Haydn’s musical dedications

To Emperor, King, Nobleman

Special exhibition I 24 March – 12 November 2017

The exceptional fame which Haydn has already gained during his life time has spread because of two different reasons - the musical quality of his compositions as well as the wide distribution of his works which was mainly handled by himself.

Haydn used dedications in the proper sense from the time onwards when he began to turn himself to the free musical market, next to his official business at court. Although dedications were mostly handled by the publishers, it was the composer who initiated them. A dedication which is printed on a front page equals  public information and reaches a wider audience than the handwritten form  of the composer himself.

The dedicatees are thematically categorised into three different groups. The first one adresses dedications to the bourgeois, musicians and aristocrats, especially in the environment of Haydn’s work place at the Esterházy court. The second group portrays dedicatees in London and Paris and the third group presents crowned heads of Europe.

All of Haydn’s dedications- either in manuscript form or printed by music publishers- reflect his personal relationship and appreciation. The exhibits range from front pages of dedicated scores, portraits and busts of the dedicatees to lavish gifts such as valuable tobacco tins or gold coins that Haydn received in return for his dedications. The wide distribution of Haydn’s works during his lifetime is visualized by a large-scale map of Europe which graphically demonstrates the different origins of the dedicatees.


Dr. Martin Czernin


Gerhard Veigel