The entry concerning Joseph Haydn's and Maria Anna Keller's wedding on 26 November 1760 at St. Stephen's Cathedral (A-Wd, Tom. 59, fol. 417v)
As a craftsman Keller was "hofbefreit", which means he had the permission to receive commissions as a master wigmaker directly from the Imperial Court. This special status lead to Keller's relative wealth which enabled him to purchase a house in the Viennese suburb Landstraße. As I already pointed out two years ago in my short essay "Einige Korrekturen und Ergänzungen zu Klaus Martin Kopitz' Aufsatz 'Anmerkungen und Korrekturen zu Haydns Wiener Wohnungen'", the Haydn literature is wrong as to where Johann Peter Keller's house was located, an error that was created by Albert Christoph Dies and Carl Ferdinand Pohl. This building, Landstraße No. 51 ("one half an acre of vinyard in front of the Stubentor on the Joÿsen", as it is described in the Domkapitel land register), was not located in the Ungargasse, as stated by Pohl, but in the Raaben Gasse (today Beatrixgasse 21). Keller and his wife owned this house from 10 September 1734 until 1766. It can be seen on the following clip from Joseph Daniel von Huber's 1778 map of Vienna.
Johann Peter Keller's house Landstraße No. 51 in the Raaben Gasse on Huber's map
Keller's house also appears on Joseph Anton Nagel's 1773 map of Vienna.
The house Landstraße 51, circled in red, on Joseph Anton Nagel's map of Vienna. The street at the bottom is the Landstraße, the diagonal street leading to the upper left is the Ungargasse. On the right is the glacis towards the Inner City (A-Wn, Kartensammlung, K I 111937)
The first two pages of the entry in a Domkapitel land register concerning the purchase of the house Landstraße 51 on 10 September 1734 by Johann Peter Keller and his wife Maria Elisabeth (A-Wsa, Patrimonialherrschaften B2/9, fol. 222v and 223r).
The above entry concerning the purchase of Keller's house in 1734 reads as follows:
Herr Johann Peter Keller Kaÿl: Hofberfreÿter Peruquenmacher, und Maria Elisabeth desßen Fr: Ehe Consortin haben mit Eines WohlEdl Hochweißen Statt Raths über eingereichtes anbringen, und von dem Grundbuch erstatte[n] Bericht den 27t jüngst abgeruckhte[n] [fol. 223r] Monat Septembris ertheilt gegen Consens, zugleich Nuz und Gewöhr empfangen eines halben Joch Weingarttens vor dem Stubenthor auf der Joÿsen, worauf anjezo eine Behausung erbauet und das übrige zu einem Gartten zugerichtet worden ist, zwischen des Kaÿl: Seminarij, und Matthä Feigl Behausung und Gartten gelegen; darum dient man G[e]m[eine]r Statt Wienn Dombcapitl Grundbuch jährl: Michaelis Fünf Schilling, achtzehen Pfening zurechten Grunddienst und nicht mehr. Darumben hirvor in Lib:On 18 September 1766 Keller and his wife sold the house to Johann Wilhelm Baron von Kleinholt (A-Wsa, Patrimonialherrschaften B2/11, fol. 74).
N° 1. fol: 180 Sebastian Glaßner, und Eva Maria desßen Ehewürthin zugleich an der Gewöhr beschriben gestanden, dise aber solches lauth eines den 10t Septemb: dis Jahrs gefertigten Kauf=Contracts anfangs ged:[achten] H: Johann Peter Keller, und dess[en] Fr: Ehe Consortin Maria Elisabeth umb eine gewisße Summam Gelds Käuflich [fol. 223v] hinumbgelasßen, und durch schriftl[iche] aufsandung aigenthuml: übergeben haben. Die mögen also darmit ihren nuz und frombe[n] schafen, und betrachten, wie gleicher Gewöhr und der Statt Wienn Grundbuchs Recht ist, jedoch des burgl: Mitleidens unvergrifen; Neben dißen Reservat und Vorbehalt, daß von solchen der burgl: Jurisdiction unterworfenen Grundstuckh alle burgl: onera willig getragen, die Steüer zu rechter Zeit entrichtet, und wann sich deßhalben Stritt oder jrrunge[n] eraignen solten, solche beÿ Einem löbl: Statt Magistrat angebracht, und beantwortet, auch beÿ einer Veralienirung dißes Keinem anderen als einem würckhl: burger oder burger Rechts: fähigen hinumbgelasßen werden solle, und wolle, wie es dann der ad off[ici]um des Grundbuchs erlegte Revers mit [fol. 224r] mit mehrern ausweißet. ohne Gevährde. Actum Wienn den 12t[en] Octob: 1734.
Nunc in Lib:
N° 2. Fol: 74. Ihro Excell: H: Johann Michael FreÿH: v: Kleinholdt.
Although we have absolutely no documentation as to how Haydn became acquainted with his father-in-law, Pohl assumed that Haydn was introduced to the wigmaker's family by Keller's alleged brother Georg Ignaz Keller, a musician at St. Stephen's, whom Haydn had supposedly known since his days as choirboy at the Cathedral. Georg Ignaz Keller was born around 1699 in the Bohemian town of Chlumec nad Cidlinou and came to Vienna before 1726 as an employee of the Bohemian Court Chancellor Leopold Count Kinsky for whom he served as chamberlain and violinist. Therefore Haydn scholars universally assumed that Haydn's father-in-law also hailed from Bohemia.
The entry concerning the wedding on 17 November 1726 of the (then) chamberlain Georg Ignatz Keller ("von Chlumetz aus Böhm[en]") and Barbara Antonia Scheiblauer (A-Wd, Tom. 45, 286). When on 7 January 1770 Keller got married for the second time, he was already a "K:K: Hof Musicus" (A-Wd, Tom. 65, fol. 132v)
In his article "Joseph Haydns Jugendliebe" (Festschrift Wilhelm Fischer zum 70. Geburtstag, Innsbruck: Sprachwissenschaftliches Seminar der Universität Innsbruck, 1956) Ernst Fritz Schmid vividly describes Georg Ignaz Keller's progress as a musician in Vienna, and how in 1731 he rose from a simple servant to a violinist at St. Stephen's Cathedral, and a court musician in 1765. In spite of complete lack of evidence, Schmid presents the kinship between the "Keller brothers" as a fact.
Der kaiserliche Hofmusikus Georg Ignaz Keller ist es nun gewesen, der Haydn die Bekanntschaft mit der Familie seiner Jugendliebe und damit auch seiner späteren Frau vermittelte. Kellers älterer Bruder, der "hofbefreite" Perückenmacher Johann Peter Keller, der um 1691 ebenfalls in Chlumetz in Böhmen geboren war, besaß zu Wien in der Vorstadt Landstraße in der Ungargasse ein eigenes Haus und einigen Wohlstand [...] Georg Ignaz Keller brachte Haydn in das Haus des Bruders, wo mehrere Kinder, darunter anmutige Töchter heranwuchsen, deren Klavierunterricht der junge Meister übernahm.
It was the imperial court musician Georg Ignaz Keller who established Haydn's acquaintance with the family of his early love and also of his future wife. Keller's older brother, the wigmaker to the court Johann Peter Keller, who had been born around 1691 also in Chlumetz in Bohemia, was considerably wealthy and owned a house in Vienna in the suburb of Landstraße in the Ungargasse [...] Georg Ignaz Keller brought Haydn into his brother's house, where several children were growing up, among them lovely daughters whose piano lessons were taken over by Haydn.
What do we know about Johann Peter Keller's origin? He was born around 1691, and on 12 November 1722, at St. Michael's in Vienna, got married to Maria Anna Seiller. As usual, the marriage records of this parish provide only meager information concerning the bridal couple, such as the date of the wedding, the names of the couple and their parents and the names of the witnesses. No places of birth of groom and bride are given.
The 1722 entry concerning the wedding of Haydn's parents-in-law: "Dominus Joannes Petrus Keller, Joannis Georgij, et Aloysiæ filius, cum Virg:[ine] Maria Elisabetha Seillerin, Georgij et Elisabethae filia, Tes:[tes] Do[min]us Ferdinandus Marher, et D:[ominus] Antonius Geissnhoff. 12. [November]" (A-Wstm, Tom. 4, 345).
This is the only known source on which Haydn scholarship in general, and Ernst Fritz Schmid in particular always relied. But the sparseness of the entries in the marriage records of St. Michael's has a special reason: there is an – unfortunately not complete – series of "Verkündbücher" which contain the basic personal information that the parish priests wrote down, when the engaged couple first appeared and announced their intention of getting married, and the banns were to be published. The entry concerning Johann Peter Keller's wedding is (as was regularly the case with these first and only provisional entries that were to be crossed out later) much more detailed. Among other information – such as the date of the first announcement and the couple's address – this entry gives Johann Peter Keller as being of German origin, namely having been born in Hamburg.
The entry concerning the publication of the banns on 31 October 1722 for the wedding of Haydn's parents-in-law (A-Wstm, Verkündbuch 15)
Den 31 October 1722 copulati sunt 12 9ber 1722 / Der Kunstreiche Herr Johann Peter Keller, ein Keÿ[serlich] Hofbefreiter Porakhenmacher,
bin dem / 3 tauben in der unde[r]n Preinerstrasen wonhaft. / Zu Hamburg gebirtig, des H[errn] Johann Georg Keller, undt Frau Aloysiæ sel[ig] beder / ehlicher Sohnn. nimbt zur ehe die tugent / same Jungfrau Mariam Elisabetham / Seillerin, des H[errn] Georgij Seiller und Elisabethæ sel beeder eheliche tochtor / Zu Wacheram in Österreich gebürtig, / beÿ den 3 taube[n] in der under / Preinerstrass wonhaft. / 1 2 3Ambo in parochia / per plures annos.
And there it is: a Haydn-trifle of world-shattering insignificance. Haydn's father-in-law, the wigmaker Johann Peter Keller and the musician Georg Ignaz Keller were not brothers, but came from very different regions in Europe. It remains to be investigated if Georg Ignaz Keller played any role at all in Haydn's life. Of course one could argue that in the above entry the priest actually referred to the Austrian town of Hainburg an der Donau. But the fact that the word definitely has an "m" and only Wagram bears the attribute "in Österreich" (as if to set it apart from the non-Austrian birthplace of the groom) makes it very clear that (apart from Brahms having written variations on a tune not written by Haydn) this Hansa City has finally gained a family relationship to the composer of the Deutschlandlied. (Since the baptismal register of the town of Hainburg from before 1700 is lost, the question whether Keller was born there cannot be answered).
During the 1750s, Johann Peter Keller enjoyed some wealth. On the occasion of the entry of his daughter Theresia into the convent of Poor Clares at St. Nikolai in 1755, he raised the necessary costs of 1,000 gulden and, in a contract, appointed the convent co-heir of his and his wife's estate.
Seals and signatures of Johann Peter Keller and his wife on the contract, dated 14 May 1755, concerning the donation on the occasion of their daughter's entry into the convent of Poor Clares at St. Nikolai (A-Wsa, Staatliche Verwaltung, Klosterrat, 126.96.36.199.A1/2, 100). This document was published in 1956 by Schmid, albeit with several transcription errors. The shelfmark of this document given by Schmid is now out-of-date.
Twenty years later, Johann Peter Keller's wealth was gone. Approaching the end of his life, he suffered hard times which in a fascinating way may reflect the demise of the wig as a social and economic factor in eighteenth-century Vienna. Keller died on 9 August 1771 absolutely destitute, in the "Klerfisches Haus" on the Hoher Markt and was buried on the following day in the new crypt of St. Stephen's. His relatively wealthy children (and maybe his son-in-law) made sure that his third-class obsequies cost 27 gulden 36 kreuzer and, for an expense of four additional gulden, included a "Music vors Miserere".
The entry concerning Johann Peter Keller's obsequies on 10 August 1771 at St. Stephen's (A-Wd, Bahrleihbuch 1771, fol. 227r). Keller was buried in the new crypt of St. Stephen's Cathedral.
© Dr. Michael Lorenz 2012
Updated: 1 August 2020
The information concerning Haydn's wife at the beginning of this post has been superseded by research which I published in September 2014 in a blogpost titled "Joseph Haydn's Real Wife".