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Appendix D: Haydn's Brothers
Of the large family born to the Rohrau wheelwright, two, besides the great composer,
devoted themselves to music.
The first, JOHANN EVANGELIST HAYDN, made some little reputation as a vocalist,
and was engaged in that capacity in the Esterhazy Chapel. His health had, however, been
delicate from the first, and his professional career was far from prosperous.
JOHANN MICHAEL HAYDN was much more distinguished. Born in 1737, he became,
as we have seen, a chorister and solo-vocalist at St Stephen's, Vienna. He was a good
violinist, and played the organ so well that he was soon able to act as deputy-organist at
the cathedral. In 1757 he was appointed Capellmeister to the Bishop of Grosswardein,
and in 1762 became conductor, and subsequently leader and organist to Archbishop
Sigismund of Salzburg. There he naturally came in contact with Mozart, in whose
biography his name is often mentioned. Mozart on one occasion wrote two compositions
for him which the archbishop received as Michael Haydn's. The Concertmeister was
incapacitated by illness at the time, and Mozart came to his rescue to save his salary,
which the archbishop had characteristically threatened to stop. Mozart also scored several
of his sacred works for practice.
Michael Haydn remained at Salzburg till his death in 1806. He had the very modest
salary of 24 pounds, with board and lodging, which was afterwards doubled; but although
he was more than once offered preferment elsewhere, he declined to leave his beloved
Salzburg. He was happily married--in 1768--to a daughter of Lipp, the cathedral organist;
and with his church work, his pupils--among whom were Reicha and Weber--and his
compositions, he sought nothing more. When the French entered Salzburg and pillaged
the city in 1801 he was among the victims, losing some property and a month's salary,
but his brother and friends repaired the loss with interest. This misfortune led the
Empress Maria Theresa to commission him to compose a mass, for which she rewarded
him munificently. Another of his masses was written for Prince Esterhazy, who twice
offered him the vice-Capellmeistership of the chapel at Eisenstadt. Joseph thought
Michael too straightforward for this post. "Ours is a court life," he said, "but a very
different one from yours at Salzburg. It is uncommonly hard to do what you want." If any
appointment could have drawn him away from Salzburg it was this; and it is said that he
refused it only because he hoped that the chapel at Salzburg would be reorganized and his
salary raised.
Michael Haydn is buried in a side chapel of St Peter's Church, Salzburg. A monument
was erected in 1821, and over it is an urn containing his skull. He is described by Pohl as
"upright, good-tempered and modest; a little rough in manners, and in later life given to
drink." His correspondence shows him to have been a warm-hearted friend; and he had
the same devout practice of initialing his manuscripts as his brother. The latter thought
highly of him as a composer, declaring that his Church compositions were superior to his
own in earnestness, severity of style and sustained power. When he asked leave to copy
the canons which hung in Joseph's bedroom at Vienna, Joseph replied: "Get away with