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… ❤ 

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


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. 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

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

26 October 1783: The Great Mass in C minor

“Vienna, January 4, 1783

Mon très cher Père!

I cannot possibly write much at the moment, because we’ve just come back from Baroness Waldstätten, and I have to change from head to toe, for I am invited to a private concert at the residence of Herr Court Councilor Spellmann. – We both thank you for your New Year’s wishes and acknowledge freely that we are as dumb as oxen because we completely forgot our own duty of sending wishes to you – so we are sending you our wishes belatedly and won’t even send them as New Year’s Wishes but just as the everyday wishes we always have for you – and we’ll leave it at that. – About my moral commitment, yes, that’s quite correct; – the word flowed from my pen not entirely without my intention – I made the promise firmly in my heart and I hope to keep it. – When I made it, my wife was still single – but the promise was easy to make because I was determined to marry her as soon as she was well again. – Time and circumstances prevented our trip as you know; – but as proof of my promise I have the score of half a mass that is lying here waiting to be finished.”  

Mozart - Autograph of two of the pages of the C minor mass (Kyrie) - 1

Mozart - Autograph of two of the pages of the C minor mass (Kyrie) - 2

The Great C minor Mass, K.427, was composed by Mozart in Vienna in 1782 and 1783, and remained unfinished, missing large portions of the ‘Credo’ and the complete ‘Agnus Dei’.

St. Peter's Abbey

Mozart and Constanze arrived in Salzburg on July 29 (Nannerl’s birthday was on the 30th). They remained in Salzburg for three months and began their return trip on October 27, 1783, at 9,30 in the morning. The day before their departure, on 26 October 1783, the first performance of the Great C minor Mass took place in the Church of St. Peter’s Abbey in the context of a Roman Catholic mass. (This is the view of most scholars, while others discuss that Mozart’s sister wasn’t specific about which Mass was performed on this day of 26 October.)

Salzburg - Stift Sankt Peter

The performers were members of the ‘Hofmusik’, the musicians employed at the court of Prince-Archbishop Count Hieronymus von Colloredo. The C minor Mass was rehearsed with Mozart’s former colleagues in the Kappelhaus of the Church on 23 October 1783.

Kapelle & Gräber am Petersfriedhof © Tourismus Salzburg - S. Siller

Salzburg - Stiftskirche St Peter

At the premiere, the ‘Kyrie’, ‘Gloria’ and ‘Sanctus’ were presented. Constanze sang the “Et incarnatus est”. 

Robert W. Gutman on the Great C minor Mass in his “Mozart – A Cultural Biography” :

“If, in the eyes of the Salzburg Residenz, Mozart no longer existed – officialdom avoided mention of his name – he did remain a presence to many in the city (and, indeed, at court) who continud to perform his music. In 1782 they had even received something new from his pen: to celebrate his elevation to the nobility, Siegmund Haffner the Younger had commissioned a work from him. Even while laboring against the clock to arrange The Abduction for winds – “otherwise someone will beat me to it and have the profits instead of me” – he made time, at Leopold’s insistence, to write what would be refined into the second Haffner Symphony, K.385. It had been hard upon his wedding day when he posted to Leopold the finale, a Presto embodying a reference to Osmin’s aria in The Abduction: “How I will triumph!”

(Leopold had dragooned him into fulfilling the request of a family that had supported his interests since his childhood. As he composed the new Haffner music, he sent it piecemeal to the mail coach. When Leopold returned the entire composition to Vienna early the following year, Mozart gazed in amazement at what he had conceived under pressure and scribbled as fast as pen could travel: “The new Haffner Symphony has in truth surprised me, for I had forgotten every note of it. Indeed, it must make a good effect.”)

Such confidence sank as he confronted the reality of the Salzburg journey , which, one excuse after the other, had resolved itself into a series of postponements. He fixed upon departing in high summer (when pupils broke off their lessons) even though two dark patches hovered above the plan: misgivings about the reception his bride might find in the Tanzmeisterhaus and his fear of arrest upon entering the archbishopric. (“A priest is capable of anything.”) He suggested a meeting in Munich rather than Salzburg, but Leopold indicated that its officials had signaled indifference to the visit. He recognized Mozart’s prevarications as proceeding from a divided spirit. But all at once Mozart determined to face the troublesome issues and redefine himself in his family’s eyes: to demonstrate his new commitments and demand respect for them. At the end of July 1783, he and Constanze left Raimund with a foster mother in the suburb of Ober-Neustift – they foresaw an absence of a month at most – and set out for Salzburg. Family letters wanting, little of importance concerning the visit has come down except passing words about the mass in C minor, K.427.

Its relationship to a vow Mozart had taken somewhat before his union with Constanze remains obscure, as does the nature of the promise itself. She had fallen ill, and he determined to make her his wife upon her recovery. His oath to compose a mass and perform it in Salzburg – “with all my heart and without condition I gave my word and in like manner I hope to keep it” – united concepts of love, thankfulness, reunion, reconciliation, repair, and, with Raimund’s birth, took on the dimension of continuity (unless he committed himself after marrying and only with regard to her safe accouchment). The proof of his having undertaken the obligation, he assured a father ever suspicious of his high-flown assertions, resided in a “well-grounded hope” to complete “the score of half a mass lying here (Vienna)”.

The performance of the mass was to take place in Salzburg’s monastery church of St. Peter’s, where he had old friends, among them Kajetan Hagenauer (Father Dominicus). Mozart’s crossing the threshold of the cathedral where Colloredo presided remained out of the question. Yet, in diplomatic deference, St. Peter’s, likewise, would have had to close its doors to the renegade had the Residenz remonstrated. It, however, looked away even as its own musicians joined the rehearsals in its Kapellhaus – the resources of St. Peter’s alone would have been unequal to the score – which, without the Residenz’s studied, in fact, beneficent aloofness, would also have been out of bounds.

Of the mass he brought to Salzburg only the Kyrie and Gloria stood complete, along with the substance of the Sanctus. The Credo existed only up to the Crucifixus, and nothing of the Agnus Dei had come to paper. (At the performance, plainchant or material adapted from his earlier masses may have filled the gaps. Perhaps he formed an ad hoc Agnus Dei by putting to work music adapted from preceeding movements, the procedure in part followed in the posthumous completion of his Requiem.). Sebastian Bach’s and, in particular, Handel’s spirit, breathed in at van Swieten’s matinees, guides whole sections of the score; but, unlike so many period-style efforts by his contemporaries, these double choruses, fugues, and less formal contrapuntal passages never suggest a hand ruffling the shallows to give the impression of depth. Reinterpreted and given new dimension through Mozart’s finely colored harmonies, ever fresh and scrupulous melodic detail, and volatility of humors, these units show forth as brilliant reinventions, as refinements of the pastiche of his Salzburg masses, the rhetorical grandeur of the ‘Qui tollis’ for two four-part choirs the finest example. Moreover, in the tradition of the Salzburg works, he eggs and sugars the baroque pudding with galant touches: rococo and empfindsam enchantments from time to time take the lead, offering their tender beauties and with them textural contrast, as in the exquisite pathos of the ‘Et incarnatus’, the longest and most demanding of the three soprano solos shaped, so Constanze had it, for her voice.

During the stay in Salzburg he would not or could not complete the mass: that the project fell through his fingers may well have been the effect of a change of heart wrought by his recent and intense labors in Vienna upon a set of string quartets, arguing an aesthetic not of the evocative and reminiscent, but, rather, of their assmilation within a new style fully his own. Yet the mass’s incomplete state in no way compromises its distinction as a magnificent compendium juxtaposing the century’s musical vocabularies. Its wanting sections somehow made good, K.427 came to performance on 26 October 1783, the day before the Mozarts took their departure.

In Salzburg Mozart did compose, but alas for posterity, not an Agnus Dei for the mass. A bizarre turn of events led him to write a pair of works for the Archbishop. An ailing Michael Haydn, helpless to complete a set of six duos (for violin and viola) impatiently awaited at the Residenz, turned to the visiting Mozart to furnish the final two. He emulated Haydn’s style, and they passed as his.

Returned home at the end of November 1783, they found little Raimund almost three and a half months in his grave, the victim of dysentery. Epidemics, parasites and accidents wove a pattern of mortality permitting only about half the children of the time to survive infancy. Parents for the most part brought into the world at least twice the number of offspring they hoped to raise: “Birth is halfway to death”, observed Leopold Mozart, his two children the survivors of seven births. Mozart and Constanze mourned their “poor, round, fat and darling little boy”, who had looked so much like his father, “the face as if sculpted” after his. She would be pregnant early in 1784 – toward the end of January they moved from the Judenplatz to the Trattnerhof on the Graben – and their domestic world recovered its order and flourised, as did his career.”  

Maynard Solomon on the Great C minor Mass in his ‘Mozart – A Life’ biography :

“By its florid style, bravura solos and great length, it explicitly goes counter to attitudes toward and restrictions upon church music current in the Vienna of Emperor Joseph II, which limited the performance of instrumentally accompanied church music to the court chapel and St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Similarly, it could not have been expected to please Salzburg authorities, whose archbishop held official views on church music very similar to those of Joseph II. In an archiepiscopal letter of 19 June 1780 Colloredo had called for the elimination of complex forms of church music and the substitution of German congregational singing. A pastoral letter of 1782 was directed, Eisen notes, “against the liturgy and the excessive ornateness and ostentation of parish churches”, and accompanied sacred vocal music was greaty discouraged. Mozart’s mass in no way reflected the official new Salzburg style, which limited duration to forty-five minutes and abolished solo singing and fugues. Clearly, he had no intention of compromising his effort to create a dramatically expressive, elevated church music style that transcended the Austrian mass tradition at the same time as it drew freely upon Italian sources as well as on Bach and Handel – made aware of the latter through his close association in Vienna with Baron Gottfried van Swieten, who promoted their music in private concerts there.”

Hermann Abert on the Great C minor Mass in his ‘Mozart’ biography :

“In the present chapter we shall examine only those works that reflect Mozart’s impresions of earlier classics in their freshest and most immediate form. The first and greatest of these works is the C minor mass K427, the genesis of which has already been recounted. Only the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus and Benedictus were finished. Of the Credo, only the opening section was completed in draft score, including the choral voices and bass. Only the most essential elements of the accompaniment are indicated here. In the ‘Et incarnatus’, too, the vocal line is written out in full, together with the obbligato wind instruments and bass, with the rest of the accompaniment merely hinted at.

(The mass was completed by Alois Schmitt of Dresden in 1901, and both the full score and vocal score of this completion were published by Breitkopt & Hartel in Leipzig. For the missing sections, Schmitt drew, in part, on other masses and, in part, on individual surviving sacred works by the composer. Individual endings were newly composed and various changes were made to the accompaniment,too. The arrangement has the great merit of having reintroduced the mass to the sacred repertory, yet the manner of its completion raises considerable doubts. (…) The only sections that can be welcomed unconditionally are the replacement of the ‘Et vitam venturi’ by the corresponding movement from K262 and of the ‘Agnus Dei’ by a repeat of the Kyrie, this last-named change inspired by the example of the Requiem. – Annotation by Cliff Eisen)

What distinguished this torso from all Mozart’s other masses is its tendency towards monumentality, a feature it really shares with only the Munich D minor Kyrie K341. The individual sections are developed on a scale previously unknown in Mozart’s works: the Gloria, for example, is in seven completely independent movements, a structure that reveals that in these large-scale complexes Mozart has abandoned his earlier attempts to use rondo form to impose a formal unity on these movements. Their sheer length, moreover, finds a counterpart in the resources that Mozart employs: whereas all his earlier choruses had been in four parts, there are now frequent examples of five-part writing and even an eight-part double chorus. In keeping with local practice in Salzburg, the orchestral forces include neither clarinets nor flutes but make up for this lack by drawing not only on oboes, bassoons and horns but also trumpets and timpani and even four trombones, although, as was usual in Salzburg at this time, these last-named instruments generally support the voices and only occasionally acquire an independent function.

But the most remarkable aspect of this work is the striking unevenness of its individual sections. Passages of an inspired magnificence that far surpasses anything found in the earlier Masses occur alongside others that bear the dusty imprint of a style that had long been out of fashion. Yet it is the more inspired passages – and it is significant that they are nearly all choral movements – that afford the clearest evidence of the influence of Bach and Handel, with even the opening Kyrie falling under this heading: it is a large-scale ternary structure, the third part of which is a slightly abbreviated and modified repeat of the first, with the ‘Christe eleison’ as its middle section, clearly set apart from the others in terms of its tonality and other features, thereby constituing an oasis of welcome relief within  more sombre picture. Unlike most of the earlier Kyrie allegros, this is a movement characterized by austerity and dourness and, as such, an audible echo of the impressions left by Bach. (…)

Perhaps it was the personal disappointments that Mozart endured in Salzburg that robbed him of any desire to complete this remarkable work. Not until 1785 was it to enjoy a curious resurrection in Vienna when Mozart was invited to provide an oratorio for the Tonkünstler- Sozietät concert on 13 and 17 March. In spite of the shortage of time, he accepted the commission as he saw it as a welcome opportunity to introduce the music of his mass, which he held in particularly high regard, to a larger audience. The chosen text was an adaptation of the popular oratorio subject of Davidde penitente, the author of which, hitherto unidentified, was no doubt one of the Viennese court poets. As we know from Johann Sebastian Bach, this retexting of existing music had never been regarded askance by composers of the older period, and the fact that these adapters often revealed a high degree of musical appreciation is clear from the present piece, the text of which is not only poetically impeccable but subtly adapted to suit the expressive content of the individual movements of the mass. All the existing movements were used with minimal changes, the only exception being the Credo, which once again remained unfinished (K469). (…) The result is a work – half oratorio, half cantata – that is bound to create an ambivalent impression on present-day listeners but which was not without importance for the Viennese audiences of Mozart’s day. The special status enjoyed by the Viennese oratorio under Fux had already been undermined by the modern Neapolitan style, but the very fact that Mozart was ablet o risk offering the public a work of such austerity and to call it an oratorio suggests that the old tradition was still very much alive. It was probably only in Vienna at this time that the independent handling of the orchestra and the elaborate artistry of many of the numbers could count on unanimous approval. Even so, the monumental grandeur of the choruses was a risk since, in the wake of Zeno and Metastasio, choruses had largely been suppressed in the Viennese oratorio as elsewhere, yet Mozart was still able to trust in the abiding appeal of the Fuxian tradition, and on this point he was not mistaken as Davidde penitente proved hugely successful not only in Vienna but elsewhere at German and foreign music festivals until well into the nineteenth century. “

St. Peter's Abbey Church and monastery, view from Hohensalzburg Castle - 2

St Peter’s Abbey was founded in 696 by Saint Rupert at the site of a Late Antique church stemming from the first Christianization in the area in the days of Severinus of Noricum. In the Middle Ages, St Peter’s was known for its exceptional writing school. In 1074, Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg  sent several monks to the newly established filial monastery of Admont in the March of Styria. In the 15th century, the abbey adopted the Melk Reforms. In 1623, Archbishop Paris Graf von Lodron founded the Benedictine University of Salzburg, which until its dissolution in 1810 was closely connected to the abbey. 

Stiftskirche St Peter

Stiftskirche St Peter 2

Kirche St. Peter © Erzdiözese Salzburg - Josef Kral

The present-day Romanesque abbey church at the northern foot of the Monchsberg was erected from about 1130 onwards at the site of a previous Carolingian church building, it was dedicated to Saint Peter in 1147.  One of the organs had been built on the rood screen in 1444 by Heinrich Traxdorf of Mainz. While the steeple received its onion dome in 1756, the interior, already re-modelled several times, was refurbished in the Rococo style between 1760 and 1782 under Abbot Beda Seeauer by Franz Xaver König, Lorenz Härmbler, Johann Högler, Benedikt Zöpf and others. The high altar is a work by Martin Johann Schmidt.  (wiki)

Mozart’s letter of 4 January 1783: from the book of Robert Spaethling 

Source of info: Wiki 

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Salzburg - Stift Sankt Peter 2

Tuesday, 27 January 1756

“S-a născut în 27 ianuarie și de atunci n-a mai apus niciodată!”

“He was born on 27 January and since then he never set again!” 

Happy Birthday, Humanity! Mozart is born! 

Mozart's portrait - from Mozart Family Portrait painted by Johann Nepomuk della Croce, Salzburg 1790-1791

1756 Calendar


Silenzio d’amuri

Silenziu d’amuri ca camini ‘ntra li vini, 

Nun è pussibili staccarimi di tia…