Esterhazy, Nicholas von


This patron of musical art and scion of a noble family was the grandson of Nicholas Joseph von Esterhazy, who before him was a patron of letters and arts, as well as a diplomat and a general, and who founded at Eisenstadt the private orchestra of which Haydn and Pleyel were members, the former later being its conductor for thirty years. Nicholas von Esterhazy spent much of his youth traveling through Europe, especially in Italy, France and England, cultivating his taste for art. With practically unlimited wealth, his fame rests on his wise and beneficient use of it. He maintained a private chapel at his residence, Eisenstadt. Here Haydn was buried with ceremony and a marble monument was erected in the composer's honor in 1820. Esterhazy's musical library at Eisenstadt is said to be, possibly, the richest in existence, containing complete collections of the works of Haydn, Mozart, and others, and many compositions in manuscript. Authorities differ as to the date of his death, some giving it as 1833, others naming that year as the date of his retirement from public and diplomatic activities, and 1849 as the year in which he died.