This is a study of the musical activities of Empress Marie Therese, one of the most important patrons in the Vienna of Haydn and Beethoven. Building on extensive archival research, including many documents published here for the first time, John A. Rice describes Marie Therese's activities as commissioner, collector and performer of music, and explores the rich and diverse musical culture that she fostered at court. This book, which will be of interest to musicologists, historians of artistic patronage and taste, and practitioners of women's studies, elucidates this remarkable woman's relations with a host of professional musicians, including Haydn, and argues that she played a significant and hitherto unsuspected role in the inception of one of the era's greatest masterpieces, Beethoven's Fidelio. Other composers discussed include Domenico Cimarosa, Joseph Eybler, Michael Haydn, Johann Simon Mayr, Ferdinando Paer, Antonio Salieri, Joseph Weigl and Paul Wranitzky.
'... a pioneering study of this neglected musician and patron ... A warm and attractive portrait of the empress emerges from this study ... Rice's is a model study of an enchanting subject.' Musical Times 'Empress Marie Therese and Music at the Viennese Court is an admiring and in places quietly moving account of the efforts of Marie Therese to surround herself and her court with music even as the system she helped to sustain was collapsing around her.' The Times Literary Supplement 'John A. Rice's excellent new study of the Empress Marie Therese (1792-1807) makes an important contribution to the growing body of scholarship on Vienna's musical culture. Rice's chosen scheme explicates his material thoroughly and raises issues that bear further scholarly consideration, while creating a highly readable portrait of an appealing and intriguing patron. Both Marie Therese and the scholarly community have been well served by his efforts.' Eighteenth-Century Music '...devoted to filling in the extensive gaps in our knowledge of one of music's best-known periods ... full of ... fascinating details and of illuminating glances into some dark corners of Viennese musical life ... raises some interesting issues about our changing musical standards and awareness ...' Music and Letters