Haydn HTML version
Second London VISIT--1794-1795
Beethoven--Takes Lessons from Haydn--The Relations of the Two Composers--The
Haydn Museum--Haydn starts for London--His Servant Elssler--The Salomon Concerts--
A "Smart" Drummer--New Acquaintances--Haydn at Bath--Opera Concerts--Kingly
Courtesies-- A Valuable Parrot--Rohrau Reminiscences--Esterhaz once more--The
"Austrian Hymn"--Haydn's Love for It--A Charge of Plagiarism.
Haydn left London some time towards the end of June 1792. He had intended to visit
Berlin, in response to an invitation from King Frederick William II., but he altered his
route in order to meet Prince Anton Esterhazy, who was at Frankfort for the coronation of
the Emperor Francis II.
A more interesting meeting took place at Bonn. Beethoven, then a young man of twenty-
two, was still living with his people in the Wenzegasse, but already arrangements had
been made by the Elector for his paying a somewhat lengthened visit to Vienna in order
to prosecute his studies there. Since the death of Mozart, Haydn had become the most
brilliant star in the musical firmament, and it was only natural that the rising genius
should look to him for practical help and encouragement. It so happened that the Elector's
Band, of which Beethoven was a member, gave a dinner to Haydn at Godesberg. The
occasion was opportune. Beethoven submitted a cantata to the guest of the evening which
Haydn "greatly praised, warmly encouraging the composer to proceed with his studies."
The name of the cantata has not been ascertained, though Thayer conjectures it to have
been on the death of the Emperor Leopold II.
Whatever it was, the fact of Haydn's approval would make it an easy matter to discuss the
subject of lessons, whether now or later. Beethoven did not start for Vienna until
November, and it appears that immediately before that date some formal communication
had been made with Haydn in reference to his studies. On the 29th of October Count
"DEAR BEETHOVEN,--You are travelling to Vienna in fulfillment of your long-
cherished wish. The genius of Mozart is still weeping and bewailing the death of her
favourite. With the inexhaustible Haydn she found a refuge, but no occupation, and is
now waiting to leave him and join herself to someone else. Labour assiduously, and
receive Mozart's spirit from the hands of Haydn."
This was not exactly complimentary to Haydn, but Beethoven doubtless had the good
sense not to repeat the count's words. When the young artist arrived in Vienna, he found
Haydn living at the Hamberger Haus, No. 992 (since demolished), and thither he went for
his lessons. From Beethoven's own notes of expenses we find that his first payment was
made to Haydn on December 12. The sum entered is 8 groschen (about 9 1/2 d.), which
shows at least that Haydn was not extravagant in his charges.