Music Composers

Josef Haydn-Part 11

The Visit to London

With the death of the Prince in 1790 the Esterhazy chapter of Haydn's artistic career came to a close, and Haydn embraced the opportunity to carry out the long meditated project of paying his first visit to London. The violinist Salomon was going to organize in London a series of concerts on a large scale and he went to Vienna to engage Haydn. It was no easy decision to embark on such an extensive journey. First of all he was near sixty. One of his reasons for his hesitation was the deep attachment to Mozart. "I only wish," he said, "I could impress upon every great man the same deep sympathy and profound appreciation I myself feel for Mozart's iminitable music; then all nations would vie with each other to possess such a genius within their frontiers. It enrages me to think that the unparalleled Mozart is not yet engaged at any Imperial Court. I love that man so dearly!" Mozart heartily reciprocated this affection.

This noble trait alone would stamp Haydn as a lofty figure in art. It sounds almost like fiction that a musician - unfortunately musicians are inclined to jealousy and envy - should feel so deep a veneration for a younger rival and - what is more - give him the benefit of such an enthusiastic testimonial which would alone suffice to establish his fame. We should all take this wonderful example of altruism as our guiding star. "Oh, papa!" Mozart said to Haydn, in loving anxiety over his departure for England, "you have had no education for the wide, wide, world, and you speak so few languages." Haydn answered: "My language is understood all over the world."

At length Salomon won the point and everything was arranged for the London visit. Haydn was to have:

One thousand dollars for a benefit concert.

The composer paid his traveling expenses, being assisted in that matter by an advance of four hundred and fifty florins for the prince, which he refunded later.

The Etude Magazine September 1920

 

 

 

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