Music Composers

Josef Haydn-Part 12

The hospitality with which he was received in London gratified Haydn extremely. He wrote to Frau von Genzinger, an amiable and highly cultivated woman, for whom he entertained a pure and elevating friendship, that his presence in London having been announced in all newspapers within three days of his arrival and he had received the most flattering attentions from the nobility. Haydn soon gauged the musical taste of the English public. He doubted as to which of two evils he should choose; whether to insist on his stipulated composition being placed in the first part of the concert program, when its effect would have been marred by the continual noisy entrance of late comers, or in the second, when the considerable portion of the audience would be asleep before it began! Haydn chose the latter as the preferable alternative and the loud chord (Paukenschlag) of the Andante in his Surprise Symphony is said to have been a very comical device he hit upon for rousing the slumberers.

On this occasion Haydn witnessed a "Handel Festival." He had never before heard a performance in which the orchestra and the chorus together numbered a thousand persons. The solo singers and instrumentalists were the best of the day. A guinea was the price of admission and an advertisement in the Gazetteer announced that "ladies will not be admitted in hats and are particularly requested to come without feathers and with very small hoops if any." When at the Hallelujah Chorus the whole assemble, including the King, rose to their feet, Haydn wept like a child, exclaiming in overpowering emotion, "Handel is the master of us all!"

Haydn received at Oxford the degree of Doctor of Music and his Oxford Symphony, composed for the occasion, was performed with great applause. His Doctor's degree had some influence in causing him to be unusually feted. River parties, picnics and banquets were given in his honor, he was very often the guest of the nobility and was in every way lionized.

The Etude Magazine September 1920





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