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Haydn's Home in Vienna

Haydn's Home in Vienna

Haydn spent the last years of his life in Vienna, in this home.  Located in the Gumpendorf section of town, it was the place where he wrote his famous oratorios ("The Creation" and "The Seasons").

Haydn, the most-respected composer in Europe when he taught Beethoven, had hoped his protogé would one day recognize their relationship by acknowledging he had once been Haydn's pupil.  Beethoven, apparently never forgetting his teacher's well-intentioned criticisms, did not fulfil that request.

Perhaps Beethoven had been annoyed with his teacher when Haydn expressed criticism of his work.  John Suchet (Beethoven biographer) tells us about one such incident:

In August 1795, Beethoven performed his newly composed three Piano Trios opus 1 in the salon of Prince Lichnowsky, with Haydn - who had just returned from London - as guest of honour.

Haydn - 63 years of age - was tired. The trip to London had been exhausting, and he had a gruelling commission to fulfil. The three Trios, in performance, comprise more than an hour and a half of music. By the end of the third and final Trio, Haydn was seriously tired.

Beethoven hurried over to his teacher and asked him what he thought. Haydn had the temerity to suggest that the third Trio needed more work on it before it was published.

Beethoven was horrified - and he never forgot Haydn's criticism. (Ironically musicologists today rate the Third as the best of the three!) There was no falling-out between the two, but Beethoven was always quick to criticise his old teacher. He once said, "I never learned anything from Haydn."

Proof that relations were not too strained by the Piano Trio incident came when Beethoven dedicated his next opus - the set of three Piano Sonatas, opus 2 - to Haydn.

But Beethoven never acceded to the one request Haydn made of him, which - Haydn knew - would forever tie him to his brilliant and precocious pupil: to put at the top of a single composition ..... by Ludwig van Beethoven, pupil of Haydn.  (John Suchet, Beethoven biographer.)

Click on the image for a better view.


Media Credits

Image of Hayden's home in the Gumpendorf suburb of Vienna.  Online, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Quoted passage, from "Mad About Beethoven."

 

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