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. Dr Michael Lorenz says: “K. 595 has no proven connection with Jahn’s hall. We don’t know which concerto Mozart performed there in March 1791”.

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 – presumably 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 being placed in a building where, two centuries ago, guest would have been treated with 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


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