It was the beginning of a New Year and a grand adventure for Franz Joseph Haydn. On January 1st, 1791, he left Calais for London, where he was to conduct his latest symphonies for English audiences. He wrote to a friend in Vienna:
My arrival set off a big commotion throughout the city, and I made the rounds of all the newspapers for three days in a row. Everybody wants to know me. I’ve already had to dine out six times, and if I wanted, I could dine out every day, but first I have to think of my health and my work. Except for the nobility I receive no callers before two o’clock in the afternoon, and at four I dine at home with my host, Mr. Salomon. I have pleasant and comfortable, but pricey lodgings . My landlord is an Italian—and a cook to boot —and serves me four very decent meals, but everything is awfully expensive here.
I was invited to a splendid amateur concert, but I got there a bit late, and when I showed my ticket they wouldn’t let me in but led me to an antechamber where I had to wait until the piece being played was over. Then they opened the door of the concert hall and I was escorted on the arm of the entrepreneur up the center of the hall to the front of the orchestra to unanimous applause, and there I was stared at and hailed with many English compliments. I was assured that such honors had not been conferred upon anyone for fifty years.
After the concert I was led to a handsome room, where I was supposed to be seated at the head of a table for two hundred amateurs. But since I had dined out that day and had eaten more than I was used to, I turned down the honor with the excuse that I was feeling a bit under the weather . All the same, I had to drink the harmonious health—in Burgundy —of all the gentlemen there. They all returned the toast and then I was permitted to be taken home.
Haydn: 即Franz Joseph Haydn，弗朗兹•约瑟夫•海顿（1732—1809），奥地利著名作曲家，维也纳古典乐派代表人物之一，一生创作丰富，有交响曲、弦乐四重奏和歌剧等。