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 to sing.
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.
In what he dubbed “a musicological jeu d’esprit”, Edward Green drew 25 parallels between the lives of Joseph Haydn and Duke Ellington in “Haydn and Ellington: Parallel lives?” (International review of the aesthetics and sociology of music XL/2 [December 2009] pp. 349–51). These include:
- Both had an outstanding orchestra at their immediate disposal for decades. This meant that they wrote for individuals, not just for instruments, and enabled the striking timbral and contrapuntal risks that they felt safe taking.
- Both helped to create the predominant musical style of their century, and were celebrated in their lifetime for having done so.
- Despite the necessity of producing numerous occasional works, both took an experimental attitude to composing, striving for freshness of form, design, and content, and their styles changed and developed remarkably over their careers.
- Both had a notoriously keen business sense.
Today is Haydn’s 270th birthday! Below, Baryton Trio Valkkoog performs the Adagio and Finale Fuga from Haydn’s “Birthday” trio, Hob.XI:97, composed for the birthday of Prince Nikolaus Esterházy.
Launched in 2011 by the Haydn Society of North America and based at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Haydn (ISSN 2163-2723) is dedicated to the dissemination of all areas and methodologies of research and performance considerations regarding the music, culture, life, and times of Joseph Haydn and his circle.
Each semiannual issue will include large and small articles, reviews, reactions to previous articles, and other new and pertinent information. The journal’s Web-based format is intended to take full advantage of current and emerging electronic media.