1732-1749 Childhood


1750-1760 The apprenticeship years


1761-1780 The beginning of the Esterházy period


1781-1790 Mid Esterházy period


1791-1795 London Journey


1796-1809 Late Esterházy periode


1791-1795 London Journey

In August 1793 Haydn signed the contract for his new house at Gumpendorf near Vienna, which his wife had found during his stay in England. Joseph Haydn bought the single storey house from master weaver Ignaz Weissgram and extended it by another floor. It was only after his second trip to England that he occupied the new house and lived there until his death: from March 1800 as a widower. On 1 June 1840 a marble plaque was affixed with the inscription "To Haydn". Today this house is the Viennese Haydn Museum.
1792: Emperor Ludwig II. died.
France declared war on Austria.
1793: King Ludwig XVI. of France and Marie Antoinette executed.

In January 1794 , Haydn, together with Johann Elssler (1769-1843) his copyist and servant, travelled for the second time to England. The concert season of spring 1794 was again a success. The "Military Symphony" , which was to become the most popular of his symphonies during his life was performed for the first time. Haydn made further contacts with English publishers during his stay. The number of compositions which Haydn wrote for his two London visits would be notable lifetime achievement for any other composer. He wrote about 280 single compositions, amongst them the opera "Orpheus", the "12 London Symphonies", over 200 songs and several string quartets and piano concertos.

On 1st February 1795 Haydn received the great honour of being accepted into the programmes of "Ancient Concerts". He was the only composer to be so honoured during his lifetime. Now he found entry to the concerts of the English King George III. (1738-1820) to whom he was introduced by Prince George of Wales (1762-1830). In spring of 1795 Joseph Haydn played, conducted and sung on various occasions for the Royal Family and at concerts, which the Prince of Wales (from 1820 King George IV.) held at Carlton House. King George III. and Queen Charlotte tried to persuade Haydn to stay longer in England and offered him a suite of rooms at Windsor.

In August 1791 Prince Paul Anton II. Esterhazy expressed the wish that Haydn would return to Eisenstadt. Haydn however still had to fulfil contractual obligations and only left the British Isles after two successful concert seasons at the end of June 1792 . He travelled via Bonn, where he met the talented young Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), to Vienna. It was agreed that Beethoven should come to Haydn in Vienna to study composition and counterpoint. However, after a few lessons there was a separation between teacher and pupil. Haydn's favourite students were Ignaz Pleyel (1757-1831) and Sigismund Neukomm (1778-1858).

Until the beginning of the next concert season Joseph Haydn lived a secluded life and gave private lessons to Rebecca Schroeter , a wealthy widow. During the first stay in England a deep bond between Haydn and his pupil developed. Her letters, which Haydn copied into his notebook, documented her passionate feelings for the great composer: "No language can only half express what love and devotion I feel towards you". Haydn was a frequent guest at Mrs Schroeter's, who, with extreme care, was concerned about the physical and bodily well-being of the master. During his second stay in London, Haydn lived very near Rebecca Schroeter and in later years dedicated his "Trios op.73" to her as a mark of his affection.

During the week of 23 May to 1 June 1791 Haydn attended the "Händel Festival" at Westminster Abbey, which was held annually under the Patronage of the King. No other event impressed the composer more than this gigantic commemoration, which formed the highlight of English social life. For the first time, Haydn heard Handel's choral music "Israel in Egypt", "Esther", "Saul" and, as the pinnacle of the Festival, "The Messiah". At the conclusion of an immensely successful first concert season, and on the recommendation of the music historian Charles Burney (1726-1816), in July 1791 Haydn was bestowed with a honorary Doctorate of Music from the University of Oxford (UK).
The festive ceremony lasted 3 days and was held at the Sheldonian Theatre at Oxford.

"My name is Salomon and I am from London (UK) and have come to fetch you: tomorrow we will conclude a contract", that is how Haydn told his biographer Dies of that decisive moment, which forms the beginning of his trips to England. For the substantial sum of 5000 guilders, Haydn agreed to compose one Italian opera, six new symphonies, 20 other compositions and to conduct them at their performances. Johann Peter Salomon (1745-1815), a brilliant violonist and successful concert promoter, immediately notified the English audience of Haydn's imminent arrival. To Mozart's objection that he did not speak the language, Haydn replied: "My language is understood throughout the world!" (Dies).

After an ardous journey via Munich - Wallenstein - Bonn - Calais, Joseph Haydn stepped onto English soil on 1 January 1791 . Seven days later he wrote a letter to Marianne von Genzinger: "... my arrival caused a great sensation throughout the entire city and for three successive days I was mentioned in all newspapers; everyone is eager to know me." A great sensation was caused by the fact that during a Royal Court Ball at St James's Palace Haydn was greeted by the Prince of Wales with a noticeable bow. The first series of concerts started on 11 March with a concert at the "Hanover Square Rooms" and were continued weekly until 3 June. These concerts were great social events of the first order and invitations were mostly directed towards the aristocracy.

House at Gumpendorf near Wien

Johann Elssler

Prince of Wales (later King George IV.)

Ludwig van Beethoven

Rebecca Schroeter

Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford

Johann Peter Salomon

Hanover Square, London