A new way of looking at things
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of looking at things.” –  Henry Miller

Curt Veeneman, Ph.D.


Papa Haydn Part 5

28 March 2014

Ankeruhr, Vienna

On the Hoher Markt, the ancient Roman area in the center of Vienna, stands the Ankeruhr (Anker clock), a Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) clock designed in 1914 by Franz von Matsch (1861-1942).  On this clock with a copper patina, the hours — in Roman numerals divided into quarter hours — pass horizontally across the minutes.  Notice the infant playing with a butterfly at top left and the skeleton holding an hour glass at top right.  A large lizard is at the bottom.

Here we see, as 1 pm approaches, Caesar Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD) enter on the left, while Joseph Haydn, who arrived at 12 o’clock holding his violin and bow, exits at right.  Other figures associated with Vienna include Charlemagne (742/748–814), who appears at 2 o’clock, the minnesinger Walther von der Vogelweide (c. 1170 – c. 1230) at 4 o’clock, and Prince Eugen von Savoyen (1663–1736), once a resident of the Belvedere Palace (now a famous art museum), at 10 o’clock.



See Part 1

See Part 2

In Part 3 and Part 4 of this blog entry, we discussed Joseph Haydn’s life and work as Kapellmeister, initially for Prince Paul Anton Esterházy (in 1761), and then (from 1762 to 1790), for Prince Nikolaus.  Nikolaus’ successor, Prince Anton (1790–1794), was not the music enthusiast that his two predecessors were, and most of the orchestra was dismissed while Haydn was employed only minimally with a reduced salary.

But to his advantage, Haydn was allowed to return to Vienna and was now free to travel more.  He began to accept commissions, including those from Johann Peter Salomon, a German impresario who lived in London, which led to visits to England (in 1791–92 and 1794–95) to conduct his new symphonies.

Johann Peter Salomon, a German impresario who lived in London, commissioned the 12 London Symphonies from Haydn.

(photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons) {{PD}}

 These visits to England were immensely successful.  In fact, in 1792, Haydn received an honorary doctorate from Oxford University; his Symphony No. 92 in G major, “Oxford” (1789), was performed at the degree ceremony.  The twelve so-called “London Symphonies” — #93-98 in 1791-1792, and #99-104 in 1793-95, all commissioned for premieres in London — followed in quick succession.

 Haydn’s Symphony No. 94 in G major, “The Surprise” (1791), is probably one of his best known works.  Haydn's music often contains jokes — as he once wrote that, "As God has given me a cheerful heart, He will forgive me for serving Him cheerfully."  The Surprise Symphony features an opening theme that is played pianissimo (very soft) throughout but ends with a startling fortissimo (very loud) crash, only to continue as if nothing had happened. (In German the symphony is called "mit dem Paukenschlag” — with the kettledrum stroke.)  “That will make the ladies scream,” Adalbert Gyrowetz, in his Memoirs of 1848, quoted Haydn as saying.

 Even poking fun at himself, Haydn later used this same theme for an aria in his oratorio The Seasons (1801), in which a bass soloist portrays a farmer whistling the tune as he plows.

 Some of Haydn’s London Symphonies have received nicknames due to the sonic impressions that they evoke, such as the Symphony No. 100 in G major, “Military” (1793/1794), in which the second movement features fanfares for C-trumpets, timpani, triangle, cymbals, and bass drum; the Symphony No. 101 in D major, “The Clock” (1793/1794), due to the "ticking" rhythm throughout the second movement; or the Symphony No. 103 in E-flat major, “Drumroll” (1795), with its long roll on the timpani at the beginning.

 The Symphony No. 96 in D major, “The Miracle” (1791) has a well-earned nickname, even if it may not be the appropriate symphony:  at its premiere, a chandelier fell from the ceiling of the concert hall, but no one in the audience was hurt because they had all crowded to the front to applaud.  However, now it is thought that this incident had actually taken place at the premiere of his Haydn’s Symphony No. 102 in B-flat major (1794), which, alas, has no nickname.

 In 1791, the same year in which Haydn had composed his Symphony No. 96 in D major, he attended a fiftieth-anniversary celebration of Handel’s Messiah at Westminster Abbey in London.  He was so inspired by the performance of this oratorio that he composed two of his own:  Die Schöpfung (The Creation) and Die Jahreszeiten (The Seasons).  Haydn often conducted performances of The Creation for charity benefits.


Westminster Abbey, London, England


Haydn’s sense of humor emerged in his string quartets as well.  For example, in the Quartet, op.33 no.2, “The Joke” (1781), the theme can sound either like an opening or closing phrase.  The long pauses make one uncertain whether the music is finished or not.

 Likewise, in many of Haydn’s 62 piano sonatas, including #7, Hoboken D1, in D major (1780 — the Hoboken-Verzeichnis is the catalogue of over 750 works by Haydn as compiled by Anthony van Hoboken in 1919, and is useful for identifying specific works).  The outer movements display a joie de vivre and are full of humor, while the slow movements tend to be full of Sturm und Drang, the proto-Romantic style characteristic of the period.

 After Prince Anton died and Haydn returned to Vienna in 1795, Anton’s successor Nikolaus II called Haydn back to be a part-time Kapellmeister, requiring him to spend part of his time at Eisenstadt.

 In 1797 Haydn composed, “Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser” (Emperor’s Hymn).  He considered this to be his favorite composition, which was written as an anthem for the birthday of Holy Roman Emperor Francis II.  Many composers, including Czerny, Rossini, Paganini, Smetana, and Tchaikovsky, have incorporated this melody into their works.  A facsimile of Haydn's “Kaiserlied” can be seen at Vienna’s Haus Der Musik.


A facsimile of Haydn’s “Kaiserlied” can be seen at Vienna’s Haus Der Musik


In 1841, the German poet August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben wrote the lyrics "Das Lied der Deutschen," which he set to Haydn's melody, and the words and music together now form the German national anthem (without the controversial “Deutschland über alles” verse). Haydn would later use the same melody in the theme and variations movement of his String Quartet No. 62 in C major ("Emperor" or "Kaiser"), Op. 76, No. 3 (1796–1797).


A plaque on Haydn’s house in Vienna

In 1797 Haydn bought a house in Windmühle, then a suburb of Vienna but now practically in the center of the city, where he would live the last 12 years of his life.  The house is at Haydngasse 19, in Mariahilf (the 6th municipal district of Vienna), and serves as a museum dedicated to the composer.  During this  same period, until 1803, Haydn spent the summer months in Eisenstadt, composing masses for Princess Hermenegild Esterházy.


The Haydnhaus in Vienna


At the Haydnhaus Wien one can see two of Haydn's keyboards — a clavecin and a Hammerklavier.  There are also facsimiles of his autograph scores, including “Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser” (God Keep Franz the Kaiser) written in 1796/7, and a song about his house, “Eine Kleine Haus” (1801) that describes “a little house, surrounded by hazel bushes, with a little window through which the morning sun gleams …”  


The courtyard of Haydn’s house


In addition, there is a set of 24 canons that he had composed.  They are mounted on the wall of his bedroom in black frames, just as they had been when he lived there, and include the canon “Ja und Nein [Yes and No].”  Haydn said, “I am not rich enough to buy paintings, so I have hangings that few others possess.”


Haydn’s framed canons


Also at the Haydnhaus are his “Tagesablauf” (a daily schedule — he was always very busy!), a very short pencil that he used when he composed, letters, a city-defense army drum from 1750 that was used when Napoleon's army was attacking, along with a canon ball, and Haydn's death mask.


Haydn’s Tagesablauf


Haydn’s pencil


city-defense army drum


Haydn’s death-mask


There is also a room at the Haydnhaus dedicated to Brahms, as the latter’s house near the Musikverein has since been destroyed.  Brahms visited Vienna in 1862 and then came back more and more until it became his permanent address.  There is one of the famous portraits of him as a young man (legs crossed, arm on table, before he began to look like a topiary); also his chair, table, an inkwell and quill-pen, his water bottle, photos of his apartment (what a mess for Bach's portrait on the wall had to survey), and since Brahms was an admirer of Haydn (the stated reason for placing his artifacts in this house), a facsimile  of his Variations on a Theme of Haydn, op 56b, for two pianos.  Brahms didn't know it at the time, but it was actually Ignaz Pleyel who had composed the theme.

For a nice touch, there are several Haydn quotes printed on the walls of the Haydnhaus, including one of my favorites, “Die Phantasie spielt mich, als wäre ich ein Klavier [My imagination plays me as if I were a piano].”

One last interesting item is Haydn’s last calling card, from 1803, which has a musical quote from his last unfinished quartet. Haydn had this card engraved and sent to friends who visited him.  It reads “Molto Adagio [very slow]” and “Hin ist alle meine Kraft, alt und schwach bin ich [Gone is all my strength, old and weak am I].”


Haydn’s calling card


By 1802, Haydn’s health began to fail and it became more difficult to compose.  He found comfort in sitting at the piano and playing “Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser,” the anthem that he had composed several years previously.  In May 1809, the French army corps moved close to Haydn’s home.  He died at the age of 77, on May 31, 1809, while Napoleon's troops were shelling the city — just as good as any time to leave this world.

 Haydn’s mausoleum is located in Eisenstadt at the Bergkirche, where he had conducted masses for Princess Hermenegild Esterházy.  There is a simple marble sarcophagus with the name “HAYDN” on the side.  On the walls are allegories of Die Jahreszeiten (The Four Seasons), one of his oratorios.


The Bergkirche in Eisenstadt, where Hayd's tomb is located


Today the visitor to Haydn’s tomb can rest assured that all of the composer’s bones are there, resting in peace.  But this was not always so.  During Haydn's burial, while Vienna was under attack by Napoleon, the skull was stolen by two phrenologists.  (One of them pronounced "the bump of music" in Haydn's skull to be "fully developed.")  A little more than a decade later, when the Esterházys decided to return the body to Eisenstadt, the skull was discovered missing.   The two phrenologists were found but, still up to their hijinx, they gave the Esterházys a different skull and Haydn had the wrong head for well over a century.  Finally, in 1954, the correct one was found and returned to its rightful owner.  The only problem is that now the body in the tomb has two skulls, which I am certain will be eventually sorted out.


Haydn’s tomb


Today, Haydn’s music is performed around the world every day.  You can be sure that of his 104 symphonies (technically 106), over 90 string quartets, 32 piano trios, 62 piano sonatas, many concertos for various solo instruments, a Stabat Mater, 14 masses, the oratorios The Creation and The Seasons, many choral works, and over 330 songs, some of his music is being heard somewhere at any given time.

 When I was last in Vienna (in 2011), I attended four concerts and Haydn’s music was performed at two of them, an unofficial fifty-per cent Haydn quotient (your results may vary).

 One concert took place at Singerstrasse 7 — the House of the Order of Teutonic Knights (who quit Prussia when Napoleon happened along). Mozart’s patron, the Salzburg Archbishop Colloredo was staying there when Mozart came to Vienna in 1781.  ( It seems that Mozart disagreed with his patron concerning where, when, and for whom he could perform, whereupon he was fined, being literally kicked in the pants by Count Arco.  Never missing an opportunity, Mozart moved in with the Webers, whose daughter Constanze he would later marry.)

 The performance that I attended took place in the Sala Terrena, a smallish, vaulted room (perhaps seating 40) with late Renaissance frescos (one of which features “der liebe Augustin,” a renowned Viennese resident).  This evening’s  performance featured a string quartet, the performers dressed in waistcoats (“historisches Kostümen,” as the program said). 

 The first violinist, self-confident (not unlike Mozart), was of a diminutive stature (also not unlike Mozart, who was 5' 4" —1.63 m).  In spite of his height, his violin itself seemed tiny, not quite as modest in size as one of those 3/4-size student violins.  I was thinking that, according to the laws of linear perspective, since he was a small person, his violin should seem larger by comparison, but this was not the case.  The second violinist’s instrument appeared to be of a standard size.  The violist’s instrument, on the other hand, seemed a little too big.  I was starting to feel like Goldie-Locks.

 Last, when I panned over to the cellist, he was standing up and his cello was gargantuan!  Wait, I nearly remarked out loud — that's not a cello, it's a bass.  At a later point in the recital, the first violinist mentioned the fact that a bass was taking part in the quartet and said that it was as common in Mozart's time for a bass to be the fourth member of a string quartet as it was for a cello — it being a Salzburg tradition.

 In any event, this being the building where he had once lived, most of the program featured Mozart.  However, the third piece on the program was penned by Mozart’s colleague, Haydn's Quartet in B major, Op. 1, no. 1.  It was nice to hear Haydn after being with him for so long — three houses where he lived (in Vienna, Eisenstadt, and Fertöd, Hungary), the church where he was buried, and, practically next door to where the concert was taking place, the cathedral where Haydn sang as a choirboy.  It was engaging to imagine Haydn and Mozart playing possibly these very quartets together while l listened to this performance.


Outside the Sala Terrena at Singerstrasse 7, Vienna, in the courtyard, there is a plaque commemorating Mozart’s residence there.


The other performance of Haydn’s music that I had heard that same week was by the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra at the Wiener Konzerthaus.  The ensemble played as one, with sensitivity and delicate nuance.  Ton Koopman's conducting was effective, if idiosyncratic.  (I should have expected this just by looking at him — he looks and walks like he could be a member of my family, which I might chalk up to the Dutch DNA, but he has a smile as wide as the auditorium.)  In one of the works performed that evening, it was amazing how well the entire group navigated all of CPE Bach's starts and stops and contrasts.

 For the second piece on the program, Koopman was the soloist in Haydn's Orgelkonzert C-Dur [Organ Concerto in C major], an early work, but not entirely Baroque if one takes the orchestra's name literally.  Koopman conducted from the keyboard ('Orgel & Leitung”) while facing the audience, sitting in his little Baroque contraption.

 I mention these two concerts as examples of several that take place in Vienna on most days, and of hundreds, I am sure, of performances of Haydn’s music around the world every day.  Haydn’s music is as relevant today as it was more than two centuries ago.

 Haydn was known affectionately as “Papa” in his time.  The origin of this sobriquet lay in the fact that orchestra musicians who found themselves in trouble at the Esterházy court could rely on Haydn’s support.  Mozart began to refer to him as “Papa” Haydn as well.  His conviviality endeared him to many.

 His secret?  "Whenever I think of God,” he said, “I can only conceive of Him as a Being infinitely great and infinitely good.  This last quality of the divine nature inspires me with such confidence and joy that I could have written even a Miserere in tempo Allegro."



A sketch of Haydn at the Haydnhaus Wien




 This blog entry, due to its equal relevance to Austria and to Hungary, has been posted under both of those thread headings.

The photographs used in this blog, unless otherwise noted, are by Curt Veeneman.

Related Posts (Austria)

Who started Travel Con Brio®?

Composer, scholar (in music theory, ethnomusicology, and music history), performer, educator, conference organizer, and entrepreneur, Curt Veeneman received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

His additional interests, subsumed in wonder at the beauty of God’s entire creation, include art (he was an art major before the balance tipped ever-so-slightly toward music), literature, architecture, photography, mathematics, history, languages, cultural studies, world-cuisines, and, of course, travel.
photograph by Colleen Veeneman

In founding Travel Con Brio®, Curt was eager to synthesize all of these interests to create imaginative, stirring, and enlightening experiences to be enjoyed by both young and mature travelers alike.  The tours that he organizes reflect his extensive travel experience and familiarity with the art, music and culture of numerous countries, with each tour being richly enhanced by local experts.

Curt and his wife Colleen live near San Francisco.  They have three children.

What is this blog about?

Culled from a number of trips abroad, this blog compiles various experiences in an attempt to reveal the cultural nuances of places visited on Travel Con Brio® tours.  Sometimes humorous, sometimes serious, Curt’s observations are intended to describe and appreciate the personalities, character, idiosyncrasies, conventions, mood, and ambiance of places visited.  Contemplations of topics ranging from language and customs to climate and bureaucracies are freely offered alongside art and music reviews.  Any cultural issue, if illuminating, can become the focus.

These musings on the personal impact of various cultures are offered so that you, as a traveler, may compare and contrast your own impressions with them.  Do you share a similar interest?  Do you agree with a specific conclusion?  Or is there a fine distinction to be made regarding a particular point?  You are invited to leave your comments; please, however, be respectful of other readers.

And last, a caveat:  flukes, asymmetries, and twists of fate may suggest more about Curt than about any foreign culture under discussion.

What are some of Curt Veeneman’s musical activities?

As a composer, Curt has spoken and/or his works have been performed throughout the United States, in Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Poland, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Bulgaria.  He is the winner of several awards, including the ASCAP-Hubbell Award for composition.

Curt Veeneman's compositions include Les Cloches, inspired by the life of Joan of Arc (premièred by the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra), The Wiry Concord for 5-string banjo, dulcimer, cimbalom, harp, harpsichord, piano, viola and percussion (available on Capstone Records), Mountain Thyme, based on Bulgarian folk music (recorded by the Sofia Symphony Orchestra), Alcuin's Riddle, for orchestra and 15 soloists who cross the “audience-river,” Hommage for voice, flute, 'cello, piano, and percussion, Windmills, computer music featuring sampled wind turbines on California's Altamont Pass, and Pneuma for solo flute, (also available on Capstone Records).

Of this last work, the following comments have been made:  “J’ai beaucoup apprécié le lyrisme et la rigueur de Pneuma pour flûte de Curt Veeneman”  (I greatly appreciate the lyricism and the precision of Curt Veeneman’s Pneuma for flute) —Gérard Condé, Le Monde, Paris, 29 August 1996; “a well written piece”  — Robert Dick, flutist, author of The Other Flute; “it is quite exciting!” — Molly Alicia Barth of eighth blackbird; and “strong and imaginative” — Jules Langert, San Francisco Classical Voice, 13 March 2006.

As a new music promoter, he directed the new music ensemble Sonor Borealis at University of Alberta, Canada, and founded and directed the concert series, PACIFIC MARKET: Fresh Music From Around The World, at the University of the Pacific.  As a performer, Curt Veeneman is recorded on Music and Arts.

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