The Symphony No. 48 in C major, Hoboken I/48, is a symphony by Joseph Haydn written in 1768 or 1769. The work has the nickname “Maria Theresia” as it was long thought to have been composed for a visit by the Holy Roman Empress, Maria Theresa of Austria in 1773. An earlier copy dated 1769 was later found, but the nickname has stuck. The symphony composed for the empress’s visit was most likely No. 50.

H. C. Robbins Landon has described this symphony as a “great and indeed germinal work.” It was one of the very few Haydn symphonies of this period to survive throughout the nineteenth century in various editions. —From Wikipedia

Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina (1717– 780) was the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominions and the last of the House of Habsburg. She started her 40-year reign when her father, Emperor Charles VI, died in October 1740. Frederick II of Prussia (who became Maria Theresa’s greatest rival for most of her reign) promptly invaded and took the affluent Habsburg province of Silesia in the seven-year conflict known as the War of the Austrian Succession. In defiance of the grave situation, she managed to secure the vital support of the Hungarians for the war effort. Over the course of the war, despite the loss of Silesia and a few minor territories in Italy, Maria Theresa successfully defended her rule over most of the Habsburg empire. Maria Theresa later unsuccessfully tried to reconquer Silesia during the Seven Years’ War.

Maria Theresa and her husband, Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor, had eleven daughters, including the Queen of France, the Queen of Naples and Sicily, the Duchess of Parma, and five sons, including two Holy Roman Emperors, Joseph II and Leopold II.  Maria Theresa promulgated institutional, financial and educational reforms. She also promoted commerce and the development of agriculture, and reorganised Austria’s ramshackle military, all of which strengthened Austria’s international standing. However, she despised the Jews and the Protestants, and on certain occasions she ordered their expulsion to remote parts of the realm. She also advocated for the state church and refused to allow religious pluralism. Consequently, her regime was criticized as intolerant by some contemporaries. —From Wikipedia

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The featured image is a portrait of Empress Maria Theresia of Austria, painted by Martin van Meytens 1759 and is in the public domain, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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