Esterházy

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Esterházy

(ĕs`tĕrhä'zē), princely Hungarian family. Paul, Fürst Esterházy von Galantha, 1635–1713, was elected palatine (regent) of Hungary in 1681 and distinguished himself in the defense of Vienna (1683) and the reconquest of Hungary from the Ottomans. A staunch supporter of Hapsburg rule, he was created prince of the Holy Roman Empire in 1687. His grandson, Paul Anton, Fürst Esterházy von Galantha, d. 1762, appointed Franz Joseph HaydnHaydn, Franz Joseph
, 1732–1809, Austrian composer, one of the greatest masters of classical music. As a boy he sang in the choir at St. Stephen's, Vienna, where he received his principal musical training.
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 assistant musical director at his seat at Eisenstadt, now in Austria. Paul Anton's brother, Nikolaus Joseph, Fürst Esterházy von Galantha, 1714–90, who succeeded him in 1762, made Haydn chief musical director in 1766. For Nikolaus Joseph, Haydn composed most of his chamber music, and numerous symphonies and operas for a vastly increased orchestra and a newly established private opera. Nikolaus Joseph, one of the most lavish art patrons of all time and immensely wealthy, built the celebrated Esterházy palace in Eisenstadt, on the southern end of the Neusiedler Lake. At his death he left Haydn a handsome pension. His nephew, Nikolaus, Fürst Esterházy von Galantha, 1765–1833, was offered (1809) the crown of Hungary by Napoleon I but refused it.
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When Prince Nikolaus of the Esterhazy family died, Haydn was freed from his responsibilities to the family, which allowed him to travel to London and conduct symphonies with a large orchestra.
Peter Esterhazy's "family history" is made up of two parts, "Numbered Sentences from the Life of the Esterhazy Family" and "The Confessions of an Esterhazy Family.
Harrison begins with the use and origins of the various keyboard instruments and then hones in on instruments probably owned by the Esterhazy family and familiar to Haydn.
The Esterhazy family consisted of many branches, but it was the princely branch which thereafter was the wealthiest magnate family in Hungary.
Along with the collections of the Barons Bruckenthal (Samuel, 1721-1803; Michael, 1746-1813) in Transylvania, the Counts Andrassy, Prince Josef Lobkowitz (1772-1816), and the Counts, Dukes and Princes of the Esterhazy family, it formed the basis for some of the most important public collections in later years.
Haydn was Kapellmeister of the powerful Esterhazy family in Hungary (1760 - 90), where he wrote some of his greatest music.
In the countryside, the great aristocratic estates had been broken up, their owners such as the Esterhazy family humbled and banished to remote settlements for menial labour.