All this week, Donald Macleod explores Haydn's time at the Hungarian palace of Eszterháza, the composer's primary base of operations for nearly a quarter of a century and the place where, he said, he 'was forced to become original'.
Today, Haydn's employer Prince Nicolaus Eszterházy has the builders in, to expand his 'modest' 41-room hunting lodge in the back of beyond into a palace to rival Versailles. His scheme included a 400-seater opera house, whose productions Haydn was responsible for. He was also expected to provide music for Prince Nicolaus's favourite instrument, the baryton - a curious hybrid part viola da gamba, part bandora. Despite these demands he still found time to compose in other genres, including the piano sonata and the symphony.