Nov 19, 2014

A Portrait Miniature of "virtually unparalleled" Importance

On 2 October 2014 the British newsaper The Guardian published an article that began as follows:

Contrary to the opinion of some commentators, who claimed that this painting was "never seen in public before", this miniature is well-known. It has been a long-time on loan exhibit at the Augsburg Mozarthaus and has been published many times, the last time in 1999 in Johannes Jansen's book Mozart (Köln: Taschen).

Sotheby's description of this miniature, which will be auctioned on 20 November 2014 at an estimated price of 200,000 - 300,000 GBP, indulges in unbridled hyperbole:

The appearance at auction of this portrait by an anonymous artist of the twenty-one-year-old Mozart, a present to his first serious dalliance, his eighteen-year-old cousin (the Bäsle) Maria Anna Thekla Mozart, represents an opportunity to acquire a Mozart object of stunning and virtually unparalleled significance.
The portrait is of touching simplicity and freshness. Wearing a red coat similar to that in the famous della Croce family portrait of 1780, his fine blond hair powdered and tied fashionably with a large black bow (one recalls a later letter from Vienna, that of 22 December 1781, relating how the fastidious composer's day would begin with a visit at six o'clock in the morning from his hairdresser), Mozart gazes directly at the viewer with intelligent, large blue eyes, a playful and open expression on his features. No other portrait of the composer perhaps conveys as this does what might be called Mozart's most defining characteristic, above and beyond his feeling for form and beauty: his genius for humour.

Some of these statements are so absurdly exaggerated that they barely deserve a comment. Especially telling (and funny) are the  phrases "one of only a dozen or so[sic!] authentic paintings", "a Mozart object of stunning and virtually[sic!] unparalleled significance", "the portrait is of touching simplicity and freshness" and especially, "no other portrait of the composer perhaps conveys as this does what might be called Mozart's most defining characteristic". The last statement which claims that "the portrait has never been reproduced in color in the standard Mozart literature", is a lie that is supposed to mislead the customers. The portrait has been reproduced in color in 1999 in the aforementioned book by Jansen which is certainly part of the standard Mozart literature.

The continuing presentation of new supposed "Mozart portraits" on a strange flea market of vanities has lead to a situation where the experts of one of the world's leading auction houses do not know the exact number of authentic Mozart portraits. It does not increase the credibility of these experts that they present a list of twelve portraits – which they call "the canon according to Deutsch" –  but fail to mention that in his 1956 article "Mozart Portraits" (in The Mozart Companion, H. C. Robbins Landon & Donald Mitchell eds., London: Faber and Faber) Deutsch counted the 1777 miniature among the "spurious anonymous portraits". Deutsch described it as "formerly in the possession of Mozart's cousin, 'Bäsle', Mannheim, November 1777" and yet he considered it spurious. To anybody with a training in history of art the reasons for Deutsch's decision are perfectly obvious. The 1777 Mozart miniature – albeit genuine – is not of "virtually unparalleled importance". Neither is it "the most important likeness of the composer ever to be offered at auction". The miniature is of almost no iconological value at all. It is a classic 18th-century "porcelain doll head miniature", a stylized type of portrait of which huge numbers were produced in Mozart's time. Similarity with the sitter was not the purpose of these pictures. Some authors who described the 1777 miniature realized and acknowledged this simple fact. In his biography of Mozart Robert W. Gutman writes: "It stands within the bounds of possibility that the portrait of Mozart he himself commissioned for her survives as the miniature in Augsburg's Mozarthaus. Yet, the physiognomy troubles: if it is Mozart's, the artist has much refined the cast of the features; but Mozart may have insisted on an idealized image." Of course the people at Sotheby's have to boost the sale price and thus cannot afford to assume the more restrained perspective of impartial art historians. How they describe the lack of technical quality in a poorly executed mass product as "the portrait is of touching simplicity and freshness", is very amusing. The "genius for humour as Mozart's most defining characteristic" that these experts claim to see, simply results from the light smile which was supposed to always appear on these standardized portraits.

Here is another "never before seen Mozart portrait of virtually unparalleled importance. Mozart gazes directly at the viewer with intelligent, large blue eyes, a playful and open expression on his features. No other portrait of the composer perhaps conveys as this does what might be called Mozart's most defining characteristic, above and beyond his feeling for form and beauty."

Of course this is not a Mozart portrait. It is a portrait of Joseph II in the popular tradition of Joseph Ducreux which recently was on sale at an auction at the Salzburg Dorotheum. I am using it here, because it is the same type of a stylized mass product as the doll-like face on the Mozart miniature.

Sotheby's overblown marketing campaign for the sale of this miniature is an embarrassment for the company. The owner of the painting deserves to get a reasonable sale price. But the methods that were applied in this case do not belong into the more glorious chapters of art-dealing.

"Don't worry, ivory Mozart portraits are not affected by gravity!" (a picture published in the Salzburger Nachrichten on 20 October 2014)

Update (20 November 2014): The miniature did not reach the lowest estimate price and was sold for 180,000 GPB (218,500 GBP with buyer's premium).

Nov 16, 2014

"The Young Franz Schubert": An Ineradicable Misidentification

In June 2014 Sony Music Japan released the following recording of music by Franz Schubert:

The source for the picture on the cover of this CD is the following curiosity from the database of the Lebrecht Music & Arts picture library:

The misspelling of Leopold Kupelwieser's name already shows that as far as the attribution of this portrait is concerned Lebrecht's database is not to be trusted. This picture is not a portrait of Franz Schubert. It is one of two existing portraits of the Austrian physician Karl Joseph Maria von Hartmann (1793-1876).

The misidentification has been revealed decades ago in several scholarly articles all of which have been thoroughly ignored by Schubert scholarship and even more consistently by the general public. When you publish an article in German in the journal of the International Schubert Institute, you might as well not publish anything at all, because 95 percent of Schubert scholars do not understand Schubert's language. So much for the "proper dissemination" of scholarly work by publishing articles in print. The essential literature concerning the false Schubert portrait consists of the following articles:
  • Deutsch, Otto Erich. 1961. "Zum angeblichen Schubert-Bildnis von 1813". In Mitteilungen der Österreichischen Galerie 49. Vienna: Österreichische Galerie Belvedere 1961, 24.
  • Barchetti, Theodor. 1981. "Die Familien v. Hartmann und v. Barchetti. Eigentümer des Hauses Wels, Pfarrgasse 15, im 19. Jahrhundert". In Festschrift Kurt Holter. 23. Jahrbuch des Musealvereines Wels. Wels: Verlag Welsermühl 247-269.
  • Steblin, Rita. 1992. "Die Atzenbrugger Gästelisten - neu entdeckt". In Schubert durch die Brille 9 (Mitteilungen des Internationalen Schubert Instituts 9). Tutzing: Schneider, 65-80.
  • Steblin, Rita. 1993. "Nochmals die Atzenbrugger Gästelisten". In Schubert durch die Brille 10. Tutzing: Schneider 1993, 35-41.
  • Worgull, Elmar. 1996. "Zwei Fehlzuschreibungen in der Schubert-Ikonographie". In Schubert durch die Brille 16/17. Tutzing: Schneider, 158-171.
  • Worgull, Elmar. 1999. "Kunsthistorische Untersuchungsmethoden als ein interdisziplinärer Aspekt in der Schubert-Ikonographie". In Schubert und seine Freunde. Eva Badura-Skoda (ed.), Wien-Köln-Weimar: Böhlau, 343-360.
  • Worgull, Elmar. 2001. "Schuberts unbekannter Nachbar in Kupelwiesers Aquarell 'Der Sündenfall'". In Schubert durch die Brille 26. Tutzing: Schneider, 101-108. 
  • Lorenz, Michael. 2001. "Erwiderung auf Elmar Worgulls Replik". In Schubert durch die Brille 26. Tutzing: Schneider, 109f. 

The Origin of the Misidentification

The false Schubert portrait was first published by Otto Erich Deutsch in 1913 as "Angebliches Schubert-Bildnis von Leopold Kupelwieser [?] aus dem Jahre 1813" ("supposed Schubert portrait by Leopold Kupelwieser [?] from 1813") in the book Franz Schubert. Sein Leben in Bildern.


The basis for the identification of this drawing, which in 1891 was bought at an auction by Prince Johann von Liechtenstein, is an inscription on its back which between 1888 and 1891 was applied by two of Schubert's half-brothers. Its translation reads as follows: "Franz Schubert in the 16th year of his life. Original chalk drawing by the friend of his youth Leopold Kuppelwieser (anno 1813). P. Hermann Schubert mp Curate and preacher at the Schottenstift. Andreas Schubert mp Senior accountant in the I&R Ministry of Finance as Franz Schubert's brother". Deutsch was very sceptical concerning the credibility of this testimony. After all at the time of Schubert's death his half-brothers Eduard (the future Pater Hermann) and Andreas had only been two and five years old. The attribution to Kupelwieser was dubious as well, because Schubert became acquainted with the painter only around 1820. In spite of Deutsch's doubts and the fact that it had never been reliably attributed, the drawing was accepted as Schubert portrait by the general public. This error was also promoted by several authors of popular books – such as Kurt Pahlen in his Die Große Geschichte der Musik – where the portrait is described as "Porträtskizze[sic!] des jugendlichen Franz Schubert von dem Wiener Maler Leopold Kupelwieser".

The Man at the Piano

The opinion regarding the supposed Schubert portrait experienced a fundamental change, when in 1996 the German painter and art historian Elmar Worgull in his article "Zwei Fehlzuschreibungen in der Schubert-Ikonographie" pointed out that a man with the face of the supposed "young Schubert" appears somewhere else on a painting connected with Schubert's circle: on Kupelwieser's 1821 watercolor "Der Sündenfall" ("The Fall of Man"), which shows a game of charades being played by Schubert and his friends in Atzenbrugg, where a man is sitting on the far left at the piano who is resting his arm on the instrument and putting his left hand to his chin.

Leopold Kupelwieser: Gesellschaftsspiel der Schubertianer in Atzenbrugg 1821 (Wienmuseum)

The man sitting at the piano on the far left of Kupelwieser's 1821 watercolor

Who is this man? In his 1913 book O. E. Deutsch, who obviously knew only one sentence of an entry in Franz von Hartmann's family chronicle, made a hasty and uninformed guess. He identified the "Hartmann" at the piano with the only Hartmann, who according to Deutsch's knowledge could have been present in 1821 in Atzenbrugg: the German physician Dr. Philipp Karl Hartmann (1773-1830) who was acquainted with Ernst von Feuchtersleben and at some time was involved in the medical treatment of Johann Mayrhofer and Franz von Spaun. The other Hartmann among Schubert's friends, Franz von Hartmann could be ruled out, because he was born in 1808. In his 1964 edition of the Schubert Dokumente Deutsch repeated this misidentification which is a classic example of Deutsch's way of jumping to an unfounded conclusion without a bit of scientific evidence and repeating it as if he were an infallible oracle.

The false identification of the man at the piano as Philipp Karl Hartmann in Deutsch's 1913 book Franz Schubert. Sein Leben in Bildern. The name of Kupelwieser's dog was Drago.

Franz von Hartmann's Testimony

Deutsch took the information concerning the name of the man sitting at the piano from a passage in the first volume of Franz von Hartmann's "Familienchronik" (A-Wst, Jc 73234). But Deutsch – who in the preface of the first edition of the Dokumente claimed that "he had in all cases gone to the sources proper" – probably never consulted the original of Hartmann's chronicle, because he published only one sentence of Hartmann's entry and failed to include the subsequent important information concerning the mysterious "Welser v. Hartmann". Summarizing and commenting his original diary from 1826 in his "Familienchronik" Franz von Hartmann writes the following:
     Den 12. [Dezember 1826] führte uns Pepi Spaun ins Burgtheater, wo wir "Der Erbvertrag" sahen, am 19. ins "Käthchen von Heilbronn" wo das Anschützsche Ehepaar so herrlich spielte.
    Am 13. besahen wir bei Schober Bilder, darunter ein schönes Aquarell von Kuppelwieser, wo Schubert am Klavier, einige Freunde, darunter Kuppelwieser selbst, dann über das Klavier gelehnt, der Welser v. Hartmann, Professor der Naturgeschichte in Olmütz, welcher später irrsinnig wurde. Als derselbe im Sommer 1825 im Irrsinn aus Olmütz fort gegangen war, kam zu mir in die Wohnung in der Jägerzeile ein Vertrauter der Polizei, und wollte von uns, da wir den gleichen Namen trugen, wissen wohin sich dieser Hartmann gewendet habe. Diese Welser Hartmann stammten aus Bayern, ihr Vater oder Großvater war ein Protomedicus in Linz gewesen u. in der Vorstadt in Wels war das schöne Haus der Familie mit großem von der Stadtmauer eingerahmten Garten, wohin ich während meiner Welser Dienstzeit 1854-1865 oft kam, zu Bar.[on] Pilati u. zum Kreisingenieur Hackher.
On December 12th, 1826 Pepi Spaun led us into the Burgtheater where we watched "Der Erbvertrag", on the 19th to "Käthchen von Heilbronn" where the Anschütz couple acted so marvelously.
       On December 13th at Schober's we looked at paintings, among them a beautiful watercolor by Kupelwieser, where Schubert is at the piano, a number of friends, among them Kupelwieser himself, then, leaned over the piano, von Hartmann from Wels, the professor of natural history in Olmütz, who later went insane. After in summer of 1825 this man had left Olmütz in insanity, a police confidant came to my apartment in the Jägerzeile and, because we had the same family name, wanted to know from us, where this Hartmann had gone. These Hartmanns in Wels originated from Bavaria, their father or grandfather had been a protomedicus in Linz and the family's beautiful house with a garden surrounded by the town wall was located in the suburb in Wels, where during my service in Wels between 1854 and 1865 I went many times, to Baron Pilati and to the county engineer Hackher.

The passage in Franz von Hartmann's "Familienchronik", dealing with his visits to the Burgtheater and to Franz von Schober's apartment on 13 December 1826 where he saw Kupelwieser's watercolor from 1821 (A-Wst, Jc 73234, vol. 1, 339-40)

Moritz von Schwind: Franz von Hartmann (sketch for one the lunettes in Schwind's illustrations of "Die Sieben Raben)

In 1981 the judge, amateur historian and genealogist Theodor Barchetti (1931-2006) published an article in the Jahrbuch des Musealvereines Wels, titled "Die Familien v. Hartmann und v. Barchetti. Eigentümer des Hauses Wels, Pfarrgasse 15, im 19. Jahrhundert" ("The Families von Hartmann and von Barchetti. Owners of the House Wels, Pfarrgasse 15 in the 19th Century"). Barchetti, whose ancestors had once owned the house in Wels which Franz von Hartmann refers to in his chronicle, drew up a detailed history of the house and a meticulous genealogy of the von Hartmann family in Wels. Being aware of Kupelwieser's watercolor and the entry in Hartmann's Familienchronik (as published by Deutsch), Barchetti easily identified "the man at the piano" as the physician Karl Joseph Maria von Hartmann (1793-1876). This major achievement was ignored by Schubert scholarship until 1992, when Rita Steblin referred to Barchetti's research in her article "Die Atzenbrugger Gästelisten - neu entdeckt" in Schubert durch die Brille 9. Steblin pointed out Deutsch's misidentification. She noted that the man at the piano cannot be Philipp Karl Hartmann, because not only does he look much too young, he also shows no resemblance to any of Philipp Karl Hartmann's known portraits. In one point Steblin was wrong however, when she wrote that "Hartmann died in madness". Hartmann became a taciturn recluse, but the lawsuit he filed in 1870 against his brother's estate proves that he was still in possession of his mental powers.

Karl Joseph Maria von Hartmann

Karl von Hartmann's father Dr. Johann Baptist Hartmann was born on 19 June 1752 in Reichenau an der Knieschna (today Rychnov nad Kněžnou). In 1777 he received his medical doctorate from the University of Vienna and moved to Wels, where he was appointed "landschaftlicher Physikus" (public health officer). On 24 July 1786 in the chapel of Feyregg Castle Dr. Johann Hartmann married Maria Anna Alterdinger with whom between 1787 and 1805 he would father nine children.

The entry concerning the wedding of Johann Baptist Hartmann 24 July 1786 (A-Wep, Tom 6, p. 25)

On 10 February 1789 Dr. Hartmann bought the house Pfarrgasse 15 in Wels, the building that is referred to as "das schöne Haus" in Franz von Hartmann's Familienchronik. In 1792 Dr. Hartmann made use of the vacancy of the Imperial throne after the death of Leopold II and sucessfully applied for a hereditary knighthood to Charles Theodore, Elector of Bavaria, who until the accession of Francis II ran a profitable business, passing out titles without any serious examination of merits. For a fee of 450 gulden Dr. Johann Hartmann earned the right to call himself "Hartmann Edler von Sternfeld". 

Karl Joseph Maria von Hartmann – the man whose portrait gained coincidental prominence and was to grace many CD covers – was born on 29 March 1793 in Wels, the fifth child of Dr. Johann Baptist von Hartmann. His godfather was his father's best man Anton Schlossgängl von Edlenbach.

The entry concerning the baptism of Karl Joseph von Hartmann on 29 March 1793 (A-Wep, Tom. 10, p. 10)

Since Theodor Barchetti's excellent research on Karl Joseph von Hartmann (in spite of having been "disseminated properly") is still completely unknown, I hereby present a translation of the chapter in Barchetti's article that deals with Karl Joseph von Hartmann's life.
Karl Josef María [von Hartmann] is probably the most interesting, but also most tragic figure of the family. Like his brother Anton, he apparently also suffered from a psychopathic disposition which must have been hereditary in the Hartmann family. From 1806 until 1810 he attended  the gymnasium at Kremsmünster Abbey, where he lived in the seminary; There he met Franz von Schober who from 1808 until 1812 also was a student in Kremsmünster. When in 1810 Karl von Hartmann began studying medicine at the University of Vienna, he met Schober again, who at that time also lived in Vienna. This acquaintance lead to Karl von Hartmann becoming a member of the circle of "Schubertians" where Schober as one of Franz Schubert's closest friends played an important role. Thus Karl von Hartmann – who by now on 30 August 1817 had received his doctorate of medicine in Vienna – took part in the "Atzenbrugg festivals" of this circle of friends where in July 1821 he was captured in the famous watercolor by Leopold Kupelwieser "Charades in Atzenbrugg" which now is on exhibition at Schubert's birthplace. As a part of a game of charades the Schubertians reenact the Fall of Man. At the left Schubert is sitting at the piano and melodramatically accompanies the scene with his left hand. To his left, at the very edge of the picture, Dr. Karl von Hartmann sits leaning against the piano, the left hand on the chin. It is very likely the only surviving portrait of a member of this family.
      After receiving his doctorate in 1817 Dr. Karl von Hartmann – he had also trained as an ophthalmologist – worked as assistant at the chair for special natural history at the University of Vienna under Professor von Scherer; in 1818 he had applied unsuccessfully for professorships in Innsbruck and Olomouc and in 1819 in Prague. Finally, on 15 September 1821, by Imperial decree, based on unanimous recommendation by the University of Vienna he was appointed professor for general natural history and technology at the Lyceum in Olomouc which at that time, however, did not have university status. But already with Imperial decree of 9 December 1824 he was relieved of this teaching position, because "it had become apparent right after the start of the term that he lacked all gifts of communication and the ability of ordinary lecture, because of reticence and seclusion from all company of such a high degree that there is doubt whether he is still in command of his mental powers". The University of Vienna was reprimanded as to why it had proposed Dr. Karl von Hartmann primo loco, although his uncommon shyness, taciturnity and the traces of mental disturbance must have been recognizable.
      Dr. Karl von Hartmann never recovered from this blow and like his brother Anton he now led the life of an unmarried man of private means. He showed querulative inclinations when he – as Aspernig reports in 1831 – refused to transfer his eighth of his mother's house like his siblings, and did so only shortly before her death on May 1st, 1846; that he was not on good terms with his family in other matters as well, can be seen from his mother's codicil of 10 November 1839, where his inheritance was reduced to the statutory share, if he would not acknowledge the maternal will, not treat his mother and his siblings with the deserved respect or get involved in a legal dispute with the latter. After the death of his brother Ludwig he tried to use a provision in Ludwig's will that after Ludwig's death the known children of his brother Karl should receive the securities from the estate, to achieve a substitution by an entailed estate in his favor. But he lost the case that he had brought to the supreme court in 1870.
      At first Dr. Karl von Hartmann seems to have returned to Wels. But in 1854 and 1869 he also lived in Steyr in the former Capuchin monastery, outside of the city. He spent his final years at Pochendorf No. 22 near Kremsmünster, where he died on 13 January 1876 of old age. He was buried in the family vault in Wels which in 1887 fell victim to the closing of the old Wels parish cemetery. With him the family became extinct.
In the death records of the Kremsmünster parish Karl Hartmann Ritter von Sternfeld is listed as having died at the age of 83 in 1876 at Pochendorf 22. But on 25 May 1875 an Antonia Hartmann ("led. Private") also died at Pochendorf 22 at the age of 67. Was she Karl von Hartmann's housekeeper?

The entry concerning Karl von Hartmann's death on 13 January 1876 at Pochendorf 22. The deceased is described as "Dr. der Medizin, pens. kk. Lycenal Proffessor in Olmütz". The given cause of death is marasmus (A-Lla, K23, 306/1876, p. 1).

The entry concerning the death of Antonia Hartmann ("led. Private") on 25 May 1875 at Pochendorf 22. (A-Lla, K23, 306/1875, p. 3).

Discoveries and Delayed Insights

After the publication of Theodor Barchetti's research and its introduction to Schubert scholarship by Steblin the most important progress that was to be made, was to realize the resemblance between the portrait of Karl Joseph von Hartmann on Kupelwieser's Atzenbrugg watercolor and the face on the supposed "young Schubert in 1813" drawing in the Liechtenstein collection. The merit of having established this pathbreaking connection belongs to Elmar Worgull, who in his 1996 article "Zwei Fehlzuschreibungen in der Schubert-Ikonographie" (Schubert durch die Brille 16/17) dealt with the authenticity of the supposed portrait of "young Schubert". Worgull pointed out the fact that the only person on a painting from Schubert's circle that resembles the supposed portrait of "young Schubert", is the man who is leaning on the piano in Kupelwieser's watercolor of the charades at Atzenbrugg. As a matter of fact the resemblance between these two faces is so strong that it is surprising that it had not been noticed much earlier. Worgull writes: "When the two portraits which are to be compared are reduced to outline drawings, juxtaposed and then projected over each other, the congruences between the two heads are unmistakable, in spite of different drawing techniques and original sizes. To assess them as (almost) identical, will hardly provoke contradiction." Worgull called this method "isoproportional picture analysis".

Elmar Worgull's outline drawings of the two heads juxtaposed and projected over each other (Schubert durch die Brille 26, p. 108.)

Worgull continues: "Since on Kupelwieser's watercolor Schubert is unquestionably sitting at the piano and the person that is portrayed on the chalk drawing appears beside him, the chalk portrait [i.e. the "young Schubert"] cannot be a portrait of Franz Schubert. Otherwise Schubert would be sitting opposite his own dissimilar portrait." Worgull was able to prove that the supposed "young Schubert" is not a portrait of Schubert. He also presented credible arguments for a redating of this drawing from 1813 to a much later date. As far as the identity of the person on this portrait was concerned, Worgull was unable to expand our knowledge. He could not proceed further in this regard, because he had obviously failed to read Barchetti's 1981 article, where the man at the piano opposite Schubert had been conclusively identified as Dr. Karl Joseph von Hartmann. Therefore Worgull still indulged in random speculations concerning the identity of the man on the Atzenbrugg painting and presented various "Lösungsmöglichkeiten" (possibilities of a solution). He claimed that "a trace leads to Karl-Philipp Hartmann" which is of course a mistaken perspective, because an old error by O. E. Deutsch is not a trace that deserves to be followed. Based on a suggestion from Eva Badura-Skoda Worgull considered it possible that the man at the piano may be the young Moritz von Schwind and included Johann Mayrhofer and even Kupelwieser into the circle of candidates. But of course Kupelwieser can be ruled out, because he is the man in the background who personifies the tree in the ongoing game of charades.

In his 1999 article "Kunsthistorische Untersuchungsmethoden als ein interdisziplinärer Aspekt in der Schubert-Ikonographie" Worgull more or less republished his findings regarding the resemblance between the supposed "young Schubert" and the man at the piano in Atzenbrugg. He also repeated his suggestion as to the identity of this individual: "We could argue splendidly about the identity of the witness of the well-known Schubertiade which is leaning on the piano. My working hypothesis proposes (among others) Philipp Hartmann." In 2000, in my article "Dokumente zur Biographie Johann Mayrhofers" (Schubert durch die Brille 25) I took issue with Worgull's persistent error and pointed out that "his presumption (based on Deutsch) that the man at the piano on Kupelwieser's 'Fall of Man' is Philipp Hartmann, is wrong." This lead to a response from Worgull in Schubert durch die Brille 26. Worgull was unwilling to admit that he had never read Barchetti's article and claimed that "he had been aware of Steblin's research concerning the Atzenbrugg guest lists". He also retracted his long-standing "Philipp Hartmann working hypothesis" and presented the following tortuous excuse: "I was aware of the fact that the young man beside Schubert cannot be Philipp Karl Hartmann, because his biographical dates are already at odds with this presumption that can be found in the Schubert literature. That in my later text the name [Karl] Philipp Hartmann still appears, instead of for example Karl Josef Maria Hartmann, can be explained by a regrettable oversight of an error that can now be easily corrected. Because my primary concern in 1997 was not to definitely identify Schubert's neighbor on Kupelwiesers group picture, I restricted my published lecture to the aforementioned working hypothesis which included the overlooked careless mistake." In my reply to Worgull's response in Brille 26 I cast doubt on Worgull's excuse and reminded the readers that Worgull had ignored Steblin's and Barchetti's research in three of his earlier publications. I also pointed out that there is absolutely no reason to doubt the testimony of Franz von Hartmann who conclusively identified his namesake, the medical doctor from Wels on Kupelwieser's painting.

Karl Joseph von Hartmann is the only one of Schubert's friends who made it on CD covers without having written the words to a single Schubert song. Hyperion Records contributed even two releases to (what I chose to call) The Dr. Karl Joseph von Hartmann Memorial Project. It must be noted that these CDs were issued after Dr. von Hartmann had been identified as the man on the misattributed "young Schubert" portrait.

In 1997 Karl Joseph von Hartmann even appeared on a German stamp that was issued on the occasion of Schubert's 200th birthday.

Nov 14, 2014

The Continuing "Jeunehomme" Nonsense

In October 2014 Warner Classics released the following CD:

In the booklet of this recording the musicologist Nicolas Southon lets his stunning ignorance run wild as follows:
Did the composer originally intend to perform it himself or did he write it specifically for Miss Jeunehomme? It was certainly she who gave the work its first performance when she was in Salzburg at the end of January 1777. Little is known about this French pianist referred to in Mozart family correspondence as Jenomy or Jénomé. She came from Paris and, as such, probably embodied the broader horizons for which the composer was yearning.
No "Miss Jeunehomme" ever existed, the name being a deliberate early 20th-century invention. The nickname of Mozart's piano concerto K. 271 has been corrected to "Jenamy" since my discovery in 2004 of the identity of the person for whom Mozart wrote it. Further discussion concerning the name has become pointless, as "Jeunehomme" is a fantasy appellation invented by Théodore Wyzewa and Georges de Saint-Foix, who simply transferred «le jeune homme», their favorite place-holder for «Mozart», to a pianist whose real identity they were unable to determine. Jenamy on the other hand is what the real woman who commissioned and premiered the work was actually called, and I think one can fairly expect musicians and record producers to replace a spurious name with that of the flesh-and-blood musician for whom the concerto K. 271 was actually written.

Victoire Jenamy's death certificate (she died on 5 September 1812), issued by the City of Clermont-Ferrand for Joseph Jenamy who wanted to get married again (A-Wstm, St. Peter, Verkündakte 11/1813). The deceased, who around 1776 had left her husband, had taken her maiden name again.

The transcription of Victoire Jenamy's death certificate (with thanks to Ian Allan)

I recently had a little discussion with the embarrassingly cocky deputy editor of the BBC Music Magazine Jeremy Pound, who told me that "my work might enjoy a wider audience if I made a greater effort to publish and disseminate it properly" – the word "properly" of course referring to publications in print which (at least in the world of some bemused journalists) will always be taken into consideration by colleague scholars und eventually by the public. But of course this is not how things work in the real world, where people cannot be made to read scholarly articles and accept scientifically proven facts as the truth. The continuing "Jeunehomme" nonsense spread by ignorant musicologists and the recording industry is a case in point. In 2010 one clueless producer even went so far as to tweak the fantasy name "Jeunehomme" into something new:

My identification of the French pianist Victoire Jenamy (1749-1812) as dedicatee of Mozart's piano concerto K. 271 was published and disseminated as follows:
  • Lorenz, Michael. "Altes Mozart-Rätsel gelöst". In Österreichische Musikzeitschrift, 3-4/2004, 78.
  • Van Gelder, Lawrence. "Mozart by Its Rightful Name". The New York Times, 15 March 2004.
  • Lorenz, Michael. Program note for Robert Levin's and Roger Norrington's concert with the RSO Stuttgart on 18 March 2004 at the Wiener Konzerthaus.
  • Lorenz, Michael. An online publication of an English translation of this program note (March 2004).
  • Lorenz, Michael. "The Jenamy Concerto". In Newsletter of the American Mozart Society, vol. IX (January 2005), 1-3.
  • Lorenz, Michael. "»Mademoiselle Jeunehomme«. Zur Lösung eines Mozart-Rätsels". In Mozart Experiment Aufklärung. Essays for the Mozart Exhibition 2006, (Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz Verlag, Da Ponte-Institut 2006), 423-29.
  • Lorenz, Michael. "Wolfgang Amadé Mozart. Klavierkonzert Es-Dur KV 271 »Jenamy«. Program note for Alfred Brendel's final concert (with the VPO conducted by Charles Mackerras) at the Vienna Musikverein on 18 December 2008.
  • Lorenz, Michael. "Alfred Brendel's Final Program Note" (English translation of the original program note, published online on 26 August 2012). 

The name "Jeunehomme concerto" did not originate in a misunderstanding or through "a corruption of a name" (as some ignoramuses claimed). The name is a total fabrication. Most authors who dealt with this issue in the last decade, either did not read my publications, or simply did not understand this central point. Some Mozart handbooks which were published in the 2006 Mozart Year included my discovery, some authors included it – for reasons of jealousy – without giving my name (as if the truth had dawned on Mozart scholarship based on some mysterious "collective wisdom") and some of them ignored it altogether.

The "Jenamy" entry on p. 232 of The Cambridge Mozart Encyclopedia (Cambridge University Press 2006). The author does not provide a bibliographic source, because he has obviously received his knowledge from a messenger that visited him in a dream.

On the occasion of the publication of his book Über Musik. Sämtliche Essays und Reden in 2005 Alfred Brendel, who of course is far above the pettiness of some scholars, even updated his 1985 essay "Ermahnungen eines Mozartspielers an sich selbst" ("Admonitions of a Mozart Performer to Himself") to include my discovery. In this essay Brendel writes:
Wer die mysteriöse »Mlle Jeunehomme« war, ist dank der Nachforschungen von Michael Lorenz inzwischen geklärt: Sie hieß Victoire Jenamy, wurde in Straßburg 1749 geboren und war das älteste Kind des Tänzers Jean Georges Noverre. Mysteriös geblieben ist die plötzliche höchste Meisterschaft, die sich in dem für sie komponierten Werk entfaltet.
Thanks to the research of Michael Lorenz the identity of the mysterious »Mlle Jeunehomme« is now clarified: Her name was Victoire Jenamy. She was born in 1749 in Strasbourg and was the eldest child of the dancer Jean Georges Noverre. What remains mysterious however, is the sudden highest mastery that unfolds in the work composed for her.

Very soon after in May 2003 I had discovered the truth about K. 271 and Madame Jenamy I decided not to become the "Jenamy police" who would call out all the uninformed musicians and recording producers who refuse to accept the historical facts. After all I have more important things to do than to pursue this kind of propaganda work. But as time went by I had to realize that the continuing use of the nonsensical fantasy name "Jeunehomme" is a grave injustice towards the artist who paid Mozart good money for composing one of the greatest masterpieces of classical music. We simply owe it to Victoire Jenamy to give her name together with the concerto that she commissioned.

The signatures on Joseph Jenamy's and Victoire Noverre's 1768 marriage contract (A-Ws, Merkantilgericht, Fasz. 3, 1. Reihe, lit J, Nr. 2). The undersigned persons are: Joseph Jenamy (1747-1819), Victoire Noverre, the guardian of the groom and merchant Leopold Wührer (1712-1776), Noverre's landlord Franz Xaver von Stegnern (1704-1772), the jeweler and brother-in-law of the groom's stepmother Joseph Fleischhäckl (1700-1795), the state official and poet Franz Heufeld (1731-1795) and "comme pere de l’epousée“ Jean Georges Noverre. This document was first published in my article "»Mademoiselle Jeunehomme«. Zur Lösung eines Mozart-Rätsels". In Mozart Experiment Aufklärung. Essays for the Mozart Exhibition 2006.

The 1768 marriage entry of Joseph Jenamy and Victoire Noverre (A-Wd, Tom. 64, fol. 206v)
dispensati in tribus
[iationibus] et Sp[on]sa etiam
in defu domicilij
[ito] lib:[ertatis] juram:[ento]
[ulati] sunt 11. Sept:[embris] [1768]
a C

Der Wohl Edle H:[err] Joseph Jenamÿ Bürg:[erlicher] Handels
Man led:[igen] St.[ands] geb: alhier des Hl: Franz Jenamÿ
Bürgl: Handelsmans et Franciscæ Ux:[oris] ehl: H:[err] Sohn
obtinuit veniam ætatis et declarationem fuit majorrenis
ab Aug
[ustissi]mo teste Leopoldo Wirer. Cambij Judice
et ejus majore.

    Mit der Wohl Edlen J:[ungfer] Victoria Noverre geb:[ürtig]
Von Straßburg. durch 15. Monath allhir des Johan Georg
Noverre K K: Ballet M[ei]st[e]rs Ludovicæ Ux:[oris] ehl:[iche] T:[ochter]
P:P:[arentes] sponsæ ambo adfuerunt in copulatione.
Testes. H:[err] Joseph Fleischhackel K: K: Jubilir
Hl: Baron Xaverius Freÿher V. Stenger[sic]. H:[err]
Franz Heüfeld K: K: Rechnungs officir.

And by the way: there is no proof that Victoire Jenamy ever visited Salzburg.

Note to journalists: owing to lack of time and peers this post was not peer-reviewed.

Nov 6, 2014

Mathias Jakesch's Place and Date of Birth

It is sometimes intriguing to figure out how certain errors find their way into biographical research. According to the standard literature on Viennese instrument makers the piano builder Mathias Jakesch was born "ca. 1783 in Loschin (Moravia)":

The beginning of the entry about Mathias Jakesch on p. 228 of Rudolf Hopfner's book Wiener Musikinstrumentenmacher 1766 – 1900 (Tutzing: Schneider, 1999)

This information is based on an entry on p. 147 of Helga Haupt's Wiener Instrumentenbauer von 1791 bis 1815 (Studien zur Musikwissenschaft 24, Vienna 1960).

"Loschin in Moravia" as Jakesch's place of birth is given on several web sites. In 2001 the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies at San José State University acquired an original Jakesch piano from 1827 which is presented on the Center's homepage as follows.

The Ira F. Brilliant Center's presentation of Mathias Jakesch's 1827 piano, giving "Loschin near Brno" as Jakesch's place of birth. Contrary to the information on this page Jakesch's uncle Johann was not born in 1763, but in 1755. The typo "Mathais" in the headline is symptomatic.

The Beethoven Center's 1827 piano by Mathias Jakesch

On the American Beethoven Society's website we read: "A piano and organ maker, Mathias Jakesch was born around 1783 in Loschin near Brno, Moravia. He died 14 July 1828 in Vienna at age 45. He lived in Vienna auf der Wieden, Kirchengasse 182." There is one small problem with Mathias Jakesch's supposed place of birth: a Moravian village named "Loschin" does not exist.

When Helga Haupt tried to identify Mathias Jakesch's place of birth she checked the death register of the Vienna City Council and found the following entry:

The entry concerning Mathias Jakesch's death in the Vienna death register (A-Wsa, TBP 163, IJ, fol. 7v). The house Wieden 187 (today Neumanngasse 4) belonged to Beethoven's publisher Sigmund Anton Steiner and his wife Anna.
                                     14t [Juli 1828]
Jackesch H[err] Mathias, bgl Instrumentenmacher v. Losch in / Mähren geb.[ürtig] im Stein[erischen]h:[aus] N 182. a[uf] d Altwieden / a.[n] d. Lungenschwinds:[ucht] alt 45 Jr. Konstantin
Jackesch Mr. Mathias, civil maker of musical instruments, born in Losch in Moravia in the house of Mr. Steiner No. 182 on the Old Wieden of pulmonary consumption, aged 45 years. Konstantin [coroner]
This document shows that the mysterious village "Loschin" in Moravia is what Helga Haupt made of "Lösch in Mähren" (today Líšeň which in 1919 became a district of Brno).

The words "Losch in" in the Totenbeschauprotokoll which Helga Haupt turned into "Loschin"

The flawed "Loschin" information has been corrected by Rudolf Hopfner in his article on the  Jakesch family in the Österreichisches Musiklexikon. But this encyclopedia is only available in few libraries outside of Austria and it is rarely taken into account by musicologists, because of the huge number of errors it contains.

The entry concerning Mathias Jakesch's christening at St. Giles' Church in Líšeň shows two things:
  1. Mathias Jakesch was born on 15 February 1784, son of the "Straßenaufseher" (street custodian) and "Häusler" Franz Jakesch (b. 1759) and his wife Catharina, née Noß (b. 1766).
  2. Mathias Jakesch was not born in Lösch (where he was baptized), but in the house No. 190 of the neighboring village of Latein (Slatina which today is also a district of Brno).
Mathias Jakesch's baptismal entry in the Líšeň church records (Moravský zemský archiv Brno, Brno-Líšeň 17604, pag. 295). Note the location "Lateinae".

There is still no docuimentary proof that the piano builder Johann Jakesch (1755-1840) was really Mathias's uncle, although a family relationship seems to have existed, because in 1837 Johann Jakesch (together with the piano builder Kaspar Lorenz) served as best man at the wedding of Mathias's younger brother, the piano builder Franz Jakesch (b. 10 October 1803) in the parish church of Schottenfeld (Pfarre Schottenfeld, Tom. 15, fol. 26). Johann Jakesch was born on 6 June 1755 in Malostowitz (today Malhostovice) near Brno and was baptized in Tschepin (today Čebín).

The entry concerning Johann Jakesch's baptism on 6 June 1755 in Malostowitz. Johann's father Lorenz Jakesch was a weaver. (Moravský zemský archiv Brno, Čebín 1059, p. 159).

We do not know if Johann was a brother of Mathias's father, the street custodian Franz Jakesch who 30 years later lived about 15 kilometers away in Latein near Brno. The alleged family relation was put into existence by Franz Gräffer in vol. 3 of his 1845 book Kleine Wiener-Memoiren, where he describes how the samaritan Johann Jakesch adopted his brother's nine children:

 Franz Gräffer's description of Johann Jakesch's exemplary behavior. The "gottergebene Frau Buchholz" ("the pious Mrs. Buchholz") referred to at the beginning is Anna Buchholz who in 1809 inherited 100 gulden from Joseph Haydn.
If we already had the Bürger-Plutarch, whose creation has been suggested many times (the life and deeds of deserved Viennese citizens from the middle class), some substitutes and a number of new heroes would be in store. [...] Many new individuals could be added. Among them the piano maker Johann Jakesch, who died on 25 March 1840 at the age of eighty-seven. Born in the area of Brno, he came to Vienna as a poor apprentice carpenter. He was industrious, frugal, God-fearing and righteous; he learned the art of piano making, excelled in his craft, received many orders. Haydn and Mozart became his friends; had their pianos made by him, recommended him everywhere. In spite of being illiterate, he advanced his business in such a way that he came into the possession of two houses. He was cheerful, friendly, obliging, liked to tell stories from his life, and loved to speak in doggerel. He was cordial and sympathetic, but harsh against his closest relatives, for which he might well have had his reasons. As far as his serious duty as a Christian was concerned, he did not fail and showed himself to be noble and generous. Worthy of praiseful recognition and everlasting memory, as a shining example for many well-off family members is the following feature: His brother, a poor fellow, died in Moravia. He left nine children, of whom the oldest was eleven years old. What should become of these deplorable orphans? Instantly Jakesch hurries to Moravia, settles the domestic affairs, and takes all nine children with him as a father, as a tender father. He has them educated; he teaches the boys his craft; establishes and secures their future. Indeed, such characters should not fall into oblivion!
 Johann Jakesch's signature and seal (A-Ws, Mag. ZG, A2, 4819/1811)

What Gräffer of course could not know was the fact that seven months after the death of his first wife Anna in 1811 Johann Jakesch had made the mistake of marrying again. His second wife was the widow Elisabeth Fingerl, a sister of the capellmeister Johann Georg Lickl. The marriage turned out to be a disaster and when Jakesch's second wife died on 24 March 1815, the couple had already separated and was in the final stage of a divorce. The rift between them was so deep that the widower refused to sign  his deceased wife's probate papers.

A note on the probate records of Johann Jakesch's second wife: "To be noted: the signature of the widower is missing, because he refused to sign." (A-Ws, Mag. ZG, A2, 3601/1815)

As far as Johann Jakesch's adoption of his brother's nine children is concerned, part of Franz Gräffer's story is corroborated by the sources. Mathias Jakesch's younger siblings were orphaned in 1809, when their parents died within five days. Catharina Jakesch died on 6 October 1809 of exhaustion, her husband Franz died on 11 October 1809 of dropsy.

The entry concerning the death of Mathias Jakesch's mother Catharina on 6 October 1809 of "Abzehrung" (Moravský zemský archiv Brno, Brno - Líšeň, sv. Jiljí 17625, p. 136)

The entry concerning the death of Mathias Jakesch's father Franz on 11 October 1809 of "Wassersucht" (Moravský zemský archiv Brno, Brno - Líšeň, sv. Jiljí 17625, p. 137)

A conscription sheet of Johann Jakesch's house Wieden No. 78 (today Wohllebengasse 15) from between 1805 and 1811 lists several of Johann Jakesch's adopted relatives. At the top left Johann Jakesch is given as owner of the house. Then follows Jakesch ("v Malostowitz in Mähren") and the names of his two wives (the second one described as "getrennt gestorben"), his only son Georg ("Instrumentenmacher v Alstergasse, verh., komt vor, mittl[erer] Schwächling"). Mathias Jakesch is listed twice, once as "Ziehsohn", "Bruders Sohn" and "Instrumentenmachergesell von Frauenfels in Mähren", once as "Bruders Sohn Instrumentenmachergesell mittl. v Lösch b Brünn, angenommen [adopted]"). Then follow Ignaz ("Angenommen"), Anna Franziska ("Ziehtochter"), Martin ("Anverwandter in d Lehr bey Militär gestorb[en] in Italien"), Franz ("d[etto] in d Lehr"), Apolonia ("in d Kost") and what seems to be a Veronica Jakesch. The years of birth of some children prove that Gräffer's information concerning the age of the youngest child was correct.

The family of Johann Jakesch and his adopted children on a conscription sheet of the house Wieden No. 78. The children's names are crossed out because ar some time they moved out from their uncle's house. (A-Ws, Konskriptionsamt, KB Wieden 78/1r)

After having received the City's official permission to work as a piano builder, Mathias Jakesch on 21 October 1811 married Walburga Kreb, the daughter of a state official from Burgau in Bavaria. His marriage contract shows that he was unable to even write his name. Jakesch signed with three Xs and his name was written by Karl Klose "als ersuchter Namensunterschreiber des H[errn] Mathias Jackesch und Zeuge".

The seals and signatures on Mathias Jakesch's and Walburga Kreb's 1811 marriage contract (A-Ws, Mag. ZG, A10, 407/1828)

Between 1812 and 1826 Mathias Jakesch and his wife had seven children of whom five were still alive at the time of Jakesch's death on 14 July 1828. Conrad Graf became the guardian of those children and Walburga Jakesch continued to run her husband's business until 1839. But a detailed biography of Mathias Jakesch is not the main topic of this blogpost.

Nov 1, 2014

A Letter to the Editor of The Musical Times

Vienna, September 14th, 2014

Dear Sirs,

having delved into this particular topic myself in the past, I was eager to read Rita Steblin's article entitled "Who was Beethoven's 'Elise'? A new solution to the mystery" in the last issue of The Musical Times. My great expectations were disappointed, however, when I had to realise that the article has almost nothing to do with Beethoven's "Elise", consisting as it does solely of a biography of Elise Barensfeld of somewhat wearisome length. None of the scans of entries of Chotek's diary and charred police documents presented by Steblin in her article has anything at all to do with Beethoven's "Elise"; they simply serve the obvious purpose of distracting the reader from the fact that the article does not deal with the identification of the latter at all. Steblin provides absolutely no proof that Elise Barensfeld was Beethoven's "Elise", and the gap in the chain of evidence from which her hypothesis already suffered when in 2012 she presented it in the German press still yawns. Mälzel's address in Vienna is not "a key to the solution", and there is no proof that "Therese Malfatti […] knew Elise Barensfeld", let alone "surely". That Therese Malfatti "perhaps[sic] even gave Elise piano lessons", is an unproven and in addition irrelevant theory. Steblin's total lack of documentary evidence culminates in the curious question: "Was my candidate the unknown dedicatee of Beethoven's piano piece?" There is in fact no trace of a "solution to the mystery" to be found in the whole article.

Steblin's faulty epistemology is already apparent in the title of her article. There are no "new solutions" of mysteries; there are new hypotheses — and one correct solution. By referring to "previous theories about Elise's identity", Steblin shows that she is aware of the traditional terminology, at the same time upgrading her hypothesis to a theory. In the new scholarly concept she seems to have established, however, every new theory automatically becomes a "solution" on its presentation by Dr. Steblin. In a lecture entitled  "Beethovens Elise - ein Wunderkind aus Regensburg" (‘Beethoven's Elise - a child prodigy from Ratisbon’), delivered in that city on 15 November 2012, she was already presenting her hypothesis not just as a theory, but as a fact. In her article about Johann Nepomuk Mälzel in the Festschrift for David Hiley (Regensburger Studien zur Musikgeschichte 10 (Tutzing: Schneider 2013) she referred to Elise Barensfeld as "most likely Beethoven's Elise". Such a sensationalistic procedure is not only embarrassing, but damages the reputation of historical musicology in general. Steblin is widely known for presenting a mere hypothesis as a solution of a mystery: her "solution" of the identity of Beethoven's "Immortal Beloved" has never been proved beyond doubt and depends on circumstantial evidence, presumption and wishful thinking.

In an essay titled "Maria Eva Hummel. A Postscript", published in July 2013, I presented my own hypothesis concerning the identity of Beethoven's "Elise". Neither Klaus Martin Kopitz nor Steblin was able to accept that the name "Elisabeth" and a woman's personal acquaintance with Beethoven do not together suffice to identify her as "Beethoven's Elise". In my essay I pointed out that the identification of "Elise" stands and falls with the person's direct connection to the lost autograph of the Bagatelle WoO 59, last seen in Munich. Up to now only two women named Elise have been shown to have had such a close connection: Elise Schachner (née Wendling), the wife of the autograph's owner Josef Rudolf Schachner, and Schachner's daughter Elise Schachner. I therefore suggested that the dedication "Für Elise" on the autograph was not written by Beethoven at all, and that the composer wrote only the words "am 27 April [1810] zur Erinnerung von L. v. Bthvn", the dedication "Für Elise" having been added by Schachner decades later, when he made a gift of the autograph to his wife or daughter. This scenario is much more likely than the laboured theories presented by Kopitz and Steblin. All the people involved in my own scenario had direct contact with the autograph of the Bagatelle WoO 59, and on putting Occam's razor to work, the role of Elise Schachner as Daddy’s rather than Beethoven’s Elise appears quite reasonable. Following Kopitz's and Steblin's example, I should of course have immediately published my idea in the press under the headline "The solution of the mystery". Steblin is of course fully aware of my theory and its publication in my weblog on July 8th, 2013. In her summary of "Previous theories about Elise's identity" in The Musical Times, however, she chose not to mention it. The reason for her deliberate discretion is quite simple: in my 2013 article I published a photograph of the same census sheet dealing with the Theater an der Wien (Laimgrube 26/7) which Steblin claims to present for the first time on p. 8 of her article in The Musical Times. I had already found and photographed this particular document, which incidentally is completely irrelevant for the identification of an "Elise" candidate, in December 2005, and simply forgot to include it in my article in the 2011 Beethoven Studien. Because Steblin could not accept that somebody else had demonstrably found this piece of evidence seven years earlier than she did, she decided to ignore my hypothesis altogether. Dr. Steblin seems to think that her referring several times to my previous research in The Musical Times is compensation enough for her having suppressed any reference to my 2013 article; she is however mistaken.

Yours sincerely,
Dr. Michael Lorenz

Oct 11, 2014

Coming Up: The Baptismal Entry of Ottilie von Goethe's Illegitimate Daughter

In 1834 Goethe's daughter-in-law Ottilie von Goethe went to Vienna to give birth to an illegitimate daughter, whose father was an English army officer. The exact circumstances of the events in Vienna have always been shrouded in mystery, because Ottilie and her friend and travel companion Anna Jameson went to great efforts to cover their tracks. In the last 90 years scholars such as Eduard Castle, Heinrich Hubert Houben and Heinz Bluhm searched in vain for the baptismal entry of Ottilie von Goethe's daughter Anna.

The discovery of this important source answers several unsolved questions concerning the child's father, sheds more light on Ottilie von Goethe's erratic love life and led to surprising discoveries in Vienna's archives regarding the short life of her illegitimate daughter.

Oct 4, 2014

Three Mistranslations of a Mozart Letter

In his article "The 'Effective Passage' in Mozart's 'Paris' Symphony" (Eighteenth-Century Music, 9/2012) Matthias Range deals with the meaning of the words "mitten" and "auf die lezt" in Mozart's letter of 3 July 1778 and their translation by Emily Anderson, Robert Spaethling and Stanley Sadie. But the real blooper in all three published translations of this letter goes completely unnoticed.

Like in countless other cases Emily Anderson with her persuasive mistranslation was able to completely convince her male successors. Her nonsensical "There were shouts of 'Da capo'" duly lead to Spaethling's "There they were: the shouts of Da capo" and Sadie's "When there were shouts of Da capo". 

There were no shouts of "Da capo". Shouts of "Da capo" would have been totally out of place anyway at this moment, because this already was the Da capo. Mozart does not quote the audience, he is describing it bursting into applause for a second time. Here is the correct translation of the last sentence of this passage in Mozart's letter:
I brought it once again at the end of the movement - and there they went again.
The fact that there is still no reliable and scholarly annotated translation of the Mozart family letters is still a major impediment for Mozart scholarship.

Sep 11, 2014

Joseph Haydn's Real Wife

Haydn's Wedding

On 26 November 1760  in the Eligius Chapel of Vienna's St. Stephen's Cathedral Joseph Haydn married Maria Anna Keller. The entry in the baptismal register of the parish concerning Haydn's wedding was first published in 1875 by C. F. Pohl in his book Joseph Haydn. Since Pohl's transcription contains several inaccuracies that have found their way into the Haydn literature – with Robbins Landon's translation of Pohl's edition in Haydn: The Early Years (London: Thames and Hudson, 1980, p. 248) being particularly flawed – I herewith present a correct transcription and translation of this document.

Joseph Haydn's marriage entry in the records of St. Stephen's Cathedral (A-Wd, Tom. 59, fol. 417v).
Dispensati in tribus / denunciationibus / Authoritate Ordinaria / deposito[que] utrimque / Libertatis juramento / Cop:[ulati] sunt 26ta / Novembris.
Der Hochgeehrte H:[err] Joseph  Haÿden, Musicæ Director Beÿ / Tit:[ulo] H:[errn] Grafen V: Marzin, Ledig, Von Rohrau beÿ Brugg / gebürtig, des H[errn] Martin Haÿden, eines Wagnermeisters, / und Annæ Mariæ Ux:[oris] Seel:[ig] Ehe[liche]n Tochter.[sic!]
Mit der Hochgeehrt= und Tugendreichen J[un]gfr:[au] Maria Anna / Kellerin, allhier gebürtig, des H[errn] Johann Peter Keller, / Hofbefreÿten Beruqueenmachers, und Elisabethæ Ux:[oris] / Ehe[liche]n Tochter.
Testes: H:[err] Carl Schuncko, bürgl: Steinmetz=meister allhier / Und H:[err] Anton Buchholtz, bürgl: Markt= Richter.
Dispensed with the permission of the Ordinariate from the three readings of the banns, they were united after a mutual oath of being unmarried on 26 November.
The most respected Mr. Joseph Hayden, director of music at Titulo Count von Morzin, single, legitimate son of Mr. Mathias Hayden, master wheelwright and of his deceased wife Anna Maria.
With the highly respected and virtuous maiden Maria Anna Keller, born here [i.e. in this parish], legitimate daughter of Mr. Johann Peter Keller, court-appointed wigmaker and of his wife Elisabeth.
Witnesses: Mr. Carl Schuncko, civil  master stonemason from here, and Mr. Anton Buchholtz, civil market judge.
Robbins Landon certainly never saw Haydn's original marriage entry, because in the chapter about Haydn's marriage in his Chronicle 1757-60 (p. 249) he writes: "The fact that Haydn signs himself[sic!] boldly on the register of St. Stephen's (acting this time, as the local parish church as 'Music-Director'[sic!] at titl. [Herrn] Count v. Morzin', must mean that he was still in Morzin's service." Needless to say that Haydn did not sign himself in the marriage register. And "Music-Director" is not even the word that appears in the records. Robbins Landon's and Robert Franz Müller's musings as to whether Haydn kept his marriage secret fom Count Morzin, are of course moot. Like every member of a nobleman's private staff, who wanted to get married, Haydn had to present a written declaration of consent from his employer.

Haydn's Supposed Wife: Maria Anna Aloysia Apollonia Keller

What does the standard Haydn literature tell us about Haydn's wife? In his Biographische Notizen über Joseph Haydn (1810) Georg August Griesinger writes:
In the house of a wigmaker named Keller in Vienna (on the Landstraße) Haydn had frequently received support; he also gave music lessons to Keller's eldest daughter and his affection grew as the acquaintance became closer; but she entered a convent and now, because with his fixed salary his livelihood was sufficiently secured, Haydn decided, at the hairdresser's urgent persuasion and out of gratitude, to marry his second daughter."
In his Biographische Nachrichten von Joseph Haydn (1810) Albert Christoph Dies writes:
Because Haydn lived in the home of a wigmaker, who had two daughters, and the man had once said to him in jest: "Haydn, you should marry my eldest daughter!", Haydn married this daughter (even against his affection, because the younger one was the real object of his love), just to get a wife soon.
Giuseppe Carpani writes in his book Le Haydine (1812):
I want to address his wedding with Madame Annuccia[!] Keller, daughter of the abovementioned wigmaker. Remembering what he had promised, and what he had in this family, our master Joseph, being provided with an honorable and safe livelihood, entered this marriage which for some time made ​​him happy.
In his biography of Haydn Carl Ferdinand Pohl did not really add much to the information that his predecessors had provided. The accounts of Griesinger and Dies however seem to have strongly narrowed his focus when he delved into primary sources, such as the Vienna church records.

C. F. Pohl: Joseph Haydn (1875), p. 195f.
Johann Peter Keller, "hofbefreiter" [entitled to also work on commission from the Court] wigmaker, got married on 12 November 1722 at St. Michael's to Marie Elisabeth Sailler. This marriage was blessed with many children. The eldest daughter, who on 9 February 1729 was baptized Maria Anna Aloysia Apollonia (see appendix I,11), became Haydn's wife. The younger daughter, with whom Haydn was in love, was accepted as nun into the St. Nicholas Convent and took up the convent name Josepha. She was still alive in 1801 and Haydn mentions her in § 24 of his first will: "To my late wife's sister, the ex-nun 50 Fl." (this amount was later cancelled). She was not the only one in her family with an inclination towards the church; her sister, Haydn's wife, also showed this inclination and one of her brothers entered the Order of St. Augustine in Graz under the convent name Pater Eduard.
On p. 380 of his book (footnote I,11 referred to in the above passage) Pohl published the baptismal entry of Keller's supposed eldest daughter (and Haydn's supposed wife), Maria Anna Aloysia Apollonia Keller in the records of St. Stephen's Cathedral.

The original document shows that Pohl's transcription is flawed and incomplete. The father's profession is "hofb: Parouquenmacher" [no double f!], the words after the godfather read "Kaÿ[serlicher] Portir maritus" (her husband, an Imperial doorman) and the name of the midwife "Barb:[ara] Adalmannin Obst:[etrix]" was obviously not important enough for Pohl to include it in his transcription.

The entry concerning the baptism of Maria Anna Aloysia Apollonia Keller on 9 February 1729 (A-Wd, Tom. 65, fol. 221r)

Pohl's identification was the last word on this issue and as far as the identity of Haydn's wife is concerned Haydn scholarship in general is still referring to this supposed gospel. Concerning Haydn's wife James Webster writes in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians: "On 26 November 1760 Haydn was married to Maria Anna Aloysia Apollonia Keller (bap. 9 Feb 1729; d 20 March 1800); [...] The bride was the daughter of the wigmaker Johann Peter Keller, who is said variously to have assisted him in his years of poverty or employed him as a music teacher." In the other major musicological reference work, the German encyclopedia Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart (vol. 8, col. 909), Georg Feder writes: "Die Braut war Maria Anna (oder Anna Maria) Aloisia Apollonia (Rufname: Anna) Keller 1729-1800, Tochter des Perückenmachers Johann Peter Keller in der Vorstadt Landstraße.". Laaber's 2010 Haydn-Lexikon has a long article about "Haydn (geb. Keller), Maria Anna (Aloysia Apollonia) getauft 9.2.1729" by Christin Heitmann and in the 2002 Oxford Composer Companion on Haydn, where of course "Haydn, Maria Anna Aloysia Apollonia" makes a prominent appearance, Else Radant writes the following about Therese Keller: "Her uncle[sic!] Georg Ignaz Keller (1699-1771) was a violinist in St. Stephen's and introduced Haydn to his brother, Johann Peter Keller, a professional wig maker. He and his wife had seven children of whom Therese was the third daughter."

On the occasion of the work on my recent blogpost about Haydn's godchildren I sorted out all the data related to the Keller family that I had collected in the last ten years. When I drew up a list of all of Johann Peter Keller's children with their dates of birth and death, I realized that Maria Anna Aloysia Apollonia Keller could not have been Haydn's wife. Pohl's information concerning the identity of Frau Haydn is false and so is the whole Haydn literature on this issue, where Pohl's error has been repeated for the last 139 years. The proof that Maria Anna Aloysia Apollonia Keller was not Haydn's wife is of the utmost simplicity: Maria Anna Aloysia Apollonia Keller already died at the age of fifteen months.
[26 Maÿ 1730]
Dem Johann Peter Kellner, Hofbefr:[eiter] Paruquen= / machern, sein Kind Aloÿsia, ist in Fehrner:[ischen] Haus / am Hochenmarkt an der Zahnfrais b[e]s[c]h[au]t [worden], [alt] 5/4. Jahr.
The wigmaker to the court Johann Peter Kellner's child Aloysia has been inspected in Ferner's house on the Hoher Markt as having died of teething cramps at an age of 5/4 years.
The entry in the Vienna death register concerning the death of Haydn's supposed wife Maria Anna Aloysia Apollonia Keller on 26 May 1730 (A-Wsa, Totenbeschauprotokoll [henceforth TBP] 33, fol. 275v) . For the corresponding announcement in the Wiener Diarium see here.

For reasons of this child's age of fifteen months there can be no doubt that this is the daughter of Johann Peter Keller's who was born on 9 February 1729 and is said to have become Haydn's wife. It is also interesting to learn that this child's forename was Aloisia and not Anna. Aloisia Keller was buried in the cemetery of St. Stephen's on the same day she had died.
[Den 26 Maÿ. (1730)]
Eingeseg:[net] / Kellnerin. / Des Johann Peter Kellner, Hof= / befreüten Baroquenmachers sein Kind Aloÿsia, ist in Fer / nerischen Hauß am Hochenm:[arkt] / an der Zahnfrais b[e]schaut, alt / 5/4 Jahr, zu St: Ste:[phan]
Grabstell . . . . . . . . . . ." 1 " –– "
Pahrtüchl . . . . . . . . . " –– " 45 "
1. mantl . . . . . . . . . . " –– " 12 "

The entry concerning Aloysia Keller's burial in the Bahrleihbuch of St. Stephen's parish (A-Wd, BLB 1730, fol. 125r). The "Fernerisches Hauß" was the so-called Leinwandhaus (today Hoher Markt 4), which at that time belonged to the merchant Franz Joseph Ferner. It was torn down in 1861.

Pohl's choice for the identity of Haydn's wife was basically arbitrary. He certainly did not conduct a systematic search in the Vienna church records. I suspect that he did not even do the research himself and got the information concerning the two sources from the parish archive of St. Stephen's that he published from somebody else. Had Pohl personally consulted the Cathedral's records he would certainly have realized that Maria Anna Aloysia Apollonia Keller was not her parents' first daughter. Anybody who would have personally checked Johann Peter Keller's 1722 marriage entry in the records of St. Michael's, would immediately have looked into the following baptismal registers of this parish. This is the standard procedure to find the first children of a marriage. Pohl did no such thing. He also was not aware of the basic fact that a child's "Rufname", the first name, by which it is addressed, cannot be determined from a baptismal entry, but only from a later marriage entry, or an entry in the death records. Considering the high birth rates in the early 18th century, doing research on a Viennese family from this time by checking only the baptismal records, but ignoring the death records, is – from a scholarly point of view – an almost worthless enterprise.

Haydn's Real Wife: Maria Anna Theresia Keller

The daughter of Johann Peter Keller that Haydn really married, was Maria Anna Theresia Keller, who was born the seventh child of her parents on 25 September 1730 in the "Fernerisches Haus" on the Hoher Markt. As Carpani rightly noted in 1812 her "Rufname" was to be Anna.

The entry concerning the baptism of Haydn's future wife Maria Anna Theresia Keller on 25 September 1730 (A-Wd, Tom. 66, fol. 57v)
25. [September 1730] / Maria / Anna / Theresia
D[ominus] Joannes Petrus Keller. hofbefreiter Peruqu[en] mach[e]r
D[omina] Maria Elisabetha uxor.
D[omina] Anna Maria Schlegelhofferin.
D[ominus] Joannes Franciscus maritus keys[erlicher] Hatschir Chyrurgus
Barbara Adelmanin Obst[etrix]

The birthplace of Haydn's wife (and the Keller family's main residence from 1730 until at least 1741), the "Fernerisches Haus am Hohen Markt" (later to be numbered 526) on Joseph Daniel von Huber's 1778 map of Vienna.

Since Anna Keller signed her marriage contract and her first will "Maria Anna" (names that were also part of Aloisia's name) and appears as "Anna" in other documents, the mistaken identity never became apparent in documents from Haydn's later life.

Joseph and Anna Haydn, receiving the "Gewähr" (the right of ownership) for their house Windmühle No. 71 on 29 October 1793: "Herr Joseph Haydn, fürstlich Esterhazi:[scher] Capellmeister, und dessen Frau Ehewirthinn Anna empfangen [...]"(A-Wsa, Grundbuch 123/8, fol. 105r).

Anna Keller's godparents were the surgeon of the I.&R. Hartschiers (the Emperor's life guard) Johann Franz Schlegelhofer and his wife Maria Elisabeth. Schlegelhofer was born around 1700 and died in the early hours of 28 October 1755 of "Blutbrechen" (blood vomitting) in the "Bischof-Hauß am Haÿdenschuß". This building, where in 1788 Lorenzo Da Ponte was to reside, has been dealt with extensively on this blog.

The entry in the Vienna Totenbeschauprotokoll concerning Franz Schlegelhofer's death in 1755: "Schlegelhofer, Herr Johann Frantz, K:K: Hartschirn Chyrurgus, in Bischof-Hauß am Haÿdenschuß Nachts-Frühe umb 1/2 1. Uhr an Blutbrechen versch:[ieden], alt 55. Jahr." (A-Wsa, TBP 50/2, fol. 86r)

To get an overview of the Keller offspring and to illustrate the flawed genealogical research that lead to such a fundamental mix-up in Haydn's biography, we have to look at a list of Johann Peter Keller's fifteen children with their basic biographical dates (and their main forename in bold type).

The Kellerkinder
  1. Joseph Johann Thomas Keller, baptized on 15 July 1723 (A-Wstm, Tom. 8, p. 385), godparents: Thomas Goldt and Johann Georg Ottho. Joseph Keller became a court official and by 1785 was employed as registrant at the secret Court Chancellery  and Latin Registry. A highly educated man he owned a huge library and was friends with many men of letters, such as the legendary singer Francesco Benucci. In 1797, owing to mental problems, he attacked his wife and was brought into an asylum, from which he was released after Haydn had submitted a written pledge in his favor. Joseph Keller died of exhaustion on 10 November 1801 at the "Postmeisterhaus" on the Landstraße (today Landstraßer Hauptstraße 61), survived by one son named Karl (A-Wsa, TBP 112a, lit. CGK, fol. 121r).

    Seal and signature of Haydn's brother-in-law Joseph Keller

  2. Heinrich Anton Thomas Keller, baptized on 12 July 1724 (A-Wstm, Tom. 8, p. 528), godparents: Heinrich Reischmann and Thomas Gold; died on 3 November 1727 of "Kindsblattern" (chickenpox) (A-Wsa, TBP 31/1, fol. 152v) at the "Fernerisches Haus am Graben", then owned by the cloth merchant Anton Carl Ferner (today Graben 21, torn down in 1834).
  3. Johann Georg Thomas Keller, baptized on 12 January 1726 (A-Wd, Tom. 63, fol. 281v), godparents: Thomas Gold and Heinrich Reischmann; died on 1 October 1727 of "Zahn-Cathar" (tooth catarrh) at the "Fernerisches Haus am Graben" (A-Wsa, TBP 31/1, fol. 119v).
  4. Maria Barbara Helena Theresia Keller, baptized on 26 December 1726 (A-Wd, Tom. 64, fol. 100v), godparents: Barbara Osner and Anna Helena Reischmann. In January 1752 she married the future wigmaker Carl Scheiger. Two of her grandchildren were godchildren of Haydn's. Her date of death is unknown.
  5. Maria Anna Elisabeth, baptized on 1 February 1728 (A-Wd, Tom. 64, fol. 397v), godparent: Anna Helena Reischmann. On 16 May 1752 she married the painter Joseph Bidermann (who died before 1795) with whom she had several children, of whom a son, Joseph, was still alive in 1819. She died on 3 July 1795 at the hospital of the Order of Saint Elisabeth on the Landstraße (A-Ws, Mag. ZG,  A2, 3023/1795).

    The entry concerning the wedding of Joseph Bidermann and Elisabeth Keller on 16 May 1752 at St. Stephen's Cathedral (A-Wd, Tom. 55, fol. 126v)

  6. Maria Anna Aloysia Apollonia Keller, baptized on 9 February 1729 (A-Wd, Tom. 65, fol. 221r), godparents: Maria and Thomas Glas. Pohl's wrong choice as Haydn's wife (see above). She died on 26 May 1730 (A-Wsa, TBP 33, fol. 275v).
  7. Maria Anna Theresia Keller, baptized on 25 September 1730 (A-Wd, Tom. 66, fol. 57v), godparents: Anna Maria and Johann Franz Schlegelhofer. She became Haydn's wife and died on 20 March 1800 in Baden.
  8. Eleonora Maria Anna Keller, baptized on 8 January 1732 (A-Wd, Tom. 66, fol. 382v), godparents: Helena and Heinrich Reischmann, administrator at the Carmelite Convent of St. Joseph; died on 9 March 1732 of "Stickfrais" (whooping cough) at the "Fernerisches Haus am Hohen Markt" (A-Ws, TBP 35, fol. 109v).
  9. Theresia Helena Keller, baptized on 20 May 1733 (A-Wd, Tom. 67, fol. 160r), godmother: Helena Reischmann. She entered the convent of the Poor Clares in the Singerstraße (which was disbanded in 1783) in 1755 and took her vows in 1756 as Sister Josepha. She died on 3 January 1819 at Leopoldstadt No. 446 (last CNo. 503, today Praterstraße 33).

    Seal and signature of Sister Josepha Keller on a deed of donation in favor of her maidservant Eva Wassermann from 1818 (A-Wsa, Mag. ZG, A2, 23/1819)

  10. Ignaz Heinrich Keller, baptized on 10 November 1734 (A-Wd, Tom. 68, fol. 128v), godfather: Heinrich Reischmann (misspelled "Heischmann"); died on 17 October 1741 of "Hectica" (hectic fever) at the "Fernerisches Haus am Hohen Markt" (A-Ws, TBP 42, fol. 494v).

    The entry concerning the burial of Ignaz Keller on 17 October 1741 (A-Wd, Bahrleihbuch 1741, fol. 234v). This is an example of several very similar documents concerning the burials of eight of Johann Peter Keller's children.

  11. Johann Franz Keller, baptized on 21 January 1736 (A-Wd, Tom. 69, fol. 138r), godparents: Johann Franz and Anna Maria Schlegelhofer, joined the Order of Saint Augustine in Graz (at today's Stiegenkirche) and became a monk under the name Pater Eduard. His date of death is unknown.
  12. Johann Peter Anton Keller, baptized on 16 June 1738 (A-Wd, Tom. 71, fol.64v), godfather: Anton Joachim "kayserlicher Camerdiener"; died of "Zahnfraisen" on 5 March 1739 at the "Fernerisches Haus am Hohen Markt" (A-Wsa, TBP 41, fol. 152v).
  13. Johann Anton Keller, baptized on 4 January 1741 (A-Wd, Tom. 72, fol. 364r), godfather: Anton Joachim "kayserlicher Camer Furir" (Imperial chamber fourier); died on 28 September 1741 "an der Zähnfrais in Fernerischen Hauß am Hohenmarckt" (A-Wsa, TBP 42, fol. 474r).
  14. Maria Catharina Aloysia Keller, baptized on 5 April 1743 (A-Wd, Tom. 74, fol. 112v), godmother: Maria Catharina Reischmann "Königliche Hatschierin" (Heinrich Reischmann's second wife). On 18 January 1766 Aloysia Keller married the wigmaker Johann Sommerfeld. She moved to Preßburg, had four daughters (Aloisia, Elisabeth, Anna and Franziska, who together inherited 200 gulden from Haydn) and after the death of her first husband married a certain Lindner. On 30 May 1778 she filed a lawsuit against Haydn and his wife because of a old loan that Haydn had been granted by her father. Owing to the loss of documents in the Eisenstadt archives, the outcome of this lawsuit is unknown. And so is Aloysia Lindner's date of death.

    The entry concerning the wedding of Johann Sommerfeld and Aloysia Keller on 18 January 1766. The groom's best man was the bride's brother-in-law, the wigmaker Carl Scheiger (1715-1803) (A-Wd, Tom. 63, fol. 298r).

  15. Anton Michael Wenzel Keller, baptized on 29 September 1744 (A-Wd, Tom. 75, fol. 137v), godfather: Anton Joachim "Königlicher Vice Hofquartirmeister" (vice-quartermaster at the Royal Court); died on 11 September 1747 "an der roten Ruhr" (of bloody dysentery) at his father's house, Landstraße No. 51 (A-Wsa, TBP 46, fol. 433r).

    The entry concerning the burial of Johann Peter Keller's last child Michael in the St. Nikolai cemetery on the Landstraße: "Einges: Keller Des H: Peter Keller Hofbefr: Parockhenmacher, sein Kind Michael, ist in der Ungergassen in sein Haus an d Ruhr bscht, alt 3 J: Landstras" (A-Wd, BLB 1747, fol. 162v). Keller's house was not located in the Ungargasse, but in the Raabengasse (today Beatrixgasse 21).


The belated identification of his wife changes very little in Haydn's biography. The fact that his wife was 593 days younger than hitherto assumed, is of downright comforting irrelevance. What is really important however is how this discovery reflects on Haydn research in general which in the last 140 years has failed to resolve a basic biographical issue in the composer's life. It appears to be time to doubt every bit of widely accepted information in the literature. The popular belief that "we already know everything about the lives of famous composers" is a misconception.

An unauthenticated miniature of Anna Haydn (attributed to Ludwig Guttenbrunn)