Monday, 15 March 1784, Vienna: Mozart performs for Count Esterházy and composes the Piano Concerto in B-flat K. 450.
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.
“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.’ “
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.
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 – Piano Concerto in B-flat Major No 15, K.450 – III Allegro
Mozart’s sound of the Piano Concerto in B-flat Major No 15, K.450
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 – ‘Andante’ from Piano Concerto in D Major no 16, K.451
Graben with the Trattnerhof through time:
Images of the scores copyright of Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum
Images of Mozart’s Thematic Catalogue copyright of The British Library
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