Rumor has it that the Countess Maria Wilhelmine von Thun (1744-1800), a skilled harpsichordist, studied with Haydn. When Mozart moved to Vienna in 1781, he frequently played at her home and the two became fast friends, often having lunch together. The Countess not only organized the legendary piano duel between Clementi and Mozart before Emperor Joseph II, she even lent Mozart her Stein fortepiano for the event. The play-off ended in a tie.
After hearing Mozart play excerpts of Idomeneo in the Countess’ home, Count Orsini, manager of the Imperial Theatre, commissioned him to write The Abduction from the Seraglio. The opera became Mozart’s first great success in Vienna.
Soon Beethoven, who did study with Haydn, and was also influenced by Mozart, became a regular at the Von Thun salon. Mozart said of him: “Mark that young man; he will make himself a name in the world.” The countess’ artistic support of Beethoven was so steadfast that he dedicated his Clarinet Trio, which you will hear today, to her.