Charles Hazlewood explores great composers' lives and music. He looks at the fascinating two-way relationship Haydn, an astute businessman, had with Britain.
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# When Britain first at Heaven's command... #
Britain in the second half of the 18th century bestrode the globe.
Enormously rich, enormously powerful.
But what we failed to produce during this time
was a national composer of real genius.
We were, however, and continue to be, a nation of anthem-lovers.
We British naturally create songs that we can all wrap our lungs around,
which tap into the public mood, and somehow draw us together.
# Rule Britannia! Britannia rule the waves
# Britons never, never, never
# Shall be slaves. #
Like it or loathe it, Rule Britannia has been a firm part of British national identity since the 1740s,
the decade that also saw the birth of our other big national tune.
# ..Long to reign over us
# God save the Queen. #
So, two iconic tunes, but no great national composer.
And once again, the man that became our national musical hero at the end of the 18th century was,
like Handel before him, a foreigner. He came from Austria and his name was Franz Joseph Haydn.
And he wrote this...
MUSIC: "Gott Erhalte Franz Den Kaiser"
..the Austrian Imperial Anthem, subsequently adopted by the Germans.
Let's face it, they got the better tune.
But Britain's relationship with Haydn really was a two-way street.
We caused a seismic shift in his composition, and he took our musical destiny forwards.
Haydn arrived in Britain on New Year's Day 1791,
the first of two substantial visits he made here.
He was already revered internationally as the world's greatest composer,
and yet, he'd spent his entire working life
closeted away in the service of noble princes on the Hungarian border.
And only now, at the age of nearly 60, did he have the opportunity to travel independently.
The world was his oyster.
But it was Britain he chose to come to.
In 1791, this country was more progressive, open, free and rich than any other in Europe.
And, interestingly, economic, political and cultural power
was in the process of shifting from the aristocracy and the Church
to the new, confident and swelling middle class.
It's important to realise that Haydn was massively popular in Britain, long before he'd even come here.
We knew him through his scores, symphonies and quartets, which were being performed around the country.
This was an age, of course, before recording, so it wasn't like Haydn's discs were travelling,
it was his scores that were travelling, and we were loving them.
As a conductor, I'm endlessly being confronted by new music,
and I clearly remember the day, about 15 years ago,
when I finally, suddenly, got hold of The Farewell Symphony - Haydn's symphony number 45.
And I opened the first page of this score...
It's in F-sharp minor, by the way, which is a really prickly, dodgy key,
a key that was rarely used by composers in this era because of its instability.
I opened the page and it just jumped out at me, practically grabbed my throat off.
It's so powerful.
It starts with this stunningly strong set of chords, thundering down and then back up again,
and then goes to something abjectly soft.
Haydn had a tremendous sense of theatre,
he was a great teller of stories, and we British have always loved that.
I suppose the key to this music, why we loved it so much, is this sense of drama, of story telling.
Also this tremendous sense of forward motion, there's something immensely optimistic about that,
the earth elemental power of the rhythmic drive,
even though the outer tenor of the music - it's a minor key - is quite sombre.
Late 18th-century Britain had an insatiable appetite for thrilling, spectacular entertainment.
Fortunes were being made and lost in enterprises such as extravagant masquerade balls,
the famous Oxford Street Pantheon, which functioned as a kind of winter pleasure gardens,
and the mind-blowing novelty of Robert Barker's Rotunda,
which opened just here, in 1793, on the corner of Cranbourn Street and Leicester Square,
and which, for five shillings, offered the public the Georgian equivalent of the Imax cinema,
a gigantic 360-degree view of exotic cities like Constantinople,
stirring patriotic scenes from the British Fleet,
or battles from the Napoleonic wars.
Now, just a couple of years before Robert Barker opened his Rotunda,
a violinist and impresario by the name of Johann Peter Salomon
determined that Haydn's name should be up there in lights, so to speak, in Britain's capital.
Marshall Marcus is the nearest modern equivalent to Salomon,
formally a violinist, a self-confessed Haydn nut,
he's now head of music at London's Southbank Centre.
Huge coup, wasn't it, for London to get Haydn?
It was, and it's one of those things, almost like an accident,
that Salomon, who worked in London, happened to be travelling around in Europe,
he was in Cologne when he heard the news that the prince who employed Haydn was dead,
and he went straight to Vienna.
It was one of those moments when you've just got to do it.
He went to Vienna, he went to see Haydn, and he said, "You're coming with me to London."
And they, sort of, made this accord, as he put it,
and he brought him here. And it was just an extraordinary opportunity.
We all look for those.
Why do you think London was so attractive to Haydn?
Well, this is the world's table at that point.
Everything is going on here, it was an extraordinary magnet for musicians.
It's been that for hundreds of years, and it continues today to be that. And huge potential for earning.
The contract that was done with him, he got £200 for a commission to write six symphonies,
and £200 more for the copyright there,
£250 for a benefit.
I think I estimated he was offered in the region of £1,200, which was a massive sum in those days.
London was the centre of what was important. Music was the rage, Haydn was the man, London was the place.
London hit Haydn like a sledgehammer.
It was the busiest, the noisiest, the dirtiest, the most industrialised city on the planet.
Haydn made sense of it by trying to understand it,
compulsively collecting data.
Like this, for instance.
He wrote, "The city of London consumes eight times 100,000 cart-loads of coal each year.
"Each cart holds...
"In the month of January 1792, a roasting chicken costs seven shillings,
"a turkey nine shillings, a dozen larks...
"The national debt of England is estimated to be over 200 million.
"The city of London keeps 4,000 carts for...
"An apprentice works from six o'clock in the morning to six o'clock in the evening,
"and during this time he is not...
"..But every quarter of an hour of absence is docked.
"NB, a duck, if it's plucked, costs five shillings."
Cool and clinical collections of information.
This is how Haydn's mind works.
His sense of London, his sense of industrialisation.
What does it tell us about the man and, in particular, his music?
Look, of course he's interested in the poetical, but he's most interested in form and structure.
He's already perfected his art, by the 1760s-70s, decades before he's come to London.
And now he's just gonna go and enjoy himself.
Let's take the 71 No 2, the string quartet, that first movement,
and you've got this very slow opening.
And it sounds very portentous, it's very serious.
And then immediately after a few bars, he just punctures that.
And he starts, what you wouldn't even call a tune, it's sort of this...
jumping figure. Bo-bum, bo-bum, bo-bum...
And then you think, "OK, what's he gonna do with it?" And of course, he does all sorts of things with it.
He puts it upside down, he covers it in as an accompaniment, he makes the harmony go to some bizarre places.
And it's so interesting that many composers go into a, sort of, late phase,
when it all gets very serious.
But Haydn just has a technique that allows him to go to the edge and come back.
The number of times you get to a point and think, "Now it's getting serious,"
and you expect a sort of Beethovian crisis,
and he says, "No, no, just joking," and he moves on.
This is where he's such a scientist.
That he's got the same kind of zealous need to discover
all the which ways that one might treat or work a piece of music, a thread,
just as an alchemist might in a laboratory.
That's exactly how I see Haydn.
He's one of those people who's forever looking at the structure of the world and saying,
"What happens if you turn that upside down there, or that way round?"
I just think it's that constant curiosity.
His tunes are not the things that will catch you - it's the form, it's the structure.
I was once talking to a musician who said, "The thing about Haydn is, the structure IS the expression."
And I think that was one of the most profound things I've heard about him.
But Haydn was here to deliver. He needed to make an impact with that structure and form.
Early Georgian London had got its greatest thrills from the dramatic narrative spectacular of opera.
But the public of the 1790s was about to be ravished
by the entirely abstract musical spectacle of the symphony.
And over the next four years, Haydn, dubbed "the father of the symphony",
was to write a dozen of them. Those we now know as the London Symphonies.
Together, they represent not only the real crown jewels of his output,
but also his single greatest public achievement in this country.
And of all of them, the one that the British public most completely wowed to,
was his Symphony No 100 - The Military.
In March 1791, Salomon launched Haydn onto the London scene,
with a 12-week series of subscription concerts in the Hanover Square Rooms,
which were sadly destroyed in 1900.
So, for this film, we're performing, in the closest match you can find - the Assembly Rooms in Bath -
with my orchestra of period instruments, Army Of Generals.
These were high-prestige, fashionable events.
And they were expensive.
Five guineas for 12 concerts was typical for a series like that,
and that's a lot of money.
London audiences made their presence felt,
whether it was through ecstatic applause, even during the middle of a piece.
But if the music didn't take their fancy,
they would engage in conversation and go off to the refreshment room.
The composer had to really work hard to attract the attention of his audiences.
The demanding British public presented a distinct new challenge for Haydn.
He's now, effectively, a commercial composer.
And like the best showmen, he's got to grab the attention of his paying audience from the very start.
The Holywell Music Room in Oxford is Europe's oldest purpose-built concert-hall.
Back in the 1790s, audiences here would have expected to be gripped, even by smaller-scale works.
Haydn is a master of starting with a bang.
How about this for an opening gambit?
And what about this?
And for me, it's that combination in Haydn of both showman and scientist
that chimes so perfectly with the appetite and nature of the British in the 1790s.
This is the Royal Institution Of Great Britain,
which was founded in the 1790s for the advancement and promulgation of science.
And its public meetings were so popular
that very often the street was literally crammed with carriages,
which is why this street, Albemarle Street, was London's first one-way street.
What's the purpose of this great theatrical space?
This is the main lecture theatre that's been here, more or less, since the beginning,
and it's where we entertain the public with science.
I'm desperate to hear about the experiment, famously caricatured by Gillray,
that took place in this very room, didn't it?
Yes, it happened about 1801, and it shows Thomas Garnett, who was professor of chemistry here,
administering laughing gas to Sir John Hippisley,
and showing Hippisley farting.
What did laughing gas actually do?
It didn't make you fart, did it?
It didn't make you fart, no. But it did make you laugh,
and it was very enjoyable.
Davy, in Bristol, where he discovered its properties,
was a friend of Coleridge and Southey - poets and philosophers -
and he tested it out on them.
And they, basically in Coleridge's case, certainly added it to his repertoire of recreational drugs.
Davy was a romantic, he read poetry, and he was the most engaging of lecturers,
he would do the most dangerous things you could possibly imagine.
He would explode chemicals, anything to attract an audience,
cos, even today, when we have school children in, the thing that gets them really excited is an explosion.
To what extent were they trying to show the common person that science was something they could understand?
The Royal Institution was not meant for the common person.
It cost five guineas to belong to the Royal Institution, which is about £500 or £600.
That's exactly what it cost if you wanted to buy a subscription
to a series of concerts that Salomon and Haydn were giving.
That tells you what class they were aiming at.
Haydn hit London like, well, a bit like a chemical explosion.
Can you sense what it was about Haydn that so inflamed the public appetite?
When Haydn arrived, it was two years after the French Revolution,
and by that time it was becoming increasingly clear that there would have to be war against France.
And, indeed, halfway through Haydn's visit to London, Britain did indeed go to war.
And so there was, in some classes, there was an overwhelming patriotism
that saw in Haydn music that could be employed for patriotic purposes.
The Times gave a very vivid description of the first performance.
"Encore! Encore! resounded from every seat.
"The ladies themselves could not forbear.
"It is the advance into battle and the march of men.
"The sounding of the charge, the clash of arms, the groans of the wounded,
"and what may well be called the hellish roar of war."
I think he's also a hit, though, because there is a growing seriousness.
And the notion that a concert is just a party, is just entertainment,
he caters for that side, but he also caters for those who want to delve further.
He's a great entertainer, but he's also a great learner.
It wasn't all plain sailing, though.
From Haydn's diaries and notebooks we know that he found the sheer cacophony of this city difficult.
"The noise that the common people make as they sell their wares in the street in intolerable!"
When Haydn first came to London, he lodged with Salomon in a house on this spot,
number 18 Great Pulteney Street.
And just over on the other side of the road, was the most famous piano maker in London, Broadwood.
And bizarrely, Haydn started composing in a room at the back of the shop.
Imagine the noise, piano tuning, piano selling.
So, he's grappling with the cacophony of London life on every level,
but he's also encountering a far more wonderful sound,
that of Georgian Britain's most exciting and most modern piece of musical technology.
At Finchcocks Musical Museum in Kent,
I heard for myself the extraordinary differences between continental and British pianos of the day.
This is kind of the instrument that Haydn would have known before he came to Britain.
This is a Viennese fortepiano,
and that's exactly what it does, but in a very sophisticated way.
It's got two knee levers that change the quality of sound.
The one on the left makes the dampers lift off the string, so it's like a harp,
everything resonates in a very sweet way.
And the one on the right is called a modulator pedal,
where a felt comes between the hammer and the string.
So, this is a veritable Viennese jewel. A wonderful series of pearl-like droplets of sound.
Over here, on the other hand, we have this magnificent, protein-rich beast, which is the British piano.
Yep, this is a Broadwood,
which is exactly the same type of piano that Haydn would have had when he came to London.
And it's bigger, it's louder,
it's more dangerous and experimental.
It's got two levers, which are now called pedals.
There's a sustaining pedal...
And then you've got the una corda pedal, as most of the keys have three strings,
and as you put it down further and further, it can get quieter and quieter.
Haydn in the morning, he would get up and improvise with a piano.
So, I could imagine him finding a new piano and being so excited, playing lots of big chords.
And then getting so excited by that, he wants to find the opposite.
So maybe putting the new una corda pedal down, and then suddenly...
The credit to the Broadwood factory is that it's so advanced in its technology.
They're really trying to push the piano forward.
And composers were asking for that all the time.
Gone are the days of just going...
You can feel that there's more to give here. By Haydn's time you might have...
And then suddenly the whole orchestra joins in.
I think that the makers and composers were working in tandem, really.
Haydn's time in Britain exposed him to something he'd never have seen on mainland Europe -
a composer celebrated as a national icon.
Handel, master of public spectaculars, creator of the oratorio.
Haydn witnessed the King himself rise to his feet for the Hallelujah Chorus,
in one of the mammoth festivals of Handel's music that took place each year at Westminster Abbey.
But at another extreme, the British public mingled music with more hedonistic delights
in the pleasure gardens of cities like Bath, Tonbridge and London.
# They say there is an echo here They say there is and echo here
# I'll try, I'll try, I'll try
# Try again, try again... #
In 1781, the popular hit of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens was this little number,
about an invisible echo, calling for its tea.
# That's it, that's it
# The echo calls for tea It's very droll... #
Ten years later, its composer was to have a profound resonance in Haydn's life.
# It seems to me no humour to cram
# Cram, cram, cram
# As I hope to live It calls for ham. #
This is Herschel's house, and from here he pretty much ran the music scene in Bath.
He taught, he composed and he arranged the concerts at the Assembly Rooms.
He was a very successful musician and impresario,
in fact, one of the great figures in the musical life of late 18th-century Britain.
But music-making was only half of Herschel's life.
In the daytime, he'd be making music up there,
but as night fell, he'd come down here, to the bowels of the building.
In this little room behind the kitchen,
Herschel would spend night after night grinding mirrors of the highest optical quality,
in order to create the most sophisticated telescopes of his age.
Herschel spent many hours in this little back garden with his telescopes,
often in the bitter cold, observing the night sky.
And on one such night, the 13th of March, 1781,
he made his big discovery - the unfortunately named planet, Uranus.
There's a man with a telescope in a field. Hi, Chris.
-Hi, how are you?
-I'm good, thank you.
The first thing I've gotta ask you is, how significant was it that Herschel discovered a new planet?
I think it was the most significant discovery
of his century and several since.
For the whole of human history,
the Ancient Greeks, everyone knew there were six planets -
the Earth, and the five that you can see with the naked eye - moving amongst the stars.
And suddenly, Herschel, with his giant telescope,
adds not just a new star, not just a new fuzzy patch, but a new world to what we knew about the cosmos.
Haydn comes to Britain, and he's heard of this celebrated astronomer, the man who's discovered Uranus,
and of course he's keen to see him. Finally, the two meet. What do you think Herschel would have shown him?
I'm sure they talked about music,
but I have this image, as well, of Haydn being led out to the back of Herschel's house
and into the observatory, and shown these enormous telescopes with which Herschel was making his name.
Haydn marvelled at the actual sight of the telescope itself, let alone what he could see through it.
And at the cost of it.
He wrote down in his diary about how expensive this thing was,
and how much Herschel was making as a telescope maker.
So there's clearly some mercenary... Maybe that's what they talked about,
maybe everything we've been imagining is ridiculous, and they sat and compared bank statements.
I'm sure they will have pored over Herschel's star maps, his drawings,
probably the page with Uranus carefully sketched in.
You can imagine the book being opened and passed round along with the scores.
And perhaps they stood there on a rainy, miserable night like this,
and Herschel maybe told Haydn what he wanted to show him,
and maybe I should do the same. I wanted to show you an object called the Orion Nebula.
You can see it with the naked eye, it's a faint misty patch.
Herschel was the first to realise that this is a place where stars are being born.
Perhaps he stood there talking to Haydn, saying, "I can show you where our solar system came from."
Was Haydn's depiction of the beginning of our universe, many years later,
the legacy in sound from that encounter with Herschel?
Its extraordinary zero-gravity harmony takes us to the edge of the known musical universe.
This is radical music.
Herschel's career seems to me to be about expansions.
You start with the solar system that we know, and he adds a planet.
He doesn't remove the solar system, he adds something.
Haydn was religious. Herschel was a religious man as well,
so, these discoveries aren't challenging God or the established religion at all.
But it's a grander universe for God to have created and for astronomers and musicians to play in, I suppose.
In 1792, Haydn's first British visit came to an end,
and he returned home to Austria for just over a year.
The son of a rural wheelwright, Haydn had trained as a choirboy at St Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna.
In his 20s, he'd gone into service with the Esterhazy family in the small town of Eisenstadt,
30 miles south-east of Vienna.
The magnificent Esterhazy Palace was to prove the perfect laboratory
for the young composer's extraordinary talents.
So Walter, am I imagining Haydn walking to work along this corridor every day?
Yeah. He wasn't living in the palace, but this was his workshop.
So, he would be there twice a day,
speaking with the Prince, to get the wishes from him,
what kind of music he wants to hear,
-or what he has to prepare.
And then he rehearsed here with the musicians.
He was rehearsing in this room?
In this room and maybe rooms next to this.
Oh, my goodness! Oh, wow.
This is some adventure playground.
-I always say this is Haydn's Graceland.
And you can hear - ha!
The most beautiful acoustic.
It wasn't like this, the acoustic, because the wood wasn't here.
When he came in here, so he found this place, ja?
Wonderful hall. Big hall.
-With a marble floor?
-With the marble floor. This is not so good for acoustic conditions.
So, he asked the Prince to put wood on it so that... It's better for it.
And now we find even the bills of the carpenters who did this.
Haydn asked for conditions to have the perfect situation. Like you said, it was a workshop for him.
So. You said, "Wow," when you came in here, ja?
Maybe Haydn did as well,
and he had to compose symphonies for the Prince.
There were no symphonies before,
so Haydn came here and we have this famous, er, Nos 6, 7 and 8... Symphonies...
Matin, midi, soir.
Morning, lunchtime and evening,
and look up on the ceiling. That's what it is.
We have L'Aurora, the goddess of sunrise.
On the carriage.
And we have here La Luna,
and it's the evening, ja?
The evening goddess.
And in the middle, this marriage on Olympus.
But it's noon.
That is incredible.
So, morning, noon, evening.
Nos 6, 7 and 8 now.
The man himself is in here, he looks up at these pictures, how practical.
"I'll write a piece of music about that one, then that one, then that one."
And in every movement there are solo parts into it for his musicians.
So, he's playing to the strengths of the particular hot musicians within the orchestra.
So this is also very clever, because what did he do? He showed to the Prince,
"You engaged perfect musicians, look how wise you did,"
and to the musicians he showed, "I'll look after you, that you have perfect music to play,
"to show off in front of the Prince,
"to show off what you really can do."
And so, ja, this developed.
Prince Nikolaus of Esterhazy could trust Haydn to keep him at the cutting edge of symphonic invention.
But he also had a rather touching passion for an unusual and archaic instrument.
What is this wonderful instrument?
It's called a baryton.
It has six, or sometimes seven strings, like this one,
and they're tuned a little bit like a guitar or a lute.
It's not easy to play.
OK, if you play viol, that's one thing, but...
Hang on a minute, there's a whole other set of strings behind the set of strings you were showing us.
Yes. And that can create problems. I mean, you have to work on that.
So, you're playing with the thumb of your left hand, on the strings at the back.
-Yes, I pluck them.
-Talk about multitasking!
That's it. And that's the problem about it!
So you can accompany yourself in the worst case.
Or something like this.
And that's what makes it sound special, but what makes it a little hard to play,
so there's not too many people trying to do that!
Had the Prince not played the baryton,
do you think Haydn would have written nearly so much music for it?
I'm sure he wouldn't have written anything.
Even in those times, it was a very special instrument.
After just a few years at Esterhazy,
Prince Nikolaus rewarded him with the post of head of music,
and Haydn was able to buy his first house, just down the road from the palace.
This is his house where he lived, and he worked from here.
-And we have this little thing here.
-Is that his piano?
Ja. His fortepiano.
Anton Walter built this, from Vienna. Was very famous at this time.
I always say please don't touch.
-But being as I'm with you...
I think we can manage this.
-Maybe you try. Have a try.
Beautiful, delicate little sound. Just as you'd expect.
They're such little perfect instruments, these Viennese fortepianos.
This is a Walter, and I think I'm right in saying Mozart had a Walter as well?
Ja. In his birthplace, in Salzburg,
they have a fortepiano. It's thought it's an Anton Walter.
And, when this was restored,
-they found out it's from the same piece of wood.
-So they're brothers.
-That is ridiculous.
-And Haydn and Mozart are friends.
These two great masters, Haydn and Mozart, both own fortepianos which are drawn from the same tree.
-That is quite remarkable.
-A good coincidence, I think.
-Look at this picture, ja?
-Now, that is THE famous image of Haydn, isn't it?
-Younger man, yeah.
He is on his fortepiano, composing.
He's got a very kind face.
Do you agree with that?
He himself said, "I'm not a handsome man,
"but women love me anyway."
But, um... He was good-humoured, and I'm sure you could see this in his face.
That he loved to talk with people,
that he was in peace with himself.
And I think this is very important to understand, also, his music.
He struggled, of course, like everyone struggles, in his life,
and you can hear it in his music sometimes,
but it always ends in peace and with hope.
It's always a bright future at the end.
It's very interesting, because if you think about any piece of his music,
it will have moments of melancholy, it will have moments of sheer high spirits,
and lots of other things in between.
But it never quite goes to that dark place that Mozart, say, does,
where it's like he's gouging your soul out.
He is more grounded I think, though.
Where he lived, he knew he has a place in life.
Maybe Mozart travelled too much as a young boy.
Didn't he have a home?
Haydn had a home.
And he had this region here.
It wasn't so easy for him. But I think this is very important to understand - he wasn't torn apart.
In 1794, Haydn came to Britain for a second time,
with a visit that proved to be every bit as triumphant as the first,
and again, lasting about 18 months.
Widespread public affection for Haydn hadn't diminished, especially amongst the ladies.
Haydn, whose wife stayed home in Austria during these visits,
once said that he couldn't understand how he'd been loved by so many pretty women,
claiming, "They can't have been drawn by my beauty."
Probably the most significant relationship Haydn had in London
was with the widow of the former master of the King's music, herself a pianist, Rebecca Schroeter.
Haydn later told his biographer that he would have married her very easily,
"Had I been free at the time."
Perhaps some of the youthful energy of this liaison with Rebecca Schroeter
is reflected in the three great piano trios that Haydn completed on this second London visit,
and dedicated to her.
For me, it was fascinating to find evidence of Mrs Schroeter's intimacy with the older composer -
her signature on a contract that Haydn made with a London publisher at the end of his second visit,
now housed in the British Library.
Well, Simon, it looks, well, highly legal.
Indeed it was a legal document.
I think it gives us an idea
of how Haydn was engaged with the commercial world in London.
So, what we've got here is an agreement with the publisher Hyde,
and it's quite a long shopping list.
If you have a look at what he indicated he might write -
symphonies, quartets, piano sonatas, piano trios,
English songs, Italian songs, catches and glees -
the whole range of different genres that might have been available at the time.
And one of the things that's really interesting about this catalogue,
is that we've got here, "Three grand symphonies, £100."
-Lot of money.
-That's a lot of money.
But then you look over here, and we've got three piano trios, as we would now call them,
much smaller scale pieces, easier and quicker to compose, £75.
What we're talking about is the domestic music market, aren't we?
The idea that your front room became your own little concert hall.
Absolutely, and of course, we should bear in mind from the point of view of the publisher,
if you sold a set of parts for symphonies,
how many people across the country were going to be able to buy those parts and put on these symphonies?
What really made the money was the music for the drawing room,
and that was typically the piano music,
piano music that was played by women, by the daughters of the household,
it was an accomplishment that might lead you to the perfect husband, one might say,
we see that, of course, in the novels of Jane Austen, for example.
Or, on the other hand, songs.
Very astute of Hyde to include some English songs in the lists of pieces that he hoped Haydn might produce.
But also very astute of Haydn.
He's writing, presumably, with an eye on the money he was going to make.
And here we are again, if we just have a look at this here -
"Six English songs with accompaniment for pianoforte,"
£75 again. It's an absolutely remarkable amount of money to pay.
# Now the dancing sunbeams play
# On the green and glassy sea
# Come, and I will lead the way
# Where the pearly treasures be
# Come, and I will lead the way
# Where the pearly treasures be
# Where the pearly treasures be
# Where the pearly treasures be... #
This must've been amazing for Haydn, who'd been pretty much indentured all of his adult life,
his professional life,
to be doing deals with a publisher in London which were gonna get him untold sums of money.
Well, Haydn, I must say, was a very acute businessman in that sense.
Almost too acute. He did tend to sell things several times,
um, around Europe. They didn't have the same copyright ideas that we have nowadays.
So you mean he could sell the same piece to different people at the same time?
As long as it was in a different country, that was kind of all right.
# Follow, follow, follow me
# Follow, follow, follow me... #
In Britain and the rest of Europe,
one of the great love affairs of the time was with all things Scottish.
Here, Haydn cannily spotted another rich scene to mine,
and was easily persuaded to start work on commercial arrangements of Scottish folk song
for the domestic market.
To what extent was this, well, Haydn's, very vigorous publication of all these Scottish folk songs,
to what extent was it building this sense of the mythology of the north of Britain?
Oh, I think hugely. I think hugely.
And, of course, Haydn's just one of a handful of European composers
who do this kind of job.
A lot of, er, a lot of...
publications appear in Scotland with local, less well known musicians doing arrangements,
and then, towards the end of the 18th century, Haydn does some arrangements for a London publisher,
and then George Thomson appears on the scene,
and he's the big daddy of this process.
And, to be honest, I don't know that either of them at that particular point
realised how big a project this would end up being.
Would Haydn have actually heard authentic Scottish folk song? And music?
Highly unlikely, I think, is the answer.
Haydn, sadly, doesn't come north of the border, unlike some of the other composers who do set Scottish songs.
But he does experience performances in London,
and "Scotch songs", as they're termed at that time, are really popular from the early 18th century,
and they're popular on a really popular level,
so they're performed at Vauxhall Gardens, they're performed in cantatas on the concert platform,
but more importantly, a lot of these publications are created for domestic performance.
# Should auld acquaintance be forgot
# And never brought tae mind
# Should auld acquaintance be forgot
# And auld lang syne
# For auld lang syne, my dear
# For auld lang syne
# We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet
# For auld lang syne... #
Auld Lang Syne is a very old tradition in Scotland,
as a song of parting, frequently sung at social events.
Of course, the one that we sing,
and constantly refer to, is the version that Robert Burns wrote.
# We twa hae run aboot the braes
# And pu'd the gowans fine... #
Auld Lang Syne was just one of a staggering 400 Scottish folk songs that Haydn arranged,
to meet the positively insatiable public demand of the time.
Nowadays, I think a lot of people feel very negative about them.
I mean, what was Thomson doing,
asking Haydn to touch these melodies that he knew nothing about? How dare he?
But at the time, I think, what Thomson was doing made perfect sense to him.
He was inspired by new European music and he loved his national music, and he wanted to bring the two together.
Both Haydn's extended visits to Britain had been successes beyond his wildest dreams.
Our streets really had been paved with gold for him.
But the frenetic pace of London was eventually too much for the elderly composer,
and in 1795, Haydn made a final parting.
Now he wanted time to crystallise the ideas and experiences of these four years,
in some of his greatest late works.
Haydn spent the last 14 years of his life in Austria,
riding high off the back of his successes in Britain.
Not least the money he'd made, which allowed him to build this luxurious house on the outskirts of Vienna.
But something that had really inspired Haydn about his time in Britain
was their expression of nationhood through a single song.
Britain was the first country to have a national anthem.
And Haydn thought to himself, "Austria needs one of these, too."
So he wrote one.
God Protect Emperor Franz.
Two years after leaving Britain,
the master of form and structure also proved he could write an iconic tune.
A melody which managed to survive not only the collapse of the Austrian monarchy in 1918,
but even its appropriation by the Nazis.
But the wealthy international celebrity didn't break his bonds with his employers at Esterhazy.
OK, so Haydn comes back from his great victorious successes in London.
How is he now perceived?
He came back as the most famous composer of his time.
So, he got world fame, and he came back to this remote little town of Eisenstadt,
and he had a new prince -
The fourth Prince Esterhazy.
Because he was so famous, they wanted to keep him. They wanted to connect his name to the Esterhazy family.
Like having the crown jewels in your house - everyone's gonna want to come and see.
Exactly! That was Haydn famous, and so the Esterhazys were famous.
And he had only to composed one piece per year for the Esterhazys.
-Just one piece?
-Just one piece...
Because in the past he'd composed so much, all the time, for the Esterhazys.
For real, ja, but he's still got money, so he had so much freedom.
He had an income from them, he had a pension from them,
It was like a life insurance.
Tell me about the Nelson visit.
It was 1800. Lord Nelson and Emma, Lady Hamilton, they came from Italy on their way back to London.
It was a long way back home.
And in Vienna, they were there for a longer period, they were famous there. The most famous couple.
And the Esterhazy Prince of course wanted to have him in his castle, in his palace.
Because, most famous person, in his palace...
Lord Nelson only came when Prince Esterhazy guaranteed that Haydn would be here,
because Lady Emma Hamilton wanted to sing with Haydn.
The story goes that the Prince was a little bit annoyed, because Lady Hamilton was all the time with Haydn.
And Lord Nelson was always playing cards!
But they performed here a mass Haydn composed two years before, which is now, the name is, Nelson Mass.
My appetite's whetted now, I've got to have a go on this little peach of an organ.
THE organ that Haydn knew and played himself.
A lot of men in Britain either have, or would like to have, a garden shed.
It is a Great British tradition.
But not exclusively so.
This is Haydn's garden shed,
on what were the outskirts of the 18th-century Eisenstadt.
A place where I imagine he'd come for sheer peace and quiet. For repose.
Perhaps to spend time tending the garden, perhaps potting some seedlings,
but just quietly to think, and to open his mind.
And it's in one of his last great works, The Creation,
that we get a real glimpse into Haydn's inner world.
For me, that utterly ravishing sunrise that lies at the heart of Haydn's Creation
reveals a man who'd discovered, whilst in Britain, what it is to really look at the heavens.
And it's fascinating to compare it with that far slenderer Sunrise, composed so many years before,
when the brilliant young man arrived at Esterhazy, and merely gazed at a painted ceiling.
Although it was composed in Austria, I always think of The Creation as a British work.
It's based on an English text, but most importantly, it's an oratorio,
that great British form, developed by Handel for and with the British.
But, ultimately, I think it sums up Haydn's time here,
and his delight at completing the circle where art, science and faith meet.
# The heavens are telling the glory of God
# The wonder of His work displays the firmament
# The wonder of His work displays the firmament
# The day that is coming speaks it the day... #
In the early morning of the 31st of May 1809,
surrounded by friends,
Haydn died peacefully at his home in Vienna.
But Haydn's influence on our musical landscape extended far beyond any individual work.
Like Handel before him, he seized the opportunities our nation offered.
Big symphonies, for increasingly popular public concerts,
choral works to draw people together,
music inspired by folk song,
music for the home.
Working and developing alongside us, Haydn left Britain a richer musical nation.
# ..the firmament
# Displays the firmament
# The wonder of His work... #
Next week, in the final episode of The Birth Of British Music,
we'll see how Felix Mendelssohn redefined the power of music for a Victorian world.
# ..The heavens are telling the glory of God
# The wonder of His work
# Displays the firmament
# Displays the firmament
# Displays the firmament. #
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
In the third of four programmes exploring the development of British music, conductor Charles Hazlewood looks at the fascinating two-way relationship the great composer Haydn had with Britain.
Since Haydn was an astute businessman, it was no coincidence that he chose London as the place to make his personal fortune, taking advantage of the increasing demand for subscription concerts and the lucrative domestic market.
On a visit to the Royal Institution of Great Britain and to William Herschel's house in Bath, Charles explores how Haydn's fascination with musical form and structure in music ran alongside his great interest in science, including the structure of the universe. He also travels to Austria to visit the stunning Esterhazy Palace near Vienna where Haydn worked for over three decades, and to Scotland to investigate Haydn's rather curious association with some of our most famous Scottish folk songs.