Joseph Haydn and the German Nation: A Subject and Servant of Europe's Most Cosmopolitan Empire, the Composer Joseph Haydn Played an Important Role in the Emergence of German Cultural Nationalism during the 18th and 19th Centuries

By Blanning, Tim | History Today, May 2009 | Go to article overview

Joseph Haydn and the German Nation: A Subject and Servant of Europe's Most Cosmopolitan Empire, the Composer Joseph Haydn Played an Important Role in the Emergence of German Cultural Nationalism during the 18th and 19th Centuries


Blanning, Tim, History Today


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Joseph Haydn was born on March 31st, 1732 in the village of Rohrau in Lower Austria, a province of the Habsburg monarchy. This was arguably the most multinational, multicultural, multilingual and generally diverse great power that Europe had ever seen. Its then ruler, Charles VI, held sway over a great conglomeration of territories stretching from Ostend to Belgrade and from Prague to Palermo. It included all or part of the following present-day countries: Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and Italy. As Sir Harold Temperley observed, the Habsburg monarchy was not so much a country as a continent all by itself. The most succinct illustration of this was provided by the trilingual signature of the monarchy's greatest military commander, Prince Eugene: Eugenio yon Savoie. Everyone who visited the capital Vienna was struck by the wonderful variety of languages, clothing and customs on display.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

From the age of 29 until the day he died almost half a century later, Haydn was in the service of the Esterhazys, the greatest aristocratic dynasty in the monarchy. In the course of the previous century they had risen with amazing speed by helping to defeat their Habsburg overlords' two great enemies: the Protestants and the Turks. Although the Esterhazy family was Hungarian by origin, theirs was a world without national identity in which Italian, French or even Latin was as much used as German. Evidence of its cosmopolitanism can be seen in the visual vocabularies of their three main palaces--in Vienna, at Eisenstadt and at Esterhaza. It was at the last of these, built by Prince Nicholas 'The Magnificent' in the 1760s, that Haydn was to spend most of his time.

At all three palaces Haydn had access to an enormous collection of musical scores. They came from all over Europe but especially from Italy, the centre of the 18th-century musical world. Although Haydn was unusual among contemporary musicians in never actually travelling to Italy, the Vienna in which he received his early musical training was suffused with Italian music. In an autobiographical sketch written in 1776 he recalled that he had 'the good fortune to learn the true fundamentals of composition from the famous Porpora', the Neapolitan composer. But Vienna was also a city to which musicians from the Habsburg-ruled kingdom of Bohemia flocked, bringing with them their own distinctive sound. The incorporation of Slavonic melodies and rhythms was one of the many features of Haydn's music to win the later approval of Richard Wagner. Less often acknowledged but also powerful was the influence of the Protestant north. Haydn himself told one of his two contemporary biographers that he owed 'a great deal' to Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Kapellmeister at Hamburg.

Of course what Haydn then did with this richly international mix was entirely individual. Tucked away in rural isolation at remote Esterhaza, with an excellent orchestra always on hand and writing for a musically sophisticated patron, Haydn could allow his powerful imagination full rein. As he himself put it:

   My Prince was content with all my
   works, I received approval, I could,
   as head of an orchestra, make experiments,
   observe what enhanced an
   effect, and what weakened it, thus
   improving, adding to, cutting away,
   and running risks. I was set apart
   from the world, there was nobody in
   my vicinity to confuse and annoy
   me in my course, and so I had to be
   original.

It turned out that what pleased Prince Nicholas also pleased the rest of Europe. Haydn's original contract stated that everything he wrote was the exclusive property of his patron. But it was not long before news of his talent began to spread, as manuscript copies of his keyboard sonatas and string quartets began to circulate. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Joseph Haydn and the German Nation: A Subject and Servant of Europe's Most Cosmopolitan Empire, the Composer Joseph Haydn Played an Important Role in the Emergence of German Cultural Nationalism during the 18th and 19th Centuries
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.