December 12, 1792 — In Vienna, Ludwig Von Beethoven (right, then 22) received his first lesson in music composition from Franz Joseph Haydn today.
Historians believe that Beethoven was first introduced to Haydn in late 1790, when the latter was traveling to London and stopped in Bonn around Christmas time. A year and a half later, they met in Bonn on Haydn’s return trip from London to Vienna, and it is likely that arrangements were made at that time for Beethoven to study with the old master.
It was a tumultuous time. Rumors of war were spilling out of France, and soon after his arrival in Vienna, Beethoven learned that his father had died. Mozart had also recently died.
Beethoven responded to the widespread feeling that he was a successor to the recently deceased Mozart by studying that master’s work and writing works with a distinctly Mozartean flavor.
Words of Wisdom for December 12, 2016
“Through uninterrupted diligence you will receive Mozart’s spirit through Haydn’s hands.”
— German nobleman and patron of the arts Count Ferdinand Ernst Gabriel von Waldstein, from his farewell note to Beethoven