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The Farewell Symphony

Joseph Haydn served as the Kapellmeister for Prince Nikolaus Esterházy and temporarily resided at the Prince's castle in Hungary. The Esterházy court would spend the warm season at Prince Nikolaus's summer castle named “Eszterháza”. Apart from Haydn and a few other privileged individuals, musicians were obliged to leave their families behind in Eisenstadt.

According to Haydn's biographer Griesinger, the story of how the “Farewell” symphony unfolded started with the premiere in 1772. Contrary to his typical routine, Prince Nikolaus decided to prolong his stay in Eszterháza that year. This abrupt change left the musicians in dismay, prompting them to seek Haydn's assistance. Haydn conceived the idea of composing a symphony to convince the Prince that it was time to go home.

At the earliest opportunity, this symphony was performed in the Prince's presence. During the last movement, the musicians were instructed to extinguish their candles and leave as soon as their parts concluded, until only two violins remained. Prince Nikolaus grasped the meaning behind this pantomime quickly and gave the directive for his retinue to leave Eszterháza the following day.

Text by: Deyun Lin/Licha Stelaus Productions We believe Music is not a privilege but everyone's basic right. Check out our foundation website and see what we are doing to benefit youth.

Disclaimer: We are fans of great sound and music. We are not agent nor presenter of musicians featured on this post. We do not own the photos and videos in this blog - Licha Stelaus Productions


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