Baron van Swieten (1733 - 1803): Beethoven's First Symphony

Baron Gottfried van Swieten was a good friend of Mozart and great patron of the arts who Beethoven dedicated his First Symphony to.

A good friend of Mozart - he tried, without success, to organise a funeral worthy of Mozart's genius - Baron Gottfried van Swieten was one of the young Beethoven's first and most enthusiastic patrons in Vienna.

He was a great patron of the arts and supplied the text for Haydn's late oratorios The Creation and The Seasons.

Undoubtedly the fact that van Swieten and Beethoven were both of Flemish origin - they shared the prefix van - increased the empathy between them.

Van Swieten's father had been physician to Empress Maria Theresa and he moved in high circles.

He was able to gain access for Beethoven to the salons of the aristocracy. Beethoven, in gratitude, dedicated the First Symphony to him, after the intended dedicatee, the Elector Max Franz, died.