AUSTRIA: The Kaiserhymn

Regarding the German national anthem, Ed Jajko said: The melody of the Deutschland-Lied was composed by Joseph Haydn (1732-1809), the famous composer of many symphonies, operas and oratories. The melody is that of the old Austrian Kaiserhymn (Imperial Anthem) which was played for the first time on February 12, 1797.  Gene Franklin comments: For those who want to listen, I believe it is the second movement of string quartet 77, opus 76 NO. 3, the "Emperor" quartet. The movement is marked 'poco adagio'

RH: This is a note by the Sierra Chamber Society: The C Major Quartet is nicknamed the "Emperor". The second movement of the quartet consists of 4 variations on Haydn’s hymn "Gott erhalte Franz der Kaiser"(God protect the Emperor Franz). As mentioned above, the quartet was composed upon Haydn’s return from London. Haydn was deeply impressed by the effect upon the British people when the anthem "God Save the King" (now Queen) was played. (By the way, in this country this tune is known as "America" – you know, "my country ‘tis of thee…" In fact, at various times it also served as the national anthem of Germany, the U.S.A., Sweden, Russia, Switzerland and Liechtenstein! A good tune’s a good tune.)
Haydn wished to provide Austria with an equally moving anthem; this was the time of the Napoleonic Wars. He succeeded grandly. The anthem was presented on Feb. 12, 1797, the Emperor’s birthday, when it was sung in all the theaters in Vienna and the provinces.

Ronald Hilton 2004


last updated: February 2, 2005