guest post by Elizabeth de Brito
Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, the three composers every truly cultured music student knows (as well as their scales and arpeggios of course). Together they are known as the First Viennese School.
Now classical music history books and the enormous performance bias (one-third of all classical performances are either of Mozart or Beethoven) make it seem that these were the only three composers who wrote anything worthwhile in the Classical era.
This is so far from the case. Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven were part of a huge music scene in Vienna. Actually these three composers spent most of their lives hanging out with various highly regarded musicians and respected composers, most of whom were women.
So, in an expansion of the First Viennese School, I give you the ‘Vienna 10’.
1. Haydn (31 March 1732 – 31 May 1809) Austrian
In the 1740s Haydn was a struggling musician living in a leaky attic room in Vienna, the clichéd image of a composer found in romantic novels everywhere. Several floors below lived the Martines family and Haydn gave the daughter Marianna Martines piano lessons.
2. Marianna Martines/Marianna von Martinez (May 4, 1744 – December 13, 1812) Viennese
Marianna grew up to become a pianist and composer. Being of a certain class she was never allowed to work professionally as a musician but she was very well respected. Marianna was known for her regular musical salons, well attended by all the hobnobs and hotshots on the Vienna scene, including Mozart and Salieri. Marianna was good friends with them both and performed with them on several occasions. She was the first woman to be inducted into the Accademia Filharmonia in 1773, the prestigious academy that Mozart was admitted to three years earlier. Her works number nearly 200 and include the first known symphony to be written by a woman, the Dixit Dominus she wrote for her entrance to the Accademia, several cantatas and keyboard sonatas along with three harpsichord concertos.
In the 1780s Haydn was back in Vienna, hanging out with his old pupil Marianna and in 1784 he met:
3. Mozart (27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791). Austrian
Mozart was born in Salzburg and moved to Vienna in 1781. He met Haydn in 1784 and he was good friends with Marianna Martines. Mozart and Haydn were frequent guests at Marianna’s musical salons, Mozart and Marianna frequently played duets together, and it is thought that Mozart wrote his Piano Concerto in D for Marianna.
Mozart did also go on to teach music. One of his pupils was:
4. Josepha Barbara Auernhammar (25 September 1758 – 30 January 1820) – Viennese pianist and composer
Mozart taught her from 1781. Josepha and Mozart played together often, both in public and at private concerts. Mozart dedicated Violin Sonatas to her and she performed several of his piano sonatas. Sadly only one of her compositions has been recorded, this delightful 6 Variations on a Hungarian theme.
Josepha Barbara Auernhammar also went on to perform works by fellow Mozart pupil:
5. Anton Eberl (13 June 1765 – 11 March 1807). Eberl was born in Vienna and was taught by Mozart from around 1781. Many of his works were misattributed to Mozart. He wrote many piano concertos, including dedicating his Piano Concerto to Josepha Auernhammer. Josepha Auernhammer performed his Piano Concerto in E Flat.
A good friend and benefactor of Eberl was:
6. Anton Salieri (18 August 1750 – 7 May 1825), Italian by birth, and supposedly Mozart’s great rival, Salieri lived and worked in Vienna from the 1770s onwards as a court director at the Austrian court. Salieri was a well known composer of opera and a conductor, known to conduct Haydn’s The Creation with the composer in attendance. He was a frequent guest at Marianna Martines’ parties and he was also a sought after teacher. He wrote this organ concerto as a commission from one of his pupils. Maria Theresia von Paradis.
7. Maria Theresa von Paradis (May 15, 1759 – February 1, 1824) Viennese. Blind since chilodhood, Maria Theresa von Paradis became an extraordinary pianist and composer. She wrote a ton of music including operas, piano concertos and sonatas. Unfortunately most of it has been lost except her Sicilienne, a popular piece for cello.
Even this one short but gorgeous work is only spuriously connected with her. As well as her own compositions Maria Theresia also commissioned music by Haydn and commissioned Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.18 in Bb Major. Her father Joseph was court councillor to Empress Maria Theresa. Empress Marie Theresa oversaw much of the musical activity in Vienna and was a great patron of the arts. Marianna Martines performed for her while still a child. It’s very likely the two pianists knew each other, especially given Marianna’s role as hostess of popular parties.
Now we come to:
8. Beethoven (baptised 17 December 1770 – 26 March 1827) German, moved to Vienna in 1792. Taught and mentored by Haydn, Beethoven also received some assistance from Salieri. Among the thousands of pieces he wrote in Vienna was his Appassionata Sonata.
The first person to perform the Appassionata sonata from autograph was:
9. Marie Bigot (3 March 1786– 16 September 1820) French teacher, composer and pianist. She moved in Vienna in 1804. Beethoven was so impressed with her performance he gave her his copy of the Apassionata. Marie Bigot was also friends with Salieri and Haydn. Again hardly any of her music has been recorded except this Suite D’Etudes which is wonderfully strident and full of power chords.
Marie Bigot returned to Paris in 1808 and introduced Beethoven’s music to Parisian society. She also went on to teach the Mendelssohn siblings.
The last member of the ‘Viennese 10’ was:
10. Marianne Auenbrugger/Marianne D’Auenbrugg (19 July 1759– 25 August 1782). Viennese.
A student of Haydn and Salieri, she was a highly regarded composer and sought after pianist and Haydn dedicated six sonatas to her including this one.
Only one recording of her work exists – her phenomenal Sonata in E Flat major, published by Salieri after her death.
There you have it, the Vienna 10. 10 awesome composers including 5 women who were completely wiped from the history books, until now.
Let’s rewrite the story.
Elizabeth de Brito is a gender equality champion, classical music radio producer, researcher, writer and obsessive Florence Price fan. She is the Producer of The Daffodil Perspective, a radio show which champions gender equality in classical music.