Esterházy, Pál [Paul]
- Ferenc Bónis
(b Eisenstadt [Hung. Kismarton], Sept 7, 1635; d Eisenstadt, March 26, 1713). Hungarian composer, poet and patron of the arts. He was the son of Nikolaus (Miklós) Esterházy, palatine of Hungary. He was a pupil at the Jesuit school in Nagyszombat, where he appeared in school dramas, and later he had a brilliant career as a statesman and soldier. In 1652 he was appointed governor of the county of Sopron and royal councillor, and in 1661 he became Lord Steward at the court of Leopold I in Vienna. He was created Hungary’s palatine (1681) and prince of the Holy Roman Empire (1687).
In his collection of poems dating from 1656, Palas s Ester kedves táncza (‘Much-loved dance of Palas and Ester’ – a reference to his own name), Esterházy described instruments then in use in Hungary. In 1674 he engaged a church choir and an orchestra in Eisenstadt, which were to form the basis of musical life at the Esterházy residence. Esterházy was a virginalist and his repertory has survived; it includes some 80 sacred and secular songs and both international and east European (Polish, Slovak, Hungarian and Walachian) dances....