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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 24-May-15

 


Sunday 24-May-15

Haydn's musical persuasion

In the summer of 1772, prince Nikolas Esterhazy and his court were at the Summer Palace at Esterhauz, in Austria. It was of course before the days of recorded music, but this was no problem for the prince. Being a man of means, he took his orchestra with him to help while away the long, hot days.

Although this was nice for the prince and his court, the orchestra members fell into a deep melancholy as they missed their families back home in Eisenstadt and, as the main entertainment, were not allowed to just 'pop home for a visit'. This only got worse when the prince decided to extend his stay at the palace into the Autumn and the orchestra were even more unhappy about this.

The famous Haydn was the long-time court composer and leader of the orchestra, who ask called him Papa and brought him their troubles. Hearing how they missed their families, Haydn decided to persuade the prince to let his orchestra go home to visit their loved ones. He was not a great orator and so decided to persuade with music.

Haydn's symphony number 45 in F sharp minor is a initially turbulent but ultimately rather sad piece, with a unique ending that has led it to be known as the 'Farewell Symphony'. As the music draws to a close, each of the musicians stands up, blows out their candle and leaves the stage until only two violins are left, playing mutely.

Upon hearing this piece, the prince was overcome with emotion and realized just how much his musicians missed their families. Now fully feeling their sadness, he relented, giving them time to go home for the much-desired visit.


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