These exorbitant conditions, probably dictated by jealousy, were not accepted by Haydn, and he withdrew his application. As often happens with similar musical organizations, they delay the recognition of a fellow musician until he has become famous, and then, when he does not need their support any more, they run after him and are eager to honor him. In fact, later, after his second visit to London, when the entire world hailed him as a musical hero, the Tonkunstler Societat welcomed Hadyn, at a special meeting and with one voice appointed him "assessor senior" for life. In return for this distinction Haydn was generous (or weak?) enough to forget the previous affront and to present the society with his immortal oratorios, The Creation and The Seasons.

If Haydn was thus less appreciated at home than he deserved to be, there were others who knew the full value of his work. The king of Spain, to whom Haydn sent the score of his opera, L'isola Disabitata, showed his sense of the honor by the gift of a gold snuff-box set in brilliants. Other marks of royal attention were bestowed upon him by Prince Henry of Prussia, who sent him a gold medal and his portrait in return for the dedication of six new quartets; and Kind Wilhelm, who gave him the famous gold ring which Haydn used to regard as a talisman, which he always wore when composing.

The Etude Magazine September 1920





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