work that includes major material on
references the below article, originally published in the Proceedings of
the Royal Musical Association, 89th Session, 1962-63, pp. 63-74. I have
long had a copy in my files, adding in notes and copies of other items
that I have acquired over time. This posting was originally
conceived to be a Contemporaries piece, to be done in that format, but
the original article is excelent on its own and I found that to cut it
down or merely reference parts of it would dilute the material more than
I would like.
So instead, I have reproduced it here virtually as it appeared in the
Proceedings, keeping the original footnotes in place as well (which, due
to the format we have here on the Forum, are now endnotes). I have
inserted into the body of the text additional material that I hope
explains and/or amplifies what Edward Olleson was stating. These
insertions appear [within brackets such as these] with their own set of
endnotes, following the original footnotes (which are now endnotes
Finally, I have added three short appendices that further add material
to illuminate portions of the Baron's career.
I've tried to keep this as clutter-free as possible, but with endnotes,
a lot of italics and some
good-sized lumps of material added, it's not as clean as I could wish.
Any and all blame concerning that and the inserted material itself are
I do hope though, that this paper helps show that the
was more than merely a patron of Mozart's; he was a vital
part of the music scene in Vienna for over 20 years and a
true friend of the Arts. Just not a very good composer himself.
Patron of Haydn and Mozart
EDWARD OLLESON Chairman
PROFESSOR SIR J. A. WESTRUP (President)
The picture of Gottfried
which is found in musical literature can scarcely be described as wholly
favourable. It has long been recognized that his tastes in music
influenced Mozart profoundly, but his close-fistedness has been blamed
for contributing to the composer's poverty, and finally for giving
Mozart only the cheapest possible funeral. In his dealings with Haydn,
is acknowledged as the leader of that group of the nobility
which sponsored the Creation and the Seasons, but this credit is more
than balanced by criticism of his libretti to the two oratorios. At the
best, it would seem,
Swieten's presence in Vienna was a mixed
had taken an interest in Mozart as early as 1768, at the time
of La Finta Semplice
1 , but
their closer collaboration begins in 1782. On April l0th of that year
Mozart wrote to his father:
...I go every Sunday at twelve o'clock to
where nothing is played but Handel and Bach. I am collecting at the
moment the fugues of Bach-not only of Sebastian, but also of Emanuel and
and ten days later, to his sister:
to whom I go every Sunday, gave me all the works of Handel and Sebastian
Bach to take home with me (after I had played them to him) .3
These meetings were informal occasions, with only a few musicians
present--there is no question of performances before an audience. The
activities of the group were not confined to keyboard music; Joseph
Weigl recorded his vivid recollection of singing Handel oratorios round
the piano, with Mozart simultaneously playing from the full score,
taking one of the vocal parts, and correcting the mistakes of the
note, the singers mentioned by Weigl were: Salieri, Starzer, Teiber and
Similarly, the fugues, mostly from Bach's
which Mozart arranged for string trio and string quartet,5
were clearly designed for these Sunday meetings. [The Baron’s apartment
was situated in the Hofburg, where the National Library (with the
as its Prefect) was located. Count Zinzendorf, in a diary entry dated 14
June 1782 (scarcely 60 days after Mozart’s letters noted above), records
that after dining at Prince Galitzin’s, he and other members of the
dinner party walked to the National Library. Zinzendorf records that the
apartment was delightful: it included a pretty room for the Baron’s
servant, an attractive dining room with blue and white damask without
gold ornaments, the Baron’s bedroom was in yellow damask, his study
(with a green background featuring yellow arabesques on the walls) and
contained several attractive consoles and a handsome desk. From this
apartment, there was direct access to the famous gallery of the Court
was at this time a man of almost 50, with a distinguished career already
behind him, and holder of an influential position under Joseph II. Born
in Holland in 1733, he had moved to Vienna at the age of 11, when his
was summoned as personal physician to the Empress Maria Theresa. His
choice of a career in the diplomatic service had sent him travelling
widely in Europe; besides a ministerial post which he held for a few
months in 1763-4, he had spent long periods in Brussels and Paris, and
had visited England in 1769. At the end of 1770 he took up his most
important diplomatic post, that of Ambassador to the Court of Frederick
the Great in Berlin, where he remained until his recall in 1777. In the
1780's, when Mozart knew him, he was Prefect of the Court Library and
President of the Court Commission on Education and Censorship.
How and when
developed his enthusiasm for Handel and Bach, which was to be decisive
for Mozart, remains largely conjectural, in the absence of documentary,
accounts. He had taken a keen interest in music from his early years;
Count Cobenzl, under whom
served in Brussels, reported in 1756 that the only fault he found in his
pupil was that 'music takes up the best part of his time'. (Brussels,
Archives générales, Secrétairerie d'Etat et de Guerre no. 1133, f.
224v.) In Paris he sided with the partisans of the Italian opera, but
this did not prevent him from staging there at least one
opera comique of his own
[One wonders how “comic” the
might have made this opera. Haydn is quoted as saying that
symphonies “…were as stiff as the
In Vienna too, between 1764 and 1768, much of his time was spent on
music, and again his letters mention an opera which he had written
himself. He may have come into contact with some older music at this
time, or even earlier, in Vienna. Although the popular interest in Bach,
and particularly Handel, followed
Swieten's own efforts at propagation from the 1780's onwards, there were
already isolated examples of enthusiasm at an earlier date. It is known,
for instance, that Wagenseil used music by Bach and Handel in his
It is possible that
Swieten's visit to England in 1769 brought him in touch with
Handel's oratorios; but this stay of a few months, much of it spent
travelling in the provinces, cannot have given him many opportunities
for music. He was in England during the summer and autumn, when public
concerts would be few, and I have found no record of a Handel oratorio
performance which he could have heard. It is noteworthy that he did not
subscribe to Randall's edition of
Jephtha, which was repeatedly advertised during the time he
was in London.8
Undoubtedly the most important years for the development ; of Swieten's
taste were those he spent in Berlin, though it would be wrong to suppose
that he found there his ideal musical environment-his letters speak of
nothing but dissatisfaction with the city. The political climate was
bleak, with the social opportunities for a foreign ambassador very
limited; nor had
a good word to say for the music in Berlin. The opera he compares
unfavourably with that of Vienna, and particularly with Gluck- 'they
dare to compare this spectacle with
Alceste' (letter to Prince Kaunitz of 30 December 1771,
Vienna, Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv, Staatskanzlei, Preussen, Fas. 47,
Berichte ii, f. 187v.); he complains that it is impossible to obtain
good instrumentalists, and not even the music at Court pleases him.
The standard of music in Berlin was not as high as it had been some
years before, particularly since Emanuel Bach, one of its greatest
assets, had left for Hamburg in 1768. Nevertheless, Berlin was the home
of a group of disciples of J. S. Bach, of which notable leaders were
Kirnberger and Agricola (both former pupils of Bach in Leipzig), Marpurg
and the King's sister, Princess Anna Amalia. Handel too had his
following, and oratorios were performed in the concerts of the
bemoaned the state of music in Berlin, he found there a wealth of new
experience. It is unlikely that he was a member of Princess Amalia's
close circle, but he clearly became acquainted with the Bach and Handel
cult, and it is possible that he had tuition from Kirnberger.9
Although Emanuel Bach was no longer in Berlin,
came to know his music, commissioned the set of six symphonies for
strings, and was from this time a generous subscriber to Bach's printed
works. Another member of the Bach family who made a deep impression on
was Wilhelm Friedemann, who lived in Berlin from 1774.
After his return to Vienna
Swieten's musical interests were not restricted to Bach and Handel, but
it was certainly these two composers who made the greatest impact on
Mozart. Nor are Mozart's references to his new musical experiences
confined to his letters; much of his music of 1782-3 shows unmistakably
the effect which Bach and Handel had made on him. There are a number of
works of this period, many of them unfinished, which have the character
of studies in contrapuntal technique. This preoccupation with
counterpoint could, on occasion, bring about a loss of Mozart's
idiomatic personality, and perhaps a dryness which is absent from most
of his music. For example, even the fine fugue of the unfinished C major
Suite (K. 399) has a curiously anonymous character.
(Here was played a recording of part
of Mozart’s Suite in C major, K.399.)
The two movements which follow retain the links with the past, but show
Mozart in his most intimate vein. Particularly striking is the
resemblance between the Allemande
and that of Bach's G minor English Suite. The C major Fantasia and Fugue
(K. 394) also comes to mind, with its cross-grained fugue, exploiting
the possibilities of contrapuntally conceived dissonance, while at the
same time incorporating some of Mozart's personal turns of phrase and
chromaticism. The culmination of this intense interest in the music of
Bach and Handel was the C minor Mass (K. 427), which is not so much a
mixture as a coalescence of many different stylistic features.
From about 1784 the extreme examples of Mozart's cultivation of
counterpoint for its own sake disappear almost completely, but the
lasting effect on his music may be seen, for instance, in the F minor
Fantasia for mechanical organ (K. 608), or, indeed, in the chorale of
the two men in armour from the Magic
Music was far from being
Swieten's only occupation at this time. He had returned from Berlin to
become Prefect of the Royal Library in Vienna, a position for which he
was well suited by his catholic literary interests. [It might be noted
that this post paid 7,000 gulden per year, with an additional 1,000
gulden provided as lodging money. This works out to roughly $360,000US
per year. d]
If this post was distinguished rather than influential, his appointment
in 1781 as President of the Court Commission on Education, to which
later was added censorship, made him one of the most important men in
Austrian internal affairs.
The ten years of Joseph II's reign are characterized by the Emperor's
drastic attempts at reform, which aimed at the creation of a new social
structure in the Empire. The projected reforms of the educational
system, even if they now seem less spectacular than Joseph's battles
with the Catholic Church, were the most fundamental of all. Joseph's
goal of building up a middle class with a political responsibility
towards the State depended on great advances in elementary education,
and on the universities.
Swieten's liberal views fitted him to the task of implementing the
Emperor's plans. [He apparently was not – despite many references to the
contrary – a member of any Masonic Lodge in Vienna, but he had probably
earlier joined a Berlin Lodge. Certainly his ideas and principles were
of a kind generally supported and propagated by the Masons of the time,
i.e., Enlightened and reformist. e] This is not the place to
undertake an examination of the Austrian educational system, but it is
relevant to consider the importance of
Swieten's task, and how much of his time it demanded. The
supervision of the censorship added yet more responsibility, especially
since the greater freedom granted to the Press, as part of Joseph's
liberal policies, had unloosed a flood of pamphlets for which the
censors were not adequate.
Industry and devotion to his educational work are characteristics which
are almost always mentioned in contemporary reports concerning
The most direct, if necessarily the most biased, accounts are two
wrote to the Emperor in 1784 and 1786, offering his resignation--
masterly documents which put himself in the best possible light without
ever running the risk that his resignation might be accepted. But even
in a context of self-righteous justification, a passage such as the
following cannot be ignored:
...my office has become my only
occupation have woven my entire existence round it: since I have held
office, and this is now the fifth year, I have enjoyed no relaxation,
because I held it to be impossible; all distractions I have renounced,
even my favourite pastime of conversation, for which Nature sharpened my
wits; finally it has gone so far that I hardly leave my study. ...
Matters may have become rather easier after this, but towards the end of
Swieten's period in office new difficulties arose. The death of Joseph
II, in January 1790, strengthened the hand of those who opposed the
educational reforms, and a bitter struggle developed, lasting almost two
years, in which the methods employed do no credit to either side.11
was relieved of his post on 5 December 1791, the day of Mozart's death.
[A Monday, it should be noted, the start of the work week. In any event,
a man of taste and intellectual standing, at one with Joseph II for
bringing an enlightened approach to government, no doubt would have been
glad to leave a post that he had become more and more disenchanted with
as Leopold II and his appointees retreated from those previous liberal
trends. Certainly Archbishop Christoph Migazzi of Vienna and Count
Johann Anton Pergen, (in charge of the police) were ranged against him. f]
Amid all this political activity, how much time was
able to give up to music? The quoted passage of self-righteousness may
exaggerate his devotion to duty, but
could not have risked presenting a grossly distorted picture
of his work without weakening his case. It is just as exaggerated to
regard him as being, at this time, principally engaged in distributing
Some details are known of the part
played in Viennese musical life up to Mozart's death. The informal
meetings which took place every Sunday in his rooms in the Royal Library
continued at least into 1783. In 1782 he had taken an active interest in
a series of concerts in the Augarten,
where a symphony of his own was performed.12
[Philipp Jakob Martin received a decree from the Emperor, allowing 12
summer concerts in the Augarten. Mozart became a participant and in his
letters he writes: “The subscription price for the whole summer is 2
ducats. Now you can easily imagine that we shall find enough subscribers
– the more so since I am now associated with the project and will busy
myself with it…Baron
Suiten [sic] and Countess
Thun are being very helpful.”g]
He supported Mozart's subscription concerts, even after the composer's
general popularity had died down -- Mozart comments in 1789 that a
subscription list which he has sent round has, after a fortnight, only
Swieten's name on it.13
Most important of all is the part he played in organizing oratorio
performances, for which he commissioned Mozart's arrangements of
Handel's Acis and Galatea,
Ode for St. Cecilia's Day
and Alexander's Feast.
must have spent more time on music than he cared admit to the Emperor,
but his political duties may explain why there seems to have been little
contact between him and Mozart from 1783, until the time of the oratorio
arrangements, beginning in 1788. Furthermore, the timing of Swieten's
dismissal suggests that he was preoccupied, rather than callous, at the
time of Mozart's death. [See Appendix 2 for an example of what this
preoccupation could have been.]
[As noted in the first paragraph of this paper, Swieten’s supposed
“close-fistedness” was held against him for the perceived cheapness of
Mozart’s funeral arrangements. While he was a liberal thinker
politically, it is most likely that he adopted a more traditional line
in the matters of a burial, following the edicts that Joseph II had set
forth some years earlier. He probably went to some length to minimize
Constanze’s grief and at least ensure that Mozart was buried in a
coffin, not in a sack. The manner in which the entry for payment of the
hearse was recorded suggests that a coffin had been provided for by the
There are no other details of funeral arrangements in the death
registers or in Mozart’s file in the Vienna City Archives. It is stated
in the mandated inventory of Mozart’s assets that 60 florins cash was
present, out of which the burial and other expenses were defrayed.
However, it certainly was common to “cheat” on these inventories in
order for the surviving family members to pay as little tax as possible
on the estate.
is likely to have paid such costs as there were from his own pocket,
leaving use of all the funds for the family. h]
The small group of the aristocracy calling itself the
Gesellschaft der Associierten
was gathered together under Swieten's leadership for the purpose of
sponsoring performances of oratorios, which usually took place in the
town palaces of the members. Since these were essentially private
concerts, there is hardly a mention of them in the contemporary Press,
and information about them is scarce, but it is clear that Handel
provided the staple diet-the works which Mozart arranged, together with
and, later, Athalia. The
significance of this club of sponsors lies not only in the fact that it
promoted performances of music, which otherwise would not have been
heard in Vienna, but also that it provided the stage and the financial
backing for Haydn's oratorios.
[Another composer who received a performance under the auspices of the
Gesellschaft der Associierten
was C.P.E. Bach, whose Die
Auferstehung und Himmelfahrt Christi [or
Jesu] was also arranged by
Mozart. A contemporary report of the performances given on 26 February
and 4 March 1788 mentions an orchestra of 86 persons, with Mozart giving
the time and reading from the score. It was noted that the performance
was excellent due to two full rehearsals being given. Aloysia Lange and
Johann Valentin Adamberger were among the singers, of which there is
mentioned a chorus of 30 people. Mozart probably performed Piano
Concerto #26 K.537 at the 26 February concert (it was completed on the
24th), and Aloysia probably sang K.538 which was listed as completed on
March 4th, the same day as that concert was held. i]
[It should as well be noted that Mozart, in April of 1790, wrote his
friend Michael Puchberg asking for a loan, using as collateral of sorts
an enclosed note from
which by implication has come to mean that the
was attempting to persuade the new Emperor to appoint Mozart as a full
Kapellmeister (probably more realistically as second Kapellmeister). In
the end, this was not to be, though Mozart’s current position was indeed
Far from coming to a halt after Mozart's death, the
continued throughout the 1790's, and it was in this setting that the
vocal version of the Seven Last
Words, the Creation
and the Seasons were
first performed. In each case the performance took place in the palace
of Prince Schwarzenberg,15
himself was responsible for the libretto.
Haydn had known
for many years. In the autobiographical sketch he prepared for
Das gelehrte Oesterreich in
1776 he refers to
who was apparently a champion of his music in Berlin.16
He had set out on the second London journey in a carriage provided by
and had probably taken part in some of the Handel oratorio concerts.
had previously tried to encourage Haydn to write an oratorio,
Die Vergötterung Hercules, a
cantata by Johann Baptist von Alxinger, which appeared in the
in 1793, bore the following explanatory footnote:
wished to submit something to the excellent Haydn, which he should set
to music in the spirit and manner of Handel. This is the occasion for
the present Cantata, in which the number, and even the order of the
arias, duets and choruses was prescribed to me .17
It was eventually Handel's oratorios which gave Haydn the stimulus to
write a large-scale choral work of his own. He seems to have been little
inspired by the activities of
and the Associierte, but
his enthusiasm was aroused when he came in contact with the lively
Handel tradition in England. When Haydn returned from London, bringing
with him an oratorio libretto which was said to have been written for
Handel, he could be sure of Swieten's help and encouragement. This
English libretto formed the basis of Swieten's text to the
In the three libretti which
wrote for Haydn he became increasingly independent. The text of the
Seven Last Words can
scarcely be said to be by
at all; he arranged to Haydn's taste the words of the vocal version
which Josef Friebert had prepared in Passau, and the alterations were
The Creation gave
more scope, but again he had a model which had been written
specifically as an oratorio text, namely the anonymous libretto that
Haydn had brought back from London.
Swieten's text is probably a free adaptation of the English, rather than
just a translation, but he clearly held quite closely to the general
plan of his model. Finally, in the
Seasons, the whole conception is his own; the individual
scenes are mostly to be found in Thomson's poem, but their organization
into a libretto is the work of
Many critics would say that this progressive originality was disastrous.
Even at the time when the oratorios were first performed and acclaimed,
the words, particularly those of the Seasons, were severely criticized,
and they have been condemned innumerable times since. But to concentrate
on the weaknesses of the libretti is to underestimate
Swieten's role in the Haydn oratorios -- he did more than
provide a mere peg on to which Haydn could hang some of his finest
[Concerning the origin of The
wrote an article for the Allgemeine
Musikalische Zeitung in 1799 which in part said:
My part in the work, which was
originally in English, is perhaps rather more than that of a mere
translator: but not by any means so extensive that I could call the text
my own…It was written by an unknown person (Griesinger, Haydn’s first
biographer, calls this person a Mr. Lidley or Lindley), who had compiled
it largely from Milton’s Paradise Lost, and had intended it for Handel.
It is not known why this great composer never made any use of the work;
but when Haydn was in London,
the text was brought forth and it was suggested that he set it to music.
At first glance, Haydn found the material of the text well chosen, but
he did not accept the proposal immediately…and said he would give his
answer when he returned to Vienna. He then showed it to me here and I
agreed with his judgement of the piece. Moreover, I saw immediately that
this work would provided Haydn with the ideal opportunity to display the
full powers of his inexhaustible genius; and as I had longed hoped for
this very possibility, I was encouraged to take the libretto and to give
the English poem a German setting. While on the whole I followed the
general outlines of the original piece, I changed details whenever it
seemed prudent to do so for the sake of the musical line and expression .k]
[At the time of composition, Haydn was not a difficult genius to work
with, and he accepted many of the “hints”
provided. In fact, Haydn moved to an apartment in the inner town for
that winter to facilitate the collaboration between himself and
expanded over time upon his remarks and statements concerning his
involvement (or rather, credit due him), Haydn did indeed grow very
Haydn received generous financial support for the
Creation and the
Seasons, for which
as leader of the sponsors, must be given credit. At the first
performance of the Creation,
for instance, the Associierte
not only guaranteed Haydn an honorarium of 500 Ducats -- five times as
much as Mozart had received for the composition of
-- but paid all the expenses of the performance and presented him with
The fact that the Seasons
was ever completed is probably due to Swieten's persistent encouragement
(or harrying) of Haydn, at a time when the composer was disillusioned
with the words he had to set, and generally weary of his task.
partly responsible for the character of Haydn's music in the two
oratorios. In the margins of the libretti, he noted many suggestions as
to how the words might effectively be set.21
[In one example, he wrote “The words, ‘Let there be Light’, must come
but once” m]
Presumptuous though it may seem for a man of Swieten's talents to offer
suggestions to the most famous composer of his day, it must be admitted
that his notes usually show a sound grasp of musical effect, and
sometimes real imagination. At the beginning of the final chorus of
'...I think that a note in striking
contrast to the key of the preceding Song of Joy would produce a good
effect...' (Friedlander, op. cit., pp. 51-2).
Haydn responded by following the D major cadence with a unison Bb
fortissimo. In fact, he observed closely most of Swieten's remarks.
Swieten's influence is most apparent in the descriptive passages, where
he often prevailed upon Haydn to write picturesque music against his
better judgment. The passage in the
Seasons which imitates the croaking of frogs was later
disowned by Haydn, with the remark: 'I was forced to write the
[Part of Haydn’s displeasure here is due to the fact that the
Seasons was not a
religiously inspired work. The text here is more down-to-earth, very
much in the manner as that of a
singspiel with a perhaps unfortunate element of bourgeois
morality; something no doubt elaborated and expanded on by
from the original. Haydn appears to have not enjoyed as much composing
to such a text. In any event, the subject matter of the two oratorios is
very different: to paraphrase Haydn’s comments, the peasant folk of the
Seasons do not match up well against the three archangels of
The Creation. He complained
in later years that composing this work had been a strain and had
overtaxed him, despite the freshness of the music and its originality.
(Here was played a recording of part
of the final Trio and Chorus from ‘Summer’.)
The picturesque element in Haydn's oratorios was criticized by some of
his contemporaries, who complained that pictorial representation was the
province of the painter; today we accept the same feature as an
essential characteristic of the oratorios, with its own peculiar charm.
For better or worse
liking for descriptive music, possibly a legacy from his own attempts in
the field of opera comique,
left its mark on the Creation
and the Seasons.
The part which
played in the composition of the Haydn oratorios gives some idea of his
personality, and the sort of relationship he must have had with the
musicians whom he favoured with his patronage. His support was
undoubtedly valued, for his opinions carried great weight in the musical
world. [This carried over to Mozart’s family after the composer’s death,
for example, as
had arranged a charity concert for them in Vienna in 1793, at which the
Requiem was premiered. o]
Beethoven too was taken into Swieten's circle, in his early years in
Vienna. Although he never worked as closely with him as did Haydn or
Mozart, he thought sufficiently highly of
to dedicate his first symphony to him. But
Swieten's dealings with musicians must have been formal, even
patronising, rather than friendly. [As Otto Jahn put it: “In his
intercourse with artists, however highly he might estimate them and
their works, his demeanor was always that of a grand seigneur, and he
enforced his own views with an air of somewhat overbearing superiority.
This was again Haydn’s experience, and Mozart can scarcely have escaped
some measure of annoyance from the same source.”p]
Aloofness seems to have been a prominent trait in Swieten's character --
the lively and gregarious young man of his Paris and Brussels days
became in later life the egotistical pedant, too conscious of his own
rank and learning, living more or less in a self-chosen solitude.
Perhaps his dismissal from his high position was partly to blame. Though
the Viennese salon may
seem, on the surface, to be a purely social institution, it was largely
frequented by members of the high nobility, together with those of lower
standing whose position in Court or State affairs gave them special
who belonged to the lower ranks of the aristocracy, withdrew more and
more from social life after 1791. Four years later he talks of his
contentment with 'the complete retirement in which I live'.23
Even in the musical life of Viennese society,
seems to have played only a limited part, and his activity was on a
formal, rather than a personal level. As the leader of the
Associierte he did
invaluable work, but he is rarely found in the more intimate atmosphere
of the musical soiree,
which was such a prominent feature of social life in Vienna. His
position is that of the much revered 'great connoisseur', and virtually
the High Priest of musical taste -- a position which became impregnable
after the success of the Creation
and the Seasons.
The soundness of Swieten's musical judgment need not be questioned. It
has been suggested that his liking for music of the past was merely a
by-product of his own pedantry,24
but this seems unreasonable when we consider which composers he
especially favoured. One could scarcely quarrel with his choice: of
composers of the past, Sebastian Bach and Handel; and of those of his
own time, Gluck, Emanuel Bach, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven.
In his own time
won little affection, but almost universal respect. [As Otto Jahn notes
in his book The Life of Mozart concerning
“He exerted all his influence in the cause of music, even so subordinate
an end as to enforce silence and attention during musical performances.
Whenever a whispered conversation arose among the audience, his
excellency would rise up from his seat in the first row, draw himself up
to his full majestic height, measure the offenders with a long, serious
look, and then very slowly resume his seat. The proceeding never failed
of its effect.”q]
If his autocratic manner now prevents him from wholly gaining our
sympathy, we cannot fail to recognise his place in musical history. His
judgment was uncompromising but sure. His apparent arrogance stems from
that complete confidence in his own sensibility which was his greatest
strength. His faith in himself finds its full justification in the music
of Mozart and Haydn. [See Appendix 3] Alongside Neukomm's assessment,
was 'not so much a friend as a very self-opinionated patron of Haydn and
we should admit the equal validity of the obituary notice from the
Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung
...In him music loses a significant
Maecenas, and the world an upright and loyal man…Swieten was an adherent
of no school or sect, every true talent he welcomed; nevertheless, his
favourites were Handel, Sebastian Bach, Mozart and Haydn, with whom he
occupied himself almost daily. Would that a man of high station may soon
come forward, who will so actively espouse the cause of all music as did
(As an appendix to this paper was
played a recording of the Symphony in D major (‘Ouvertura dell Opera
Carrara’) by Gottfried
Some years ago, Else Radant discovered an unpublished Austrian diary, in
plays a major role in 1791, the last year of Mozart's life. The story is
that of Franz (later Ritter von) Heintl, son of a poor mountain farmer
from the border country of Moravia; not least thanks to
this young man became a prominent and wealthy lawyer. His story puts
into perspective as being a decent and generous man of the
[pg. 55] On 24 August 1789
I arrived in Vienna...My entire capital consisted of 12 gulden. My first
quarters were in the rooms of a master tailor…for which I had to pay 2F
in advance monthly. My shoes and boots had to be put in good order and
that cost 6F 30x, thus I had only 3F 30x for the rest of life's
necessities…[pg. 56] I never had any breakfast, for lunch I went with
several other students to a Traiteu…where the portions were small- a
small bowl of soup, a tiny piece of beef with vegetables and a loaf of
bread costing 1 Groschen. That cost 6x daily…My evening meal was dry
bread. In those days a loaf of bread at 6x weighed 1 H, 17 Loth. A third
of that was my evening meal.
He finds children to tutor, two hours daily, providing an income of 4F
30X in the month. But since Latin is not his forte, he loses the job,
but finds other pupils. They live so far apart that he has to run
between jobs in order to arrive on time; he now teaches nine hours daily
and that gives him a monthly income of 24F. With this he supports his
two brothers in college in Olmütz, while he studies at night. In 1791 he
is very ill, hopes for a scholarship but is not awarded one. He turns to
for help. The account continues:
[pg. 75ff.] Feeling
scared, I went to Hr.
quarters, which were in the I.R. Castle on the Josephsplatz [2 April
1791, 4 p.m.]. At this unusual hour of the day, I was let into the
antechamber, announced and at once admitted to His Excellency's study.
He was holding my petition in his hand and had written my name on the
outside in red ink; he addressed me in the following words, which I
shall never forget: 'I have read your petition. I have found it good and
I was touched by it. Take this as the first sign of my sympathy towards
you' (and he handed me a banknote for 5 FL); 'there is not very much
that I can do to help, but come and pick up the money every month.' That
was quite beyond my wildest hopes. ...I bent down to kiss the
benefactor's green silk dressing gown adorned with the Knight
Commander's Cross of the Order of St Stephen, in which he had received
me. ...[pg. 77] After the first month had passed, I found it difficult
to go to him to get the 5 FL, I was afraid he wouldn't remember me, and
since I was no longer in an emergency, I found it hard to remind him of
his promise. On the other hand, it would be unseemly, indeed ungrateful,
not to accept such a philanthropic invitation. And the noble
had not forgotten me: he recognized me as soon as I entered, asked me
how I fared, and pressed the 5 FL into my hand; he had them ready
without [my] having to mention them specifically…
continued to help Heintl and, when the young man became a doctor of law,
visited him in his quarters in the Stoss in Himmel and even entrusted
the affairs of his niece, Countess Rosetti, to him.
(From H. C. Robbins Landon, Mozart:
The Golden Years, New York, 1989, pg. 110-111.
On 14 October 1791, Emperor Leopold II, in the Hofburg in Vienna,
received an unsigned letter from a confidant (Leopold would, of course,
have recognized the handwriting):
“With a feeling of horror
I beg to inform your Majesty…of a most curious report which was conveyed
to me yesterday evening...by a man not unknown to Your Majesty,
Ehrenberg, who wishes to
repeat the matter in person and to inform you of various other dubious
circumstances as soon as Your Majesty is graciously pleased to grant him
a private audience…
On the very first day after the arrival of His Royal Highness the
Archduke Francis [from the Prague Coronation, Cabinet Secretary Johann
Baptist von] Schloissnigg entered the Cabinet office of Ehrenberg and
delivered the following sermon, which I am in the position of being able
to repeat, partly verbatim
and partly based on its most significant content.
'Thank God the Archduke has finally arrived. He could in fact have
stayed away longer, because he has
ruined my pheasant hunt. But I already feared he had been
subjected to some influences because
he is taken everywhere, and his father [Leopold II] doesn't
want to let him out of his sight, so
that he will.not see or experience certain things. But all
has been arranged and I have to say, everything is still all right, as
it was before.
'You know that marvellous story, too, about the 16,000 military being
called up in Vienna. They want to stave off the coming
Revolution. But that won't help them at
all. A revolution is necessary, because ...a ruler who simply enjoys
life does not deserve to occupy the throne [here the
handwriting becomes shaky and the underlining uneven].
A shock passes through my veins as I write this, but Ehrenberg has
offered to swear before Your Majesty that he heard these
words from Schloissnigg's
This person, this Cromwell, this perpetrator of
high treason is the private
tutor and daily confidant of the Crown Prince of Austria; he is at the
head of the Illuminati; he was placed in this position by
he permits himself such speeches in front of third parties in whom he
otherwise shows no particular trust, speaks thus in an Imperial building
and in the chancellery of the Crown Prince!!! What might he say in other
circumstances, and what designs and plans might be maturing in this
This letter obviously started an investigation in Schloissnigg’s
activities, but as well it claims that
placed him in position to do potential harm. As a Mason, he would have
been marked for certain; as an Illuminati, (a subset of Freemasonry
considered to be actively formenting French Revolutionary ideas) the
potential for danger as perceived by the Court would have been
dangerously high. Stating that the
did so knowingly appoint Schloissnigg to official positions would mark
as a potential enemy as well.
Further, around 2 January 1792 (though it could date from earlier), a
list of “known” famous Illuminati was supplied to Leopold II and his
court. This Verzeichnis einiger
berühmten Illuminaten has 65 names on it: #14 is that of
“Baron Switen, (sic) formerly President of the Studies Commission in
Vienna.” For that matter, others of the nobility friendly to Mozart were
on this list as well.
From these two points, it can be readily seen that
would have heard in some manner that the Imperial Court was more than
simply dissatisfied with his opinions and patronizing ways; it was in
investigating him in areas that could lead to treason
charges, if prosecutors felt so inclined. He may have not known the
specifics, but whispers were no doubt active. Distracting, to say the
(From H. C. Robbins Landon, Mozart:
The Golden Years, New York, 1989, pg. 227-228, 258)
In Berlin also
became better acquainted with Haydn than was possible in Vienna, and
like Mozart and the youthful Beethoven, he loved and reverenced him next
to Handel and Bach.
"As far as music is concerned," he writes (December, 1798), "I have gone
back to the times when it was thought necessary before practicing an art
to study it thoroughly and systematically. In such study I find
nourishment for my mind and heart, and support when any fresh proof of
the degeneracy of the art threatens to cast me down. My chief comforters
are Handel and the Bachs, and with them the few masters of our own day
who tread firmly in the footsteps of the truly great and good, and
either give promise of reaching the same goal, or have already attained
to it. In this there can be no doubt that Mozart, had he been spared to
us, would have succeeded; Joseph Haydn stands actually at the goal."
Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung
I., p. 252. (as quoted by Otto Jahn,
The Life of Mozart Vol. III
What works we know of that
composed do not number very many. Those that have survived number
Opera comiques: (3) Les talents à la
mode and Colas, toujours
Colas survive; La
chercheuse d’ espirt is known to have been performed, but no
copies have surfaced.
Symphonies: (10) At least ten symphonies are known to have been
composed, but only seven have survived, and three of those were for many
years attributed to Haydn. One of the Baron’s symphonies was performed
as late as 1782 in a Vienna Augarten concert that as well featured
together with Monsigny and Philidor contributed to the pasticcio
operatic work La rosière de Salency.
As the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians 2nd Edition puts it:
“The unpretentious little operas have a certain naïve charm and colour,
but the chief characteristics of the conservative, three-movement
symphonies are tautology and paucity of invention.” Tautology is defines
as the needless repetition of an idea.
From the article on
in The New Grove Dictionary of Music
and Musicians 2nd Edition, edited by Stanley Sadie, New York,
1 See O. E.
Deutsch, Mozart, die Dokumente
seines Lebens, Kassel, 1961, p. 75-6
The Letters of Mozart and his Family,
tr. & ed. E. Anderson, London, 1938, p. 1192
3 ibid., p.
Vienna Nationalbibliothek, MS. S. m. 3347.
5 K.404a &
6 See E. F.
als Komponist’, Mozart Jahrbuch,
Baptist Schnek, ‘Autobiographische Skizze’
Studien zur Musikwissenschaft,
xi (1924), 77f
The Public Advertiser, June
14th, 1769, &c.
Autobiographie des Vice
Hof-Kapellmeisters Joseph Weigl, Vienna Nationalbibliothek,
MS. S.m. 8952, f 1v.
10 Letter of
6 June 1786; Vienna Nationalbibliothek, Codex 9718, f. 89-90.
11 See S.
Adler, Die Unterrichtsverfassung
Kaiser Leopolds II, Vienna & Leipzig, 1917.
op. cit., p. 1200-2
13 ibid., p.
14 See A.
Holschneider, ‘Die “Judas-Macchabäus”-Bearbeitung der österreichischen
Nationalbibliothek’, Mozart Jahrbuch,
1960, pp. 173-182.
15 See C. F.
Pohl, Joseph Haydn, iii
(completed by H. Botstiber), Leipzig, 1927, pp. 126ff and 177f; and E.
Olleson, ‘Haydn in the diaries of Count Karl von Zinzendorf’,
Haydn Yearbook, ii (1963)
16 H. C.
Robbins Landon, The Collected
Correspondence of Joseph Haydn, London, 1959, p. 20.
Prague & Vienna, iii. 64ff.
18 See A.
Sandberger, “Zur Entstehungsgeschichte von Haydns “Sieben Worten des
Erlösers am Kreuze”’, Jahrbuch der
Musikbibliothek Peters, 1903, pp. 45-59
19 H. Abert,
W. A. Mozart, Leipzig,
1919-21, ii. 413.
20 A. Mörath,
‘Die Pflege der Tonkunst durch das Fürstenhaus Schwarzenberg’,
Das Vaterland, xlii (Vienna,
1901) No. 68, pp. 1-4.
Swieten’s suggestions are printed in Pohl, op. cit., iii. 358-9, and M.
und das Textbuch zu Haydns “Jahreszeiten”’,
Jahrbuch der Musikbibliothek Peters,
1909, pp. 47-56.
22 H. C.
Robbins Landon, The Collected
Correspondence of Joseph Haydn, London, 1959, p. 197.
23 Letter to
Bernhard von Pelser of 7 November 1795; Vienna Stadtbibliothek, MS. I.N.
op. cit., ii. 90-91.
25 H. Seeger,
‘Zur musikhistorischen Bedeutung der Haydn-Biographie von Albert Dies
(1810)’ Beiträge zur
Musikwissenschaft, 1959/iii, 31.
Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung,
v. col. 476
from the first movement of this symphony are printed in R. Bernhardt,
‘Aus der Umwelt der Wiener Klassiker, Freiherr Gottfried
Swieten’, Der Bär,
Jahrbuch von Breitkopf & Härtel, 1929/30, pp. 164ff.
a. B. Cormican, Mozart’s Death,
Mozart’s Requiem, Belfast, 1991, p.81.
b. H. C. Robbins Landon, Mozart, The
Golden Years, New York, 1989, pp. 241ff.
c. H. C. Robbins Landon, liner notes to ‘Haydn’s ”Creation”’, Archive
Produktion 449-217-2, p. 6.
d. H. C. Robbins Landon, Mozart, The
Golden Years, New York, 1989, p. 108.
e. Ibid, p. 110.
f. Cormican, op. cit., p. 144.
g. H. C. Robbins Landon, Mozart, The
Golden Years, New York, 1989, p. 79.
h. Cormican, op. cit., p. 251.
i. H. C. Robbins Landon, Mozart, The
Golden Years, New York, 1989, p. 192.
j. H. C. Robbins Landon, ibid. pp. 112-113.
k. H. C. Robbins Landon, liner notes to ‘Haydn’s ”Creation”’, Archive
Produktion 449-217-2, p. 6.
l. Jens Peter Larsen, The New Grove
Haydn, New York,
1983, p. 73.
m. H. C. Robbins Landon, liner notes to ‘Haydn’s ”Creation”’, Archive
Produktion 449-217-2, p. 6.
n. Jens Peter Larsen, The New Grove
Haydn, New York,
1983, pp. 72-73.
o. Cormican, op. cit., p. 276.
p. Otto Jahn, The Life of Mozart,
London, 1891, Vol. II., p. 385.
q. Ibid. pp. 384-385.