Today in History - December 8th. 1756 - Archduke Maximilian Francis of Austria, a patron of music

Archduke Maximilian Francis of Austria was born on December 8th. 1756
at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna.

Archduke Maximilian Francis of Austria - Source: Wikipedia


His parents were Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor and Maria Theresa of Austria.
Archduke Maximilian Francis was the brother of Queen Marie Antoinette of France
and Queen Maria Carolina of the Two Sicilies. Two of his brothers and one of his
nephews were Holy Roman Emperors: Joseph II, Leopold II and Francis II.

In 1784 he became Archbishop and Elector Spiritual of Cologne, he lived in the
Electoral residence in Bonn.

As a keen patron of music Maximilian Francis maintained court musicals. 
The court organist, Christian Gottlob Neefe was Beethoven's early mentor 
and teacher. He recognized the remarkable gift of his young pupil, both as
performer and as composer.

Neefe brought Beethoven to the court and advised Maximilian Francis
to appoint him as assistant organist. Maximilian Francis recognized the
extraordinary abilities of the young Beethoven.

In 1787 he ordered Beethoven to visit Vienna to become a pupil
of Mozart. Unfortunately this visit was short because of the news of the illness 
of Beethoven's mother.

Maximilian sent Beethoven again, on full salary, to Vienna to learn under
Joseph Haydn, Antonio Salieri and others. 

In 1794 Maximilian's domains were overrun by the troops of Revolutionary
France. He left Bonn and he never returned.  His territories on the left bank
of the Rhine were passed to France under the terms of the Treaty of Lunéville.

The Archbishop-Elector became grotesquely corpulent and he was plagued
by ill-health. After the loss of his capital he took up residence in Vienna.
On July 26th. 1801 Maximilian Francis died at the Hetzendorf Palace.
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