Put Mozart, Beethoven, and Haydn in a room and what do you get? Great music? Undoubtedly. Complaints about music publishers? Possibly. A new exhibition at the Mozarthaus? Definitely.
- One-room exhibition examines various relationships between the three composers
- Also explores their role in developing the Wiener Klassik style of classical music and their ongoing influence
- All display information is in English, as well
- Runs Feb 19, 2020 – Jan 31, 2021
- Just needs a normal entrance ticket for the Mozarthaus (or a Vienna Pass)
- See also: Mozarthaus visitor & ticket info
The triad of the first Viennese school
(Haydn rests his hand on the shoulder of a young Mozart on the Maria Theresa monument in Vienna)
Just to give you three examples:
- Mozart wrote a series of six string quartets for his friend, Haydn, which he then performed for him in the Mozart family’s apartment on Vienna’s Domgasse.
- When Beethoven visited Vienna for a few brief weeks in 1787, it seems likely he called into Domgasse hoping to become a student of Mozart
- Beethoven eventually left Bonn for Vienna for good in 1792 with these words written in a parting gift from friends and sponsors:
…you will receive the spirit of Mozart through the hands of Haydn
…and Beethoven did, indeed, become a student of Haydn.
The same building that once echoed to the strains of Mozart’s violin, Haydn’s exclamations of gratitude and (probably) Beethoven’s forlorn request for instruction now hosts the 2020 Mozarthaus exhibition: The Triad of the first Viennese School: Haydn – Mozart – Beethoven.
Curated with obvious love and energy by Walter Reicher and created in cooperation with the International Joseph Haydn Private Foundation Eisenstadt, the one-room exhibition explores the similarities, parallels, and differences within the lives of the three musicians. And it does so quite delightfully using a detailed timeline and small themed sections featuring manuscripts, letters, and various other items.
So, for example, you learn of the composers’ mutual respect and their shared posthumous experience (none of the three enjoyed an uncomplicated laying to rest), but also their differing musical background (Beethoven and Mozart were born into musical families, unlike Haydn).
Another section tackles the contribution of our three greats to the development of Wiener Klassik music (English: First Viennese School) in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, with its unparalleled expressiveness and the growth of new musical forms and cultures. Vienna flourished as one of the great musical cities of the world at the time. (It still is, frankly.)
(© Mozarthaus Vienna / Eva Kelety)
Perhaps the most poignant section is “Finale”, which displays the last piece of sheet music written by each of the three: unfinished string quartets by Haydn and Beethoven, the unfinished Requiem by Mozart.
You can almost feel the failing hand, the last notes clawing their way onto the page before all is lost forever.
Another highlight must be the “We are alive” section, which displays evidence of the continuing influence of (and admiration for) the three composers…everything from Chinese first day covers to collectible trading cards from the 1930s and a Spotify playlist.
Dates and tickets
Enjoy the three giants of the classical music world between February 19th, 2020 and January 31st, 2021. At the time of writing, the Mozarthaus opens daily from 10am to 7pm, closing early (4pm) on December 24th.
A normal ticket* to the location includes entrance to the exhibition. As does a Vienna Pass sightseeing pass. Don’t forget to view the other areas of the Mozarthaus, which illuminate Mozart’s Vienna years and allow you to walk through the very rooms he and his family once occupied in the 1780s.
How to get to the exhibition
See the main Mozarthaus article for travel tips. For the record, you can’t get much more central than this. If Mozart missed a note on his violin and threw the bow out of the window in frustration, he could almost hit Stephansdom cathedral.
Address: Domgasse 5, 1010 Vienna