Haydn and Lady Hamilton

Lady Hamilton

Returning from Palermo to London in 1800 Lady Hamilton, the poet Cornelia Knight, the ambassador Sir William Hamilton, and Lord Nelson stopped on the way for a visit to Eisenstadt.

From 6 to 10 September the entourage was hosted by Nikolaus I, Prince Esterházy with receptions, dances, and concerts in their honor. Haydn organized a performance of his Te Deum and Nelson Mass (Missa in Angustiis), and composed Lines from the Battle of the Nile, to a text by Ms. Knight, for Emma Hamilton.

Hamilton repeated the cantata in Prague on 8 October, and in 1801 the work was published there with the dedication “The music composed and dedicated to Lady Hamilton.”

This according to “Eternal praise! Joseph Haydn komponiert für Lady Hamilton/Eternal Praise! Joseph Haydn compone per Lady Hamilton” by Dieter Richter, an essay included in Lady Hamilton: Eros und Attitüde–Schönheitskult und Antikenrezeption in der Goethezeit/Eros e attitude–Culto della bellezza e antichità classica nell’epoca di Goethe (Petersburg: Michael Imhof Verlag, 2015, pp. 54–56).

Above, Lady Hamilton in a ca. 1782 portrait by George Romney; below, Emma Kirkby sings Lines from the Battle of the Nile.

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