Als Luise… on a 27 January 2016 in the Tanzmeistersaal

“the 26th.
A Song – Als Luise die Briefe ihres ungetreuen Liebhabers verbrannte”
It is Mozart’s entry in his hand-written Catalogue of Works, on a 26th of May 1787. 

On the score, in his handwriting: “The 26th of May 1787 Landstrasse”, on the top left-hand corner of the first page – in the top right-hand corner he signed with “W.A. Mozart / in Herr Gottfried von Jacquin’s room”. 

Happiness is… to hear your own mezzo voice singing ‘Als Luise’ in the Tanzmeistersaal, on a 27 January 2016… <3 

Salzburg 131 - Happiness is... to hear your own mezzo voice singing 'Als Luise' in the Tanzmeistersaal, Mozart Wohnhaus, on a 27 January

Erzeugt von heisser Phantasie…  

Salzburg 132 - Happiness is... to hear your own mezzo voice singing 'Als Luise' in the Tanzmeistersaal, Mozart Wohnhaus, on a 27 January

Erzeugt von heißer Phantasie,
In einer schwärmerischen Stunde
Zur Welt gebrachte! Geht zu Grunde!
Ihr Kinder der Melancholie!

Ihr danket Flammen euer Sein,
Ich geb’ euch nun den Flammen wieder,
Und all’ die schwärmerischen Lieder;
Denn ach! – er sang nicht mir allein.

Ihr brennet nun, und bald, ihr Lieben,
Ist keine Spur von euch mehr hier:
Doch ach! der Mann, der euch geschrieben,
Brennt lange noch vielleicht in mir.

(Gabriele von Baumberg)

Conceived of fervent fantasy,
Brought into the world
in an hour of rapture! Perish!
You, children of melancholy!

You owe to passion’s flames your being:
To the flames I now return you
with all the songs of ecstasy,
for alas! not to me alone he sang them.

You burn now, and soon, my loves,
no trace of you will remain:
but alas! the man who wrote you
may long still burn within me. 

“Mozart allowed himself to be inspired by poems he came across by chance or to which friends drew his attention or which seemed appropriate for a particular occasion. Thje text of the song ‘Als Luise die Briefe ihres ungetreuen Liebhabers verbrannte’ beginning with the words ‘Erzeugt von heisser Phantasie’ is by Gabriele von Baumberg (1766-1839). who was regarded as the ‘Sappho of Vienna’ and as the most importaant Austrian poetess of her time. She frequented the circle surrounding the author Karoline Pichler (1769-1843) who also knew Jacquin and Mozart. Pichler refers to Baumberg’s poems as a ‘beautiful legacy left to her fatherland and one would only wish that they were better known and more vivid in the memory of today’s world, as they deserve.’ Gabriele von Baumberg’s poetry, which was published in Blumauer-Ratschky’s ‘Almanac of the Muses’ as early as 1786, has, in Mozart’s setting, achieved immortality.”

Johanna Senigl, Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum Salzburg (translated by Elizabeth Mortimer) – W.A. MOZART ‘Als Luise’, Faksimile mit Edition

The facsimile of ‘Als Luise’, © Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum Salzburg

March 1784, Vienna. An evening at The Trattnerhof.

Monday, 15 March 1784, Vienna: Mozart performs for Count Esterházy and composes the Piano Concerto in B-flat K. 450

Mozart - Piano Concerto 15 - det

The entry in Mozart’s hand-written catalogue of works reads:

“the 15th of March

A Piano concerto. Accompaniment: 2 violins, 2 violas, 1 flute, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, 2 horns and bass.” 

The Spring of 1784 was busy and exceptionally fulfilling for Mozart in Vienna. In his letters from March and April 1784, Mozart asks for his father’s understanding for not having the time to write to him because of the numerous engagements: 22 between the end of February and the beginning of April. Among them, three concerts in a subscription series at the Trattnerhof, two at the Burgtheater and others in the salons of Count Johann Esterhazy and Prince Galitsin. Mozart tells his father how wonderfully his performances were received: he won extraordinary applause, the hall was “crammed full”, and he was praised repeatedly for the first concert on 17 March. He proudly presents his father the list of subscribers to the Trattnerhof concerts: 174 names from the highest levels of society, all of whom attended his successful performances. Among them, Prince Kaunitz, Prince Galitsin, Therese von Trattner, Baroness Martha Elisabeth von Waldstatten, Count and Countess Thun, Princess Lichnowsky, Prince Lobkowitz, Prince Liechtenstein, Count Zichy, Count Esterházy, Count Nostitz, Baron van Swieten, Councillor Greiner, Countess Waldstein, Count Zinzendorf, Baron Wetzlar, Princess Auersperg, Count Banffi, Ignatz von Born, Count Czernin, Prince Schwartzenberg, Countess Hatzfeld, and many others, all people of importance and position in the Viennese society.  

Ein kolorierter Kupferstich von Carl Schütz, zeigt Am Graben 1781

Dr Michael Lorenz

 “On 20 March 1784 Mozart sent his father the famous list of subscribers who paid an entrance of six gulden for three concerts at the Trattnerhof. In his commentary to this letter Joseph Heinz Eibl gives a number of 176 subscribers, but actually the list contains 174 people, yielding Mozart a gross profit of at least 1,044 gulden. The concerts, at which Mozart played the concertos K.449, 450 and 451 took place on 17th, 24th and 31 March 1784. Nothing is known about the other pieces that were certainly part of the three programs.

Right below the list of subscribers Mozart writes:

Here you have the list of all my subscribers; I have 30 subscribers more than Richter and Fischer combined. The first concert on the 17th went well; the hall was crammed full and the new concerto that I played was very well received; wherever you go people are praising this concert.’

In a letter to his father on 10 April 1784 Mozart again addresses his three concerts at the Trattnerhof:

‘I beg you, don’t be angry that I have not written for such a long time; you know how much I had to do in the meantime! My three subscription concerts brought me great honor. – My concert at the theater also went very well. […] To tell the truth, I recently grew tired of all the playing, and it gives me no small credit that my audience never grew tired of it.’

Michael Lorenz – Mozart in the Trattnerhof 

The "Graben" in Vienna, 1781. Mozart lived in the house Graben no.17 from Sept 1781 to July 1782 and later in the house called "Trattnerhof" in 1784.

The “Graben” in Vienna, 1781. Mozart lived in the house Graben no.17 from Sept 1781 to July 1782 and later in the house called “Trattnerhof” in 1784.

On Monday, 15 March 1784, Mozart gave the first performance of a piano concerto, either K.449 in E-flat Major, or K.450 in B-flat Major , at Count  Esterházy’s residence in Vienna. And on Wednesday, 17 March 1784, Mozart gave his first subscription concert in the Trattner Hall.  

Johann Thomas von Trattner was the leading music publisher and retailer in Vienna between 1770 and 1790. He became court bookseller in 1751 and court printer in 1754. His business flourished, so in 1773 he bought the Freisingerhof on the Graben and the houses around it, took them down and built the Trattnerhof there in 1777. Mozart lived in the Trattnerhof from 23 January to 29 September 1784, and gave piano lessons to Thérèse, Trattner’s second wife. He gave three concerts in Trattner’s concert hall. To Thérèse von Trattner he dedicated his Sonata in C minor, K. 457 composed in 1784 and the Fantasy in C minor, K. 475 written in 1785, both works published in 1785 as his Op. 11 by Artaria, the leading Viennese music publisher. 

Trattnerhof - 1781 engraving by Karl Schutz

The story of Mozart’s Trattnerhof is best told by Dr Michael Lorenz in his fascinating article: Mozart in the Trattnerhof.  Michael Lorenz has a great gift for bringing history to life! To read through his extraordinary work, so masterly researched and written, is to embark in a travel through time, with history coming alive at each step. So… visit his blog to read about Mozart’s Trattnerhof, how he lived there, how he performed there, to read the documented history of that special building, to see images of the place (most of them never before published), the plan of Mozart’s apartment, and also of Trattner’s apartment (where Mozart played in a private concert for Therese von Trattner in May 1784), the list of subscribers to his concerts as he sent it to father Leopold, the earliest existing photograph of the Trattnerhof, taken in 1875, the second entrance of the Trattnerhof at Graben 29A in 1910 (the door that Mozart had to pass to get to his apartment), and many other fascinating images and documents, History will come alive as you read, as you look at the images, so prepare for a wonderful Travel in Time!

And as you read, listen to the Music!

Mozart – ‘Andante’ from Piano Concerto in B-flat Major No 15, K.450 

Mozart - Andante from Piano Concerto no 15 - 1 - det 1

Mozart - Andante from Piano Concerto no 15 - 1 - det 2

Mozart - Andante from Piano Concerto no 15 - 2 - det 1

Mozart - Andante from Piano Concerto no 15 - 2 - det 2

Mozart - Andante from Piano Concerto no 15 - 3 - det 1

Mozart - Andante from Piano Concerto no 15 - 3 - det 2

Mozart - Andante from Piano Concerto no 15 - 4 - det 1

Mozart - Andante from Piano Concerto no 15 - 4 - det 2

Mozart – Piano Concerto in B-flat Major No 15, K.450 – III Allegro 

Mozart - Piano Concerto 15 - Allegro part 3

Mozart’s sound of  the Piano Concerto in B-flat Major No 15, K.450 

Mozart - Piano Concerto 15

Mozart - Andante from Piano Concerto no 15 - 1

Mozart - Andante from Piano Concerto no 15 - 2

Mozart - Andante from Piano Concerto no 15 - 3

Mozart - Andante from Piano Concerto no 15 - 4

Mozart – Piano Concerto in E-flat Major no 14, K.449 – Andantino 

Mozart – Piano Concerto in E-flat Major no 14, K.449 

The E-flat major no 14 is the first composition Mozart entered into his hand-written catalogue of works, which he started in Vienna in 1784 and kept for seven years, until his death, marking down main themes, dates of completion, and other important information. The entry about the D-flat Major Piano Concerto is that he finished it on 9 February 1784. 

Mozart's Thematic Catalogue - det

Mozart's Thematic Catalogue

Mozart – ‘Andante’ from Piano Concerto in D Major no 16, K.451  

Graben with the Trattnerhof through time: 

Ein kolorierter Kupferstich von Carl Schütz, zeigt Am Graben 1781

The Graben with Trattnerhof on the right

Vienna, Graben - Carl Schütz as art print or hand painted oil

The Graben towards the northwest, c. 1900


Trattnerhof 2

Trattnernhof 1


Images of the scores copyright of Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum

Images of Mozart’s Thematic Catalogue copyright of The British Library 

Photos © where specified,

credits specified there where available,

other images from the internet, assumed to be in the public domain.

DISCLAIMER – I don’t claim credit or ownership on the images taken from the internet, assumed to be in the public domain, used here. The owners retain their copyrights to their works. I am sharing the images exclusively for educational and artistic purposes – this blog is not monetized, and has no commercial profit whatsoever. Whenever I find the credits to internet images I am happy to add them. If you are the artist or the owner of original photos/images presented on this blog and you wish your works to be removed from here, or edited to include the proper credits, please send me a message and they will either be removed or edited. Thank you! 

9 March 1785: the Majestic C Major Piano Concerto

“the 9th of March

A Piano concerto. Accompaniment: 2 violins, 2 violas, 1 flute, 2 oboes. 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 clarinets, timpani and bass.”

It is the entry in Mozart’s hand-written catalogue of works, anouncing the splendid Piano Concerto in C Major, no 21, K.467! 

Mozart - Piano Concerto 21 - page 1, det. 1

Mozart - Piano Concerto 21 - page 1, det. 3

Mozart - Piano Concerto 21 - page 1, det. 2

On the 10th of March 1785, less than one month after the premiere of the stormy, moving, dramatic D minor, Mozart was presenting another piano concerto to the Viennese audience: calm, brilliant, full of light and joy, majestic in its great beauty! 

Mozart - Piano Concerto in C Major, No 21, K.467

As with the Piano Concerto in D minor, the C Major Piano Concerto was composed for the series of Lenten subscription concerts that Mozart was giving in 1785. Leopold Mozart, who had come to visit his son just in time to witness the premiere of Mozart’s sublime D minor Piano Concerto, would write to Nannerl: “We never get to bed before one o’clock and I never get up before nine. We lunch at two or half past. The weather is terrible. Every day there are concerts; and the whole time is given up to teaching music, composing and so forth. I feel rather out of it. If only all the concerts were over! It is impossible for me to describe the rush and bustle. Since my arrival your brother’s fortepiano has been taken at least a dozen times to the theater or to some other house…” Father and son went out together, to eat of attend musical or social events, or received friends in Mozart’s apartment, where they would spend hours making music; in the same time the composer went on with the lessons with his pupils, took part in various public and private concerts and, above all, composed!

Mozart entered the C Major Piano Concerto in his catalogue on 9 March 1785 (although on the autograph score he writes “in February 1785” – “Concerto di Wolfgango Amadeo Mozart, nel Febraio 1785”), and premiered it on 10 March 1785 at the Burgtheater – The National Court Theater, in a concert for his own benefit.  

Carl Schuetz, 1783 - Wien - Michaeltrakt mit Hoftheater

A handbill for the concert announced that it would include “a new, just finished Fortepiano Concerto”, in addition to Mozart playing improvisations employing “an especially large Fortepiano pedal”.  

Altes Burgtheater 1

On Thursday, March 10, 1785, Kapellmeister Mozart will have the honor of giving in the Imperial and Royal Court Theater a Grand Musical Concert for his own benefit including not only a new, just finished fortepiano concerto to be played by him, but also an especially large fortepiano pedale in improvising will be used. The remaining pieces will be announced by a large poster on the day of the concert.” 

Altes Burgtheater 3

A letter from Johann Samuel Liedemann, a merchant in Vienna, from 18 February 1785, states that “…the Fortepiano maker Walther had augmented his Fortepiano with a Pedal. Mozart played the instrument and it produced a wonderful effect” (he is referring to the premiere of the D minor Piano Concerto of 11 February 1785). Leopold’s letter to Nannerl and the announcement for the Burgtheater concert of March 10 indicate Mozart also played the C Major Piano Concerto  on a piano which had a special pedal attachment: “He has had a large fortepiano pedal made, which stands under the instrument and is about two feet longer and extremely heavy”. The success of the concert and the receipts of 559 florins were reported by Leopold with satisfaction and pride to his daughter, in the letter of 12 March 1785.   

“This concerto followed the last at four weeks interval. Between the two there is absolute contrast. On one hand, passion, conflict, storm of the spirit; on the other, calm and majesty. We have already noted how, more than once, Mozart produces, one after the other, two first-rate works of highly contrasted inspiration: the autumn before, with the concerto in B flat, K.456, and the sonata in C minor; in 1786, with the concertos in A and C minor; and again in 1787 and 1788 with the quintets and symphonies in G minor and C. We said that it was but one manifestation of his very mobile nature, ready to leap without transition from one aspect of reality to another, from one mood to its opposite. Sometimes the sorrowful work precedes the joyful one; sometimes the contrary. In February and March, 1785, the order is optimistic: the song of peace comes after the tempest; the luminous C major exorcises the sombre and daimonisch D minor. Nevertheless, the concerto in C is not a blithe work; it is powerful and motionless rather than joyful, and in its immobility we recognize, albeit frozen, the billows of the D minor. (Cuthbert Girdlestone) 

Mozart - Piano Concerto 21 - Allegro page 1

Mozart - Piano Concerto 21 - Allegro page 2

The C Major’s first movement, the ‘Allegro’, is (not in the autograph but in all editions), “Maestoso” in its design and essence! The second movement, ‘Andante’, breathtakingly beautiful! The last movement, ‘Allegro vivace assai’, light, airy, wonderful! On the 10th of March, 1785, at the Burgtheater, could this have been the sound that the musicians and audience delighted in? 

“The first movement is headed maestoso, a mark which should be observed and not replaced in practice by brillante, as is done by some musicians who consider they know what Mozart wanted better than Mozart himself. But the first subject, as we hear it in the first eleven bars, belies this indication. It is a march like so many first subjects in concertos of the period, but a tiptoed march, in stocking feet, and even when woodwind, brass and drums interrupt the stringgs, it does not rise above piano. It is almost a comedy motif and we should not be surprised to see Leporello emerge from it. But this impression is soon rectified. Conforming to the plan of the quiet beginning followed by a forte, Mozart repeats the theme with all the resources of his orchestra, modulates at once with unusual freedom and, passing quickly through A minor and C minor, settles a while in G major on a tonic pedal. (…) After giving out these two themes, it would seem that the tutti had but to conclude and admit the solo. But this concerto does not act like its predecessors. Instead of a closing figure, the march begins again, first in imitations in the strings, piano, then, when all the orchestra has joined in, forte, and the music launches forth into a working-out whose progress, led with a steady step and insistent in its regularity, reminds us of the straining and pitiless vigour of the D minor. There is no modulating; everything comes down, in the last resort, to rises and falls of one octave, repeated several times, without haste, now with the whole orchestra, now antiphonally, with strings and woodwind. Such calm perseverance is irresistible; its strength is in its mass, not in its fire or speed (on condition, once again, that the movement is taken at a moderate speed and even heavily, maestoso, and not brillante. Played swiftly and lightly, this passage becomes a kind of breathless race that keeps on coming back to its starting-point, which is nonsense); the music looks neither right nor left; its progress is due to singleness of will. No passage demonstrates better than this both the kinship and the ontrast which unite and separate the twin concertos; in one, vehemence and wrath; in the other, self-assurance; in both, a will firm and inexorable.”  (Cuthbert Girdlestone) 

“In neither of Mozart’s earlier works do we find the contrapuntal potential of the opening so fully realized on the larger structural level as it is in K.567, where various polyphonic settings of the opening theme produce some of the main structural blocks of the ritornello. (…) Charles Rosen has described K.467 as “Mozart’s first true essay in orchestral grandeur” and has commented on the block-like nature of its construction…”  

And the ‘Andante’ that follows… Mozart’s fragile, beautiful soul, transfigured into Music! 

Mozart - Piano Concerto 21 - Andante page 1

Mozart - Piano Concerto 21 - Andante page 2

“The world of the andante is that of the “dream” andantes, a family which comprises some of Mozart’s most beautiful slow movements in earlier years and in the long successions of which it is the last; but its form is unique. It is a piano cantilena preceded by a tutti prelude and sumptuously sustained and adorned by the murmur of the strings and the multi-coloured raiment of the wind. The tune winds from key to key, smooth and closely blended; it passes through various moods, some dreamy, some full of anguish, some serene, but the themes hardly stand out; it is a river, moving slowly but unceasingly, and only from time to time does an eddy in the current announce a freshy subject. Yet it is not a fantasia. There is directions and progress in its emotion and its form. The stream advances, turns back, passes on again, and though its structure be free, it is never loose. (…) And all the time it never stops singing; one feels that its chief contribution here is its tone colour, the pale, delicate colour of the 1780 piano, whose beauty Mozart never set forth more felicitously than in this nocturne. We say, nocturne, and in truth the rapprochement with Chopin can hardly be avoided. he hazy atmosphere of the mutes, the quivering calm of the ceaseless triplets, the slow, sustained song of the piano—more than all this, the veiled and sorrowfully passionate soul which this music expresses with such immediacy, do we not find them in the work of Chopin and especially in those nocturnes of which the “dream” of Mozart’s reminds us? This Andante, so placid at first hearing, betrays on further acquaintance an agitated mood. Its perpetual instability, to which its constant modulating and its unsatisfied quest for new places bears witness; its morbid disquiet, thinly concealed now and again under an appearance of calm, breaking forth with heart-rending pathos in the chromaticisms and the discreet yet pungent hues of ex.270 are unquestionably fundamental elements of Mozart’s nature, but they are elements which he shares with Chopin.” (Cuthbert Girdlestone) 

To our ears, to our heart, the ‘Andante’ of Mozart’s C Major Piano Concerto no 21 is perfect beauty as it is: a ‘simple’ melody that moves us to tears whenever we listen to it. We don’t even want to imagine it changed in any way – and the only way in which we would probably accept it changed would be to listen to Mozart himself playing it. Philipp Karl, an amateur-musician who had heard Mozart perform two of his piano concertos in Frankurt, in October 1790, later reported that when Mozart played the slow movements of his piano concertos he embellished them “tenderly and tastefully once one way, once differently, following the momentary inspiration of his genius”. In 1803 Phillip Karl published embellished versions of six Mozart piano concerto slow movements (K.467, K.482, K.488, K.491, K.503 and K.595), presumably inspired by his contact with Mozart, but not imitative of the composer’s own improvisations.” 

“The andante occupies a world apart, a sonic dream world evoked by the magical effect of muted and pizzicato strings. It offers moments of sublime beauty and ends in a state of bliss, but its surface serenity cannot conceal the turmoil that lies beneath. At every turn there is a poignant reminder that happiness is transient, its promise easily revoked. And the escape to a dream world is consummated only in the imagination.” (David Grayson)  

Anton Muller - Altes Burgtheater

Altes Burgtheater 2

How might that evening of 10 March 1785 have looked like? Here’s what David Grayson tells us in his book “Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 20 and 21”:

“Iconographic evidence suggests that in “halls” like the Mehlgrube the players would probably have occupied a low platform situated not at  the end of the room, but against one of the long walls. The seating plan for K.466 would probably have been similar to the one recommended in 1802 by the piano-maker and Mozart pupil Nannette Stein Streicher:

“In performing concertos, especially Mozart’s, one should move the fortepiano several feet nearer (the audience) than the orchestra is. Directly behind the piano leave just the violins. The bass-line and wind instruments should be further back, the latter more than the former.”

Adalbert Gyrowetz, one of whose symphonies was programmed in Mozart’s Mehlgrube series, noted in his presumed autobiography that Mozart had hired a “full theater orchestra” for these concerts.  This was most likely the orchestra of the Burgtheater, where, four days later, on 15 February 1785, Mozart again played the D-minor Piano Concerto, in a concert given by the singer Elisabeth Distler.

The Burgtheater, representing the third category of concert venue, was also the site of the premiere of the Piano Concerto in C, K.467, less than a month later, on 10 March 1785. Located on the Michaelerplatz, the Burgtheater was built in 1741 and renovated numerous times before its closing in 1888. Plans reflecting the state of the building during the 1780s show an oval-shaped house, with seating on the floor divided into two sections, ostensibly according to the social rank of the spectators: the Noble Parquet in front, and behind it the slightly elevated Second Parquet, with rows of benches and standing rooms at the rear. (Social segregation was not complete, however, as individuals connected to the theater, including composers and performers, could obtain passes granting admission to the Noble Parquet.) Four balconies surrounded the floor. The lower two held the boxes rented on an annual basis by the nobility, plus, in the first tier, one box overlooking the stage, reserved for the director, and three “Imperial loges” (one in the center and two on the right) overlooking the orchestra, which occupied the floor at the front of the stage. The upper two balconies were galleries with benches and standing room. When jam-packed, the Burgtheater may have accomodated as many as 1800 spectators, but most estimates of the audience capacity are much lower, ranging from around 1000 to 1350.

According to a Vienna theater almanac of 1782, the Burgtheater orchestra comprised 35 players: six first and six second violins, four violas, three cellos, three basses, pairs of flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, horns and trumpets, and one timpanist. Assuming that these figures are also reliable for 1785, that the full theater orchestra participated in Mozart’s concerts in both the Burgtheater and the Mehlgrube, and that the entire ensemble was used for the concerto accompaniments, we can conclude that the orchestra for the first performances of K.466 and 467 consisted of around 32 players (one of the flutes and the two clarinets not being needed). (…) 

Richard Maunder has speculated that, when Mozart performed his piano concertos in the theater, the orchestra may hav been in the pit, while he alone occupied the stage. Putting the soloist in this privileged position, Maunder reasoned, would have helped solve potential balance problems between the fortepiano and the orchestra, whose players would have been seated facing the stage, with their backs to the audience. Such a “theatrical staging” of the concerto moreover made manifest the genre’s affinity with the operatic aria. Daniel Heartz, however, has offered evidence that it was customary for Lenten concert and oratorio performances at the Burgtheater to follow the Italian practice and have all of the musicians on stage: the orchestra, soloists and chorus. He speculated, though, that the arrangement described by maunder might have been a practical necessity at other times of year, when theater rehearsals and stage sets might have made it difficult to rearrange the stage for an orchestra. Mary Sue Morrow has challenged this reasoning, arguing that rehearsals were often held elsewhere and that the theater’s repertory system would have required that the sets be struck after each performance anyway. Maunder’s theory seems unlikely from a purely logistical point of view, given th mixed nature of Mozart’s typical concert programs. For example, his concert of 23 march 1782 at the Burgtheater began and ended with movements of the “Haffner” Symphony, with arias, concertos, concertante movements, and solo piano works interspersed in between. It would have seeed odd for the orchestra to start the program on stage, then repair to the pit, only to re-ascend at the end of the concert for the “haffner” finale. Even odder would have been for the orchestra to remain in the pit throughout, leaving the audience to face an empty stage at the start and conclusion of the evening. For performances of Mozart’s concertos in the theater, then, we may imagine all of the performers on stage, arranged according to the seating plan recommended above by nannette Stein Stricher.” (David Grayson – Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 20 and 21 – “Performance practice issues”) 

A look at the Burgtheater through time – that Burgtheater where Mozart premiered his piano concertos and operas: 

Wien - Die k.k. Reitschule und das National-Hoftheater 1829

Michaelerplatz 1, Kuppel - Spanische Winterreitschule

August Gerasch - Vor dem alten Burgtheater

Rudolf Schima - Das Alte Burgtheater. Aquarell (1880)

Carl Wenzel Zajicek -Das alte Burgtheater, 1860

Das alte Burgtheater Aquarell auf Papier signiert und datiert 1912 - Carl Wenzel Zajicek

Altes Burgtheater, Michaelerplatz - The old Burgtheater (before 1888)

Das alte Burgtheater und die Hofreitschule am Michaelerplatz

In 1888 the “old” Burgtheater was demolished, and a new building with the same name was built on the Ringstrasse: the new Burgtheater. The theater where Mozart premiered his masterpieces had to make space for… space… Almost all the places where he had lived and composed were torn down without the smallest thought that those were not just buildings, they were places of history which should have been preserved with love and respect. Instead of them we now have super-stores, or… more space… 

At least his music has survived! 

Photos © where specified,

credits specified there where available,

other images from the internet, assumed to be in the public domain.

DISCLAIMER – I don’t claim credit or ownership on the images taken from the internet, assumed to be in the public domain, used here. The owners retain their copyrights to their works. I am sharing the images exclusively for educational and artistic purposes – this blog is not monetized, and has no commercial profit whatsoever. Whenever I find the credits to internet images I am happy to add them. If you are the artist or the owner of original photos/images presented on this blog and you wish your works to be removed from here, or edited to include the proper credits, please send me a message and they will either be removed or edited. Thank you! 

On a 4th of March 1791, in Jahn’s Hall

Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 27 in the Thematic Catalogue

Mozart’s Piano Concerto in B-flat Major No 27, K.595, was entered in his Thematic Catalogue on the 5th of January 1791. 

Mozart - Piano Concerto no 27 in the Thematic Catalogue - det

The premiere of the Concerto is supposed to have taken place on 4 March 1791, in a concert in Jahn’s Hall

The actual period of time when he composed the concerto is in controversy, as is the date when it was premiered. Alan Tyson and Simon Keefe place the composition of the B-flat Major Piano Concerto between 1788-1789. Wolfgang Rehm says it was composed late 1790 – early 1791. 

Piano Concerto 27, K.595 - 5th january 1791 - Copyright © The British Library Board - 1

Piano Concerto 27, K.595 - 5th january 1791 - Copyright © The British Library Board - 2

The autograph score of The B-flat Major Piano Concerto, No 27, along with more than 100 Mozart works, was evacuated to the East during the Second World War, and after the war it was considered lost. In the 1970’s the autograph score was discovered in Poland, and it is now held by the Jagiellonian Library in Cracovia.

Otto Erich Deutsch states the B-flat Major Piano Concerto may have been premiered by Mozart himself in an academy concert by clarinettist Joseph Bähr, which took place in Jahn’s Hall on the 4th of March, 1791. In his essay “Mozart’s Reception in Vienna 1787–1791“, Dexter Edge is of the opinion that the B-flat Major may have been premiered by Mozart’s pupil Barbara Ployer in January 1791, in a public concert at Palais Auersperg in Vienna. 

Josefstädter Glacis und Palais Auersperg, 1814 - wiki

Palais Auersperg Vienna

Palais Auersperg Vienna

Maybe the B-flat Major Piano Concerto was the one Mozart played in Jahn’s Hall on the 4th of March 1791, or maybe Mozart played another concerto. In either case, the evening of 4 March 1791 is said to have been Mozart’s last appearance in a public concert. 

In May 1775 Emperor Joseph II had opened Vienna’s Augarten to the public. He dedicated this beautiful place “to all people”, for their amusement, so dance halls, dining and billiard rooms, refreshment places were established, and restaurateur Ignaz Jahn was put in charge as traiteur. Ignaz Jahn had been appointed Imperial Caterer for Schonbrunn Palace in 1772. In 1775 he started running a restaurant in the Augarten (it was said that nowhere in the world you could drink any better coffee than at Jahn’s, in the Augarten), and later opened a Concert Hall adjacent to his other restaurant, in the main part of the city (now Himmelpfortgasse 6), a Concert Hall which would turn into a performance venue for famous musicians and composers in the years to come: among them, Wolfgang Amadé Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven. At Cafe Frauenhuber, Vienna

Mozart’s arrangement of Handel’s “Acis and Galatea” was performed at Jahn’s Hall in November 1788. His last appearance in public is said to have been the one of 4 March 1791. The first public performance of his “Requiem” would take place at Jahn’s Hall on 2 January 1793 – a benefit concert on behalf of his widow, Constanze, organized by Gottfried van Swieten in support of Mozart’s wife and sons. 

If we look for Jahns Traiteurie today, on Himmelpfortgasse, we will find Café Frauenhuber – Vienna’s oldest coffee house! 

Cafe Frauenhuber 1

Cafe Frauenhuber 2

Cafe Frauenhuber 3

Cafe Frauenhuber 4

Cafe Frauenhuber 5

The coffeehouse changed names for a few times since 1824, then settled for Café Frauenhuber in 1891. Is there any other coffeehouse in the world which can pride itself on having treated its guests to musical entertainment by Mozart and Beethoven? Could any name have been more suitable for this street than “Heaven’s Gate” (Himmelpfort)? 

And yes, the waiter did address me with “gnädige Frau“, like I had read on the Welcome page of Café Frauenhuber

Cafe Frauenhuber 6

Cafe Frauenhuber 7

Cafe Frauenhuber 8

I recall the quiet time spent at this coffeehouse, savoring a hot chocolate in its intimate, refined, charming atmosphere, then outside, on the street, letting my eyes explore all the details of the building and its surroundings… It was late in the evening, and few people were passing by, and there was so much peace, like time had stood still, and you felt you could just close your eyes and start walking in Mozart’s footsteps… on the same street… on a 4th of March 1791… 

Cafe Frauenhuber 9

Cafe Frauenhuber in Wien - Wiki

Cafe Frauenhuber in Wien 1

Camera 360

Images found on the internet, presumed in the public domain, except for Mozart’s Thematic Catalogue © The British Library, Cafe Frauenhuber Wiki, and personal archive ©mezzocristina

Vibrations: Mehlgrube

It was almost midnight when I reached Kärntnerstrasse, on the way back to Stephansdom. I had let myself wander for hours without target, without map, immersed in the sights and sounds of the majestic city, enjoying the wonderful sensation of being back in Vienna! Having delighted for three days in the magic of Salzburg’s Old City, with its quiet streets and peaceful life, I was now trying to find “my” Vienna, somewhere in the noise and crowds which assaulted the streets even at that late hour. I had been in the city since the early morning, on the streets of the Innere Stadt, had spent many hours on the Domgasse, inside the building and outside, on the Blutgasse and Schullerstrasse, and now I knew I had to return to the hotel, not because I wished to, not because I was tired, but because it was almost midnight, and there was a tomorrow waiting to be discovered. I don’t know why I had stopped on Kärntnerstrasse, but I remember I hadn’t looked around me, neither to the right, nor to the left… and yet there was something in that place… a feeling… a resonance… a vibration… there was something calling me… so I turned left and started to walk… 

And then I saw the fountain, and recognized it… not like you recognize an image you have seen in an album, or on the internet, but like you recognize a place that you have known… like your feelings are whispering you have returned to a place that once was so familiar…  

Mehlgrube - Ambassador 1

I felt the vibrations, and heard the unspoken words… I turned my head to the left, slowly, somehow fearing it won’t be there when my eyes reach it… and I saw The Ambassador… I raised my head and followed its imposing shape from the ground to the sky…  

Mehlgrube - Ambassador 2

Mehlgrube - Ambassador 3

Mehlgrube - Ambassador 11

Mehlgrube - Ambassador 4

Mehlgrube - Ambassador 5

Mehlgrube - Ambassador 6

Mehlgrube - Ambassador 7

Mehlgrube - Ambassador 8

Mehlgrube - Ambassador 9

And then I closed my eyes and saw Mehlgrube

It was there when my soul reached for it.  

It will be there forever. 

Neuer Markt, Mehlgrube on the right - 1760 painting by Canaletto

Just like the moving emotion of that moment when my beloved concert premiered there… on a night of 11 February 1785…  

Mozart's Thematic Catalogue 2

So many years years have passed since the Birth Day of The D Minor Concerto… since its premiere

Mozart's Thematic Catalogue 1

Mozart - Piano Concerto 20 - first page of the autograph

I call to you, Music,  

I close my eyes and see 

the Mehlgrube, 

the guests have arrived,  

the hall is filled with their murmur,  

impatient as they are for 

the concert to start, 

the musicians are holding their instruments,  

their eyes on the precious score 

lighted by the golden glow of candles,   

and then He appears…  

Mozart - portrait by Lange

231 years ago, at the Mehlgrube, this is how it must have sounded like…

Piano Concerto 20 - 5

And this is how it sounds for us, today…


Der Neue Markt, früher Mehlmarkt Richtung Norden (rechts Mehlgrube)

Der Neue Markt, Blick Richtung Norden, kolorierter Stich, 19. Jhd - big size

Hotel Ambassador Vienna - Neuer Markt - Mehlgrube Hall in 1785

Neuer Markt, Mehlgrube on the right - 1760 painting by Canaletto

Mehlgrube - Ambassador 10

Hotel Ambassador, Vienna

Piano Concerto 20 - 2

10 February 1785 – The D minor Piano Concerto is born

11 February 1785 – The Premiere of the D minor Piano Concerto 

Piano Concerto 20 - 3

Photos © mezzocristina where specified, including score, 

Image of Mozart’s Thematic Catalogue © The British Library 

other images credits specified there where available,

other images from the internet, assumed to be in the public domain.

DISCLAIMER – I don’t claim credit or ownership on the images taken from the internet, assumed to be in the public domain, used here. The owners retain their copyrights to their works. I am sharing the images exclusively for educational and artistic purposes – this blog is not monetized, and has no commercial profit whatsoever. Whenever I find the credits to internet images I am happy to add them. If you are the artist or the owner of original photos/images presented on this blog and you wish your works to be removed from here, or edited to include the proper credits, please send me a message and they will either be removed or edited. Thank you! 

Time alone with Mozart

Closer to him.

A place between worlds.

A realm where time stood still.

Sankt Marx. 


Sankt Marx

Mozart Week 2016

Mozart Woche 2016

“Each year around the time of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart‘s birth in January, the Mozarteum Foundation Salzburg hosts the Mozart Week with opera performances and orchestral, chamber, and soloist concerts. World-renowned Mozart interpreters, orchestras, and ensembles are responsible for the unparalleled reputation of this unique event. This week of concerts, which was first held in 1956, invites visitors from around the world to rediscover Mozart’s works from ever-changing perspectives and to hear them afresh.” 

Mozarts Geburtshaus on Getreidegasse in Salzburg - Mozart was born here on 27 January 1756

Mozarts Geburtshaus 3

Mozarts Geburtshaus, the house in which Mozart was born on 27 January 1756, on Getreidegasse, is now one of the most frequently visited museums in the world. The exhibition, which spreads over three floors, carries the visitors into Wolfgang’s world, telling when he began to make music, who his friends and patrons were, how the relationship with his family looked like, how strong was his passion for the opera… Here can be seen portraits, original manuscripts and documents, as well as personal objects and musical instruments on which he has played: his childhood violin and the clavichord on which he composed a few of his wonderful works.  

Mozarts Wohnhaus

Entrance in Mozart's House 2

Mozart statue

In Makartplatz there is Mozarts Wohnhaus, the residence where Mozart lived between 1773 and 1781 (the year when he left for Vienna). The building was severely damaged in the Second World War’s bombings, but it was faithfully reconstructed and today hosts the second important Mozart museum in Salzburg.  

The fascinating history of how Mozart Residence was saved and reconstructed can be read on the page of The Mozarteum Foundation, in the anniversary year 2016 (20 years since the official opening of the rebuilt Mozart Residence). 

Mozartswohnhaus Salzburg - Tanzmeistersaal

In the spacious rooms visitors can see portraits and original documents, manuscripts of Mozart’s works from the Salzburg years, Wolfgang’s original fortepiano, as well as the famous Family Portrait in the Master’s Dance Hall (Tanzmeistersaal)

On 27 January 2016, the Tanzmeistersaal will host a wonderful moment of music: Andreas Staier and Alexander Melnikov will play Mozart’s fortepiano, and Nicolas Altstaedt will play the violoncello. Then, in the evening, Mozart’s Birthday will be celebrated outside Mozart’s Geburtshaus, with mulled wine and cake and musical interludes by Salzburg Superar Choir, at 8 p.m., the time of Mozart’s birth!

The entire programme of the Mozart Week 2016 is beautiful, with concerts taking place in the Grosser Saal Mozarteum, Grosses Festspielhaus, Wiener Saal Mozarteum, Universitaet Mozarteum, Mozart-Wohnung.

Mozart Family Portrait

Salzburg is a city of music: during the year extraordinary performances take place in churches, in palaces, in concert halls… Salzburger Schlosskonzerte is one of the biggest musical events in the world: the concerts take place in the marble hall of the Mirabell Palace, there where, in another time, young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart played himself!  

Salzburg Mirabell Schlosskonzerte

On Mozart Week, or whenever you are in Salzburg, give yourself the joy of discovering the beauties of a city whose cultural, historical and memorial values have always been respected by its rulers and inhabitants! 

Salzburg - Altstadt 2

Salzburg - Altstadt

Salzburg - Historical City - Altstadt

Salzburg 3