Saturday was a day with Franz Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
I traveled south by train today, arriving 75 minutes south of Vienna at Eisenstadt, where Haydn served many of his most illustrious years, and where Mozart visited and performed. The Esterhazy princes, Hungarian noblemen in the Habsburg empire, were lovers of music, and they employed a number of court musicians. Haydn eventually became their indispensable chief.
I’m so glad I got to see this place I’ve talked about in classes and rehearsals. And Papa Haydn certainly has a magnificent resting place too.
Street scenes in Eisenstadt:
From Schloss Esterhazy:
Haydn’s burial place:
And then Mr. Mozart beckoned. After a nap at the hotel, I dressed for the concert and took the tram around the Ringstrasse to Karlsplatz. Since I was early, I stopped in for part of an act of La Traviata on the big screen outside the Staatsoper. Then I muddled my way through throngs of people in the park on a very festive Saturday evening, and took my seat in the fourth row at the Karlskirche.
Now, I had this all wrong. I thought this was some dumb pick-up group doing the Mozart Requiem, and I was going just because it was something to do.
Oh no! This was Orchestra 1756, a period instrument group from Salzburg that is VERY good. This was a FABULOUS performance — spirited, moving, quirky, using the room’s tremendous depth of character, visually involving — a near-perfect evening.