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Diplomats as Musical Agents in the Age of Haydn

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Vienna’s embassies were major centers of musical activity throughout the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Resident diplomats, in addition to being patrons and performers, often acted as musical agents, facilitating musical interactions within and between courts, among individuals and firms, and in their private salons. Through these varied activities, they played a vital role in shaping a transnational European musical culture.

This essay identifies fifteen resident diplomats who made significant contributions to Vienna’s musical scene during Haydn’s lifetime. Exploring their correspondence and other contemporary sources, it highlights the ways in which diplomatic musical exchanges, interventions, and collaborations helped to shape the era’s musical culture. An examination of Charles Burney’s visit to Vienna in 1772 from the perspective of “insider” and “small-world” networks further elucidates the central role diplomats played in the city’s salon life.