Beethoven und Haydn im Jahre 1809

Joseph Haydn was an eyewitness of the invasion of the french troops in Vienna. The last twelve years he lived in Kleine Steingasse 73, now Haydngasse 19, in the suburb Windmühl in Gumpendorf, where he died May 31. Here he wrote “Die Schöpfung“ and “Die Jahreszeiten“. In the morning of May 12 Napoleon's troops were close to the defense line in the suburb Mariahilf. Haydn's servant said “of these shots the door in the bedroom opened wide and the windows shook, on this alarmes our good father said loud: children don't be afraid, because where Haydn is nothing will happen and trembled violently.“ On May 25 the french officer Clement Sulemy visited Haydn. A notice tells “He received him in bed, contrary to his habit. The captain, a great admirer of Haydn confessed to him that he even sing, gave him a proof of it and sang the tenor aria from the second Act of “seasons“ (Die Jahreszeiten) in italian. Haydn admired his wonderful voice, but even more his virtuosity, which opened the heart of Haydn in a way that he cried.“ Napoleon ordered a “Garde d'Honneur“ in front of the entrance to save the house. Haydn did not always like French visits. Sometimes they had to wait or he even refused to open his house. On May 26 he played the last time “Gott erhalte!“ (“God save!“, the so-called Kaiserhymne.) on the piano. He felt himself powerful and played it three times in a row. The next day he had to stay in bed and became weaker and weaker. The day of his death, May 31, he was surrounded by his servants and died 20 minutes to 1 o'clock on exhaution. The next day his funeral was held in silence with only 15 friends at the cemetery Hundsthurm, in short distance to today's Gaudenzdorfer Gürtel. He became 77 years old. On June 15 they played Mozart's “Requiem“ in the Schotten Church in memory to Haydn and with Austrian and French soldiers as guards. The Viennese aristocracy as well as french Generals and Officers gave Haydn the last farewell.

At the end of July Beethoven complained to his publisher Gottfried Christoph Härtel in Leipzig
“In this period we have seen a tremendous misery, I have to say, that since May 4 I could not write coherent for this world, almost only here and there some fragments“. No good news for the publisher, because he has already ordered the ouverture to the drama Egmont of poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. “The whole process of things has worked for me on body and soul. What a destructive life around me! Nothing but drums, cannons and human misery.“ “I've started a few times to give singing at my home, but the war destroyed everything.“ In 1809 Beethoven could finish his famous piano concerto no. 5 the so-called „Kaiserkonzert“, which is also known as “Emperor“. The composition was done in the state of advanced deafness, while Napoleon's troops occupied Vienna with artillery fire and he temporarily retreated to the basement to protect the remnants of his hearing. By the strong noise Beethoven sometimes closed his ears with pillows and said about Napoleon “in this bastard I have changed my mind“. He spent the days in July in Baden near Vienna, and moved back in autumn to Walfischstreet 1087 in downtown Vienna.