Haydn bleak: Austrian festival bites the dust

Haydn bleak: Austrian festival bites the dust


norman lebrecht

July 26, 2018

The Haydntage in Eisenstadt, an annual celebration of the town’s celebrated resident, have been cancelled this summer, possibly for good.

The festival, which has existed since 1986, has apparently run out of funds.


  • barry guerrero says:

    I’m not putting down Mozart. However, it bothers me that Mozart is plastered and promoted all over Salzburg, while Austria can’t even keep this much going for “Papa” Haydn. Schade.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      This probably true only at the popular culture level, but no doubt Haydn deserves greater recognition beyond the connoisseur circles. Maybe we need a play and movie about the Farewell Symphony. Haydn Kugeln anyone?

      • Old Man in the Midwest says:

        They should do a 2 hour movie about the Miracle Symphony.

        Make it a love story with Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio rushing out of the theater during the stampede after the chandelier falls.

        Then the marriage proposal at a Viennese coffee shop.

        Leave a window for a Part II in the event it breaks box office records and people want to see what happens in London when the Clock symphony is debuted.

        Maybe we could throw in Salieri in there somewhere to create a Bad Guy.

  • Caravaggio says:

    For shame

  • Bass One says:

    Whatever happened to the Haydn Festival in Bridgnorth?

    • Michael Smith says:

      Still going strong!


      • will says:

        Hmmm…. that’s a matte of opinion

      • Bass One says:

        Thank you for that. Was invited to sing once a while back when Keith Orrell was i/c.

        • will says:

          Keith Orrell was never ‘in charge’. The first Festival Director was the conductor / ex-LSO trumpeter Howard Snell; then when the orchestra switched to ‘period instruments’ ( wrongly, IMV, as the players weren’t up to it) the Director was the leader of the orchestra, violinist John Reid. Sadly Mr Reid died about 7 years ago, and since then there has been no Artistic Director, just an adminstrator/ organiser who isn’t even a professional musician.
          In the old days when John Reid was ‘in charge’ he was able to miraculously get enough financial sponsorship to have a 2 week EHF, and so could afford to hire top professional soloists. Now the Festival is less than a week long (Wednesday to Sunday) and mostly uses soloists drawn from the orchestra, some of them wonderful, e.g. Simon Standage.

          • Bass One says:

            When I said i/c I meant he conducted a Haydn Mass that day (and convened the choir).

  • Zenaida says:

    There is an exhibition on until November 11, 2018 at the Haydn House in Eisenstadt “Haydn auf Reisen” about his trip from Vienna to London in 18 days.

    Although the Haydntage may not be taking place, there is “Herbstgold from September 5 to 16, 2018 in Eisenstadt, with various ensembles playing Haydn and more. http://www.herbstgold.at

    • barry guerrero says:

      Good to hear! – thank you. Haydn is the basis of soooo much stuff, including my beloved Mahler.

  • John Borstlap says:

    Haydn is too normal and in the same time, too exceptional a composer to offer much material for the popular hollaballoo around his name. He created the symphony, the string quartet and the oratorio – an exceptional mind. And his piano music is, on average, better and more interesting than Mozart’s, much more thought has gone into it.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      I am not sure where you get the idea that Haydn created either the symphony or the oratorio. Neither claim is true. For the symphony, Sammartini, Dittersdorf, Stamitz all predate Haydn, and are moderately well known if rarely performed. For the Oratorio, both Handel and Bach wrote examples that we have all heard of, and are regularly performed.

      • John Borstlap says:

        Indeed it is not literally true. But H created the symphony in its full glory, showing all the potentialities of the form and especially, how to combine very different types of material and still create unity. The oratorio type he created defined the genre for the next hundred years, and his style is fundamentally different from what had gone before.

  • Matthias says:

    The region of Lower Austria has started a new festival in the so called “Haydnregion Niederösterreich” – as the heart of it the stunning and newly renovated Haydn Birthplace Museum (www.haydngeburtshaus.at).The concerts are taking place in the museum and also churches, castles and palaces of the region. http://www.haydnregion-noe.at

    • barry guerrero says:

      Thank you. I looked at the program – this is just wonderful. I love Haydn and, by the way, I hear a lot of Haydn in Mahler.