From to my last post, I thought it would be interesting to compare 18th century European audiences to those of today. Erin Helyard writes in the latest Pinchgut newsletter that London in the 1790s was “one the most prosperous and politically stable cities in Europe. The upper and middle classes were gripped with what was contemporaneously called “a rage for music” and its concert rooms and halls, musical gardens and opera houses were filled with a excited and engaged public, eager to hear and judge the latest music.”
Haydn went to London in December 1790 on invitation from Johann Peter Salomon, a German violinist, composer and entrepreneur. He was the toast of London immediately. His contract was to compose six symphonies and an opera (L’anima del filosofo). Erin writes that “Salomon’s concert series that year, featuring Haydn, was an unqualified success, both artistically and financially. So successful was it that Salomon re-engaged the composer for the following year (1792), much to the displeasure of Haydn’s patron at Esterháza.”
You can read more of Erin’s article HERE, and you may want to check out his article about the musical treatment of the Orpheus myth from Monteverdi to Glass. Happy reading – and happy ticket buying.