250th Anniversary of Franz Joseph Maximilian, 7th Prince Lobkowicz

Kathryn L. Libin

Franz Joseph Maximilian, 7th Prince Lobkowicz, was born on 7 December 1772 and baptized the following day in St Michael's church in Vienna, in the presence of his godparents Empress Maria Theresia and her youngest son, Archduke Maximilian. Archduke Maximilian's sponsorship was especially propitious, as both would become great patrons of music, Maximilian in Bonn, and Franz Joseph Maximilian in Vienna and Bohemia. When the young prince was twelve, his tutor wrote of him that he possessed "a decided taste for music," and "loves passionately everything to do with the military." As a youth, Lobkowicz studied violin, cello, and voice. As an adult, Lobkowicz would devote himself tirelessly to both music and soldiering. Despite an early disability that left him partially lame, he regularly sang and acted in house productions, and was an avid horseman and hunter. The other main object of his devotion was his wife, Caroline von Schwarzenberg, and their family together; over the course of a nearly twenty-four year marriage, they had twelve children, ten of whom survived to adulthood. On 7 December 1809, when her husband had been away for months with his battalion during the War of the 5th Coalition, Caroline wrote to him, "I very much regret that I must pass this day without you, dear and tender love, this day so happy for me and for all who depend upon you; today we heard Mass in the house with all the children, and our prayers, which we addressed to Providence for you, were very fervent."

As an enthusiastic promoter of music and musicians, Lobkowicz sponsored innumerable concert and opera performances in his Vienna palace and his Bohemian castles, especially Raudnitz (Roudnice) and Eisenberg (Jezeří). By 1802 all three residences were furnished with theatres. The following chronology, which focuses mainly on musical activities of the 7th Prince's career, begins in 1792 with his marriage to Caroline, which as he wrote to her that year, was the true beginning of his life.

1792    FJML marries Caroline von Schwarzenberg on 2 August; his violin teacher, Anton Wranitzky, composes the Aphrodite Symphony in celebration.

1793    FJML and Wranitzky begin to hire freelance musicians for evening concerts.

1795    On a 2 March house concert at the Lobkowicz palace in Vienna, Beethoven performs on the piano.

1796    FJML attains his majority by imperial fiat, and Wranitzky writes another festive symphony.

1797    Kapellmeister Wranitzky forms a resident ensemble for the Lobkowicz household: Anton Kraft (cello), Nicolas Kraft (cello), Anton Schreiber (violin, viola), Anton Siegl (violin), Valentin Kolbe (viola, oboe), Antonio Cartellieri (violin, singing teacher, second Kapellmeister).

1798    Wenzel Sukowaty begins to copy music in large quantities for the household. Mozart opera scenes are performed at Raudnitz. FJML commissions new string quartets from Haydn and Beethoven.

1799    FJML refurbishes a grand room in his Vienna palace as a concert hall, and hosts his first full concert series over six weeks during Lent. Haydn's new oratorio, Die Schöpfung/The Creation, receives its first performances in Bohemia at Raudnitz. In October Beethoven sends three new quartets (op. 18) to Eisenberg.

1800    Beethoven sends all six op. 18 quartets to FJML. A piano teacher is hired for the young Lobkowicz children.

1801    Haydn directs premiere of his oratorio in Italian, as La creazione del mondo, in the Vienna palace on 4 April. New pairs of timpani are ordered for Raudnitz and Eisenberg.

1802    Lorenzo Sacchetti designs a new portable theatre for the Vienna palace; it opens in April with Ferdinando Paër's La testa riscaldata.

1803    Two Italian singers, Lodovico and Giuseppe Verri, join the household staff. Paër's I fuorusciti di Firenze and Georg Vogler's Castore e Polluce are produced in the house theatre. The young princes, Ferdinand and Jean, begin to take fencing and dancing lessons.

1804    Beethoven's 3rd Symphony receives its first rehearsals in the concert room of the Vienna palace in early June. Operas staged in Vienna and Bohemia include Paisiello's Il re Teodoro in Venezia and Il barbiere di Siviglia, Salieri's L'Angiolina and Axur, re d'Ormus, and Mozart's Don Giovanni. Mozart's first Don Giovanni, Luigi Bassi, joins the household.

1805    Eight operas are performed in Lobkowicz theatres, including a new production of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro starring Bassi as Figaro, and Méhul's Le trésor supposé.

1806    Thirteen operas are performed in Lobkowicz theatres, including the Vienna premiere of Paër's Leonora, ossia l'amor conjugale. The Lobkowicz troupe also performs Paër's opera Griselda at the public theatre in Baden, and his Sargino at Raudnitz.

1807    FJML becomes one of the directors of Vienna's court theatres. In March two concerts of Beethoven's music are presented in the Vienna palace, including four symphonies and premieres of the Coriolan overture and a new piano concerto.

1808    FJML forms a Bohemian militia battalion, with its own wind band. Lobkowicz musicians take part in new Vienna concert series, the Adelige Liebhaber-Concerte. In March Paër's opera Camilla is performed in the house theatre, with Bassi, Wranitzky's daughter Caroline, and FJML all singing roles.

1809    FJML joins with Archduke Rudolph and Prince Ferdinand Kinsky to establish an annual stipend and pension for Beethoven. Beethoven dedicates his new quartet, op. 74, to the prince. FJML is inducted into the Order of the Golden Fleece, and joins his battalion in Bohemia.

1811    Archduke Rudolph appears as pianist on several concerts chez Lobkowicz, playing music by Beethoven, including premieres of 5th piano concerto and op. 97 Trio. A two-week wedding celebration for the eldest Lobkowicz daughter, filled with musical performances, takes place in September at Raudnitz. FJML becomes a founding director of the Prague Conservatory.

1812    FJML hosts founding of new concert organization that will become Vienna's Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde. Threatened with bankruptcy, FJML reduces concerts and opera.

1813    Lobkowicz affairs placed under "friendly administration." FJML and family leave Vienna for Prague.

1815    FJML hosts Lenten concert series in his Prague castle with local artists including Carl Maria von Weber, household staff, friends, and family.

1816    Caroline dies in Prague on 24 January. Beethoven dedicates An die ferne Geliebte to FJML, who dies on 15 December in Wittingau (Třeboň). A requiem for him is performed at the Loreto church in Prague on 23 December.