A redoute was a public assembly at which the guests appeared with or without masks at pleasure.
The word is French and is explained by Voltaire and Littre as being derived from Italian ridotto – perhaps with some analogy to the word ‘resort.’
They soon made their way to Germany and England.
They are frequently mentioned by Horace Walpole under the name ‘Ridotto,’ and were one of the attractions at Vauxhall and Ranelagh in the middle of the 18th century.
In Germany and France the French version of the name was adopted.
The building used for the purpose in Vienna, erected in 1748, and rebuilt in stone in 1754, forms part of the Burg or Imperial Palace, the side of the oblong facing the Josephs-Platz.
There was a grosse and a kleine Redoutensaal.
In the latter Beethoven played a concerto of his own at a concert of Haydn’s, December 18, 1795. The rooms were used for concerts till about 1870.
The masked balls were held there during the Carnival, from Twelfth Night to Shrove Tuesday, and occasionally in the weeks proceeding Advent; some being public, i.e., open to all on payment of an entrance fee, and others private.
Special nights were reserved for the court and the nobility.
The ‘Redoutentanze’ – Minuets, Allemandes, Contredanses, Schottisches, Anglaises, and Lundler – were composed for full orchestra, and published (mostly by Artaria) for pianoforte. Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Hummel, Woelfl, Gyrowetz, and others, have left dances written for this purpose.