Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Unlike Haydn, his senior by 24 years, and Beethoven, his junior by 15, he excelled in every medium current in his time. He may thus be regarded as the most universal composer in the history of Western music. 1. Ancestry and early childhood. 2. Travels, 1763–73. 3. Salzburg, 1773–80. 4. The break with Salzburg and the early Viennese years, 1780–83. 5. Vienna, 1784–8. 6. The final years. 7. Early works. 8. Works, 1772–81. 9. Works, 1781–8. 10. Works, 1789–91. 11. Aftermath: reception and scholarship. WORKS BIBLIOGRAPHY
Mozart: (3) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1. Ancestry and early childhood. Mozart was baptized on the day after his birth at St Rupert’s Cathedral as Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus. The first two names record that 27 January was the feast day of St John Chrysostom, while Wolfgangus was the name of his maternal grandfather and Theophilus a name of his godfather, the merchant Joannes Theophilus Pergmayr; Mozart sometimes preferred the Latin form, Amadeus, but more frequently Amade, Amade or the German form Gottlieb.
He was the seventh and last child born to Leopold Mozart and his wife Maria Anna, nee Pertl (b St Gilgen, 25 Dec 1720; d Paris, 3 July 1778); only he and the fourth child, (2) Maria Anna (‘Nannerl’), survived. The name Mozart (spelt in a variety of forms including Mozarth, Mozhard and Mozer) is first recorded for a Heinrich Motzhart in Fischach, in 1331, and appears in other villages south-west of Augsburg, notably Heimberg, from the 14th century; the paternal ancestry of the family has been traced with some certainty to Andris Motzhart, who lived in the Augsburg area in 1486.
Several early member of the family were master masons (i. e. architects), builders, craftsmen and sculptors; two, in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, were artists. Mozart’s great grandfather David (c1620–1685) was a master mason, his grandfather Johann Georg (1679–1736) a master bookbinder in Augsburg. His mother’s family came mainly from the Salzburg region and followed middle-class occupations. Her father, Wolfgang Nikolaus Pertl, held important administrative and judicial posts at Hullenstein, near St Gilgen, but a bout of ill-health pushed him into debt and his family was left destitute.
Until 1773 the Mozart family rented an apartment on the third floor of the house of Johann Lorenz and Maria Theresia Hagenauer, who had a thriving grocery business with connections in several important European cities. They also acted as bankers to the Mozarts, establishing credit networks for Leopold during the tours of the 1760s. It was to the Hagenauers that most of Leopold’s early letters, now the most important source of information about Mozart’s travels during the 1760s, were addressed.
Many of them were intended for public circulation: Leopold was keen to impress the children’s triumphs on the archbishop, the Salzburg nobility and his wide circle of friends and acquaintances. As far as is known, Leopold was entirely responsible for the education of his children, which was by no means restricted to music but also included mathematics, reading, writing, literature, languages and dancing; moral and religious training were part of the curriculum as well. (A later biographical dictionary, B.
Pillwein’s Biographische Schilderungen (Salzburg, 1821), suggests that the court singer Franz Anton Spitzeder also gave the young Mozart musical instruction, but this assertion is uncorroborated. ) Mozart showed his musical gifts at an early age; Leopold noted in Wolfgang’s sister’s music book (the so-called Nannerl Notenbuch, begun in 1759) that Wolfgang had learnt some of the pieces – mostly anonymous minuets and other binary form movements, probably German in origin, but also including works by Wagenseil, C. P. E. Bach, J. J. Agrell and J. N. Tischer as well as Leopold Mozart himself – when he was four.
According to Leopold, Wolfgang’s earliest known compositions, a miniature Andante and Allegro k1a and 1b, were written in 1761, when he was five. More substantial are the binary form minuets in F major k2 and k5 and the Allegro in B[pic] k3, composed between January and July 1762. Mozart’s first known public appearance was at Salzburg University in September 1761, when he took a dancing part in a performance of Sigismundus Hungariae rex, given as an end-of-term play (Finalkomodie) by Marian Wimmer with music by the Salzburg Kapellmeister Ernst Eberlin.
In 1762 Leopold apparently took Wolfgang and Nannerl to Munich, where they played the harpsichord for Maximilian III Joseph, Elector of Bavaria (no documentation survives for this journey, which is known only from a later reminiscence of Nannerl Mozart). A tour to Vienna lasted from September to December 1762. The children appeared twice before Maria Theresa and her consort, Francis I, as well as at the homes of various ambassadors and nobles (the empress sent the children a set of court clothes, which they wore for the well-known paintings done later in Salzburg, probably by P.
A. Lorenzoni). The trip was a great success: in October the imperial paymaster presented the Mozarts with a substantial honorarium and a request to prolong their stay; the French ambassador, Forent-Louis-Marie, Count of Chatelet-Lomont, invited them to Versailles; and Count Karl von Zinzendorf, later a high state official, wrote in his diary that ‘the poor little fellow plays marvellously, he is a child of spirit, lively, charming; his sister’s playing is masterly’. The family returned to Salzburg on 5 January 1763.
Leopold was promoted to deputy Kapellmeister on 28 February, and that evening Mozart played at court as part of Archbishop Schrattenbach’s birthday celebrations; the Salzburg court chronicle records that there was ‘vocal music by several virtuosos, among whom were, to everyone’s astonishment, the new vice-Kapellmeister’s little son, aged seven, and daughter, aged ten, performing on the harpsichord, the son likewise on the violin, as well as one could ever have hoped of him’.
On 9 June the family set out on a three-and-a-half-year journey through Germany, France, the Low Countries, England and Switzerland. It was the first of five tours undertaken during the next decade. (3) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 2. Travels, 1763–73. Travelling by way of Munich, Augsburg, Ludwigsburg, the summer palace of the Elector Palatine Carl Theodor at Schwetzingen, Mainz, Frankfurt, Coblenz and Aachen, the Mozart family arrived at Brussels on 4 October 1763; in each of these places the children either performed at court or gave public concerts.
From there they pressed on to Paris. The children played before Louis XV on 1 January 1764, with public concerts following on 10 March and 9 April at the private theatre of M. Felix, in the rue et porte Saint-Honore. In Paris Mme Vendome published Mozart’s two pairs of sonatas for keyboard and violin, k6–9, his first music to appear in print. The family arrived in England on 23 April, first lodging at the White Bear Inn in Piccadilly; the next day they moved to the house of the barber John Cousins, in Cecil Court.
They played twice for George III, on 27 April and 17 May 1764 (in a letter of 28 May, Leopold enthusiastically recounted to Hagenauer the friendly greeting the king gave them at a chance meeting in St James’s Park), and were scheduled to appear at a benefit for the composer and cellist Carlo Graziani on 23 May; however, Wolfgang was taken ill and was unable to perform.
The Mozarts mounted their own benefit on 5 June, at the Great Room in Spring Garden; later that month Mozart performed ‘several fine select Pieces of his own Composition on the Harpsichord and on the Organ’ at Ranelagh Gardens, during breaks in a performance of Handel’s Acis and Galatea. Further benefit concerts followed on 21 February and 13 May 1765. At some time during their visit to London, Mozart was tested by the philosopher Daines Barrington, who in 1769 furnished a report on him to the Royal Society (published in its Philosophical Transactions, lx (1771), 54–64).
Barrington’s tests were typical of others that Mozart was set elsewhere on the Grand Tour and, later, in Vienna and Italy: I said to the boy, that I should be glad to hear an extemporary Love Song, such as his friend Manzoli might choose in an opera. The boy … looked back with much archness, and immediately began five or six lines of a jargon recitative proper to introduce a love song. He then played a symphony which might correspond with an air composed to the single word, Affetto.
It had a first and second part, which, together with the symphonies, was of the length that opera songs generally last: if this extemporary composition was not amazingly capital, yet it was really above mediocrity, and shewed most extraordinary readiness of invention. Finding that he was in humour, and as it were inspired, I then desired him to compose a Song of Rage, such as might be proper for the opera stage. The boy again looked back with much archness, and began five or six lines of a jargon recitative proper to precede a Song of Anger.
This lasted also about the same time as the Song of Love; and in the middle of it, he had worked himself up to such a pitch, that he beat his harpsichord like a person possessed, rising sometimes in his chair. The word he pitched upon for this second extemporary composition was, Perfido. After this he played a difficult lesson, which he had finished a day or two before: his execution was amazing, considering that his little fingers could scarcely reach a fifth on the harpsichord.
His astonishing readiness, however, did not arise merely from great practice; he had a thorough knowledge of the fundamental principles of composition, as, upon producing a treble, he immediately wrote a base under it, which, when tried, had very good effect. He was also a great master of modulation, and his transitions from one key to another were excessively natural and judicious; he practised in this manner for a considerable time with a handkerchief over the keys of the harpsichord.
The Mozarts left London on 24 July 1765, travelling by way of Canterbury (where a concert was announced, but apparently cancelled) and Lille to Ghent and Antwerp, arriving at The Hague on 10 September. There the children gave two public concerts and played before the Princess of Nassau-Weilburg, to whom Mozart later dedicated the keyboard and violin sonatas k26–31. They moved on to Amsterdam in January, returning to The Hague for the installation of Wilhelm V on 11 March – it was for this occasion that Mozart composed the Gallimathias musicum k32 – and in April they set out again for Paris, arriving there in early May.
The Mozarts remained in Paris for two months; their patron, Baron Grimm, who had paved their way there earlier, commented on Mozart’s ‘prodigious progress’ since early 1764. The final stage of the homeward journey took the Mozarts to Dijon, Lyons, Lausanne, Zurich and Donaueschingen, where they played for Prince Furstenberg on nine evenings. From Donaueschingen they pressed on to Dillingen, Augsburg and Munich, arriving back in Salzburg on 29 November.
On the day of their arrival, Beda Hubner, librarian at St Peter’s, wrote in his diary (in A-Ssp): I cannot forbear to remark here also that today the world-famous Herr Leopold Mozart, deputy Kapellmeister here, with his wife and two children, a boy aged ten and his little daughter of 13, have arrived to the solace and joy of the whole town … the two children, the boy as well as the girl, both play the harpsichord, or the clavier, the girl, it is true, with more art and fluency than her little brother, but the boy with far more refinement and with more original ideas, and with the most beautiful harmonic inspirations … There is a strong rumour that the Mozart family will again not long remain here, but will soon visit the whole of Scandinavia and the whole of Russia, and perhaps even travel to China, which would be a far greater journey and bigger undertaking still: de facto, I believe it to be certain that nobody is more celebrated in Europe than Herr Mozart with his two children. Leopold Mozart is often portrayed as an inflexible, if consummate, tour manager, yet much of the ‘Grand Tour’ was not planned in advance. When he left Salzburg, Leopold was undecided whether to travel to England; nor was it his intention to visit the Low Countries (letter of 28 May 1764). There were also miscalculations. It is likely, for instance, that the Mozarts outstayed their welcome in London: by June 1765 they were reduced to giving cheap public displays at the down-market Swan and Hoop Tavern in Cornhill (see McVeigh, G1993).
On the other hand, it is not widely appreciated how difficult travel could be at this time: routes were often unsafe and almost always uncomfortable (Leopold marvelled in a letter of 25 April 1764 at his successful crossing of the English Channel, an experience that was surely unknown to his friends in Salzburg), expenses were substantial, and he was frequently mistreated, ignored or prevented by potential patrons from performing. In a letter completed on 4 November 1763 he wrote from Brussels: We have now been kept [here] for nearly three weeks. Prince Karl [Charles of Lorraine, brother of Emperor Francis I and Governor of the Austrian Netherlands] … spends his time hunting, eating and drinking … Meanwhile, in decency I have neither been able to leave nor to give a concert, since, as the prince himself has said, I must await his decision. Quotations from the Mozart family correspondence are based on the translations in Anderson, A1938, 3/1985. ) Nevertheless, these unexpected detours – which added nearly two years to the tour – also reaped rich musical rewards: at every stage of their travels the Mozarts acquired music that was not readily available in Salzburg or met composers and performers who did not normally travel in south Germany and Austria. At Ludwigsburg they heard Nardini (on 11 July 1763 Leopold wrote to Salzburg, ‘it would be impossible to hear a finer player for beauty, purity, evenness of tone and singing quality’), and in Paris they met, among others, Schobert, Eckard and Honauer, from whose sonatas, as well as sonatas by Raupach and C. P. E.
Bach, Mozart later chose movements to set as the concertos k37 and 39–41. Their stay in London brought Mozart into contact with K. F. Abel, Giovanni Manzuoli and most importantly J. C. Bach, with whom the family became intimate and whose influence on Mozart was lifelong. Years later, when Wolfgang was in Paris, Leopold upheld Bach as a model composer (letter of 13 August 1778): If you have not got any pupils, well then compose something more …. But let it be something short, easy and popular … Do you image that you would be doing work unworthy of you? If so, you are very much mistaken. Did Bach, when he was in London, ever publish anything but similar trifles?
What is slight can still be great, if it is written in a natural, flowing and easy style – and at the same time bears the marks of sound composition. Such works are more difficult to compose than all those harmonic progressions, which the majority of the people cannot fathom, or pieces which have pleasing melodies, but which are difficult to perform. Did Bach lower himself by such work? Not at all. Good composition, sound construction, il filo – these distinguish the master from the bungler – even in trifles. It is also safe to say that on the ‘Grand Tour’ Mozart began to absorb his father’s opinions about various national styles and how to conduct himself in public. In Paris on 1 February 1764, Leopold wrote of the Royal Chapel at Versailles: I heard good and bad music there.
Everything sung by individual voices and supposed to resemble an aria was empty, frozen and wretched – in a word, French – but the choruses are good and even excellent … the whole of French music is not worth a sou. In this he anticipated by many years Mozart’s comment on 5 April 1778, when he was again in Paris, that at Mannheim [the choruses] are weak and poor, whereas in Paris they are powerful and excellent … What annoys me most of all in this business is that our French gentlemen have only improved their gout to this extent that they can now listen to good stuff as well. But to expect them to realize that their own music is bad or at least to notice the difference – Heaven preserve us!
More importantly, perhaps, Mozart also took to heart his father’s negative opinions of Salzburg, repeating them almost verbatim in his letters of the late 1770s and early 80s. As early as 19 July 1763 Leopold wrote from Schwetzingen: The orchestra is undeniably the best in Germany. It consists altogether of people who are young and of good character, not drunkards, gamblers or dissolute fellows. Mozart, some 15 years later, wrote to his father (letter of 9 July 1778): one of my chief reasons for detesting Salzburg [is the] coarse, slovenly, dissolute court musicians. Why, no honest man, of good breeding, could possibly live with them!
Indeed, instead of wanting to associate with them, he would feel ashamed of them … [The Mannheim musicians] certainly behave quite differently from ours. They have good manners, are well dressed and do not go to public houses and swill. Mozart remained in Salzburg for nine months. During this time he wrote three vocal works: a Latin comedy, Apollo et Hyacinthus, for the university; the first part of the oratorio Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots, a joint work with Michael Haydn and Anton Cajetan Adlgasser; and the Grabmusik k42 (to which he added a concluding chorus with introductory recitative, c1773). On 15 September 1767 the family set out for Vienna.
Presumably Leopold had timed this visit to coincide with the festivities planned for the marriage of the 16-year-old Archduchess Josepha to King Ferdinand IV of Naples. Josepha, however, contracted smallpox and died on the day after the wedding was to have taken place, throwing the court into mourning and inducing Leopold to remove his family from Vienna, first to Brunn (Brno) and then to Olmutz (Olomouc) where both Mozart and Nannerl had mild attacks of smallpox. Shortly after their return to Vienna in January 1768, Leopold conceived the idea of securing for Mozart an opera commission, La finta semplice, but intrigues at court conspired to defeat his plan (the Mozarts’ side of the story is preserved in detail in the surviving correspondence).
He wrote an indignant petition to the emperor in September, complaining of a conspiracy on the part of the theatre director Giuseppe Afflisio (d’Affligio), who apparently claimed that Wolfgang’s music was ghost-written by his father, and proving Mozart’s output by including a list of his compositions to that time (see Zaslaw, A1985). Presumably as compensation for the suppression of the opera, in December Mozart directed a performance before the imperial court of a festal mass (k139), an offertory (k47b, lost) and a trumpet concerto (k47c, lost) at the dedication ceremony of the Waisenhauskirche; the Wienerisches Diarium reported on 10 December 1768 that Mozart performed his works ‘to general applause and admiration, and conducted with the greatest accuracy; aside from this he also sang in the motets’. That same month he completed the Symphony k48.
Earlier, in October, Mozart may have given a private performance of his one-act Singspiel Bastien und Bastienne at the home of Dr Franz Anton Mesmer, the inventor of ‘magnetism therapy’ (later parodied in Cosi fan tutte). On the return journey to Salzburg, the Mozarts paused at Lambach Abbey, where father and son both presented symphonies to the library (the controversy over the attribution of the two works, Leopold Mozart’s G9 and Mozart’s kAnh. 221, is summarized in Zaslaw, L1989). They arrived home on 5 January and remained there for nearly a year. La finta semplice was performed at court on or about 1 May, and Mozart wrote the Mass k66 in October for the first Mass celebrated by his friend Cajetan (Father Dominicus) Hagenauer, son of the family’s Salzburg landlord. Other substantial works from this time include three orchestral serenades (k63, 99 nd 100), two of which were probably intended for performance as ‘Finalmusik’ at the university’s traditional end-of-year ceremonies, possibly some shorter sacred works (k117 and 141) and several sets of dancing minuets (k65a and 103; k104 and 105 are by Michael Haydn, possibly arranged by Mozart). By the age of 13, then, Mozart had achieved a significant local reputation as both a composer and a performer. On 27 October he was appointed, on an honorary basis, Konzertmeister at the Salzburg court. Less than two months later, on 13 December, Leopold and Wolfgang set out on their own for Italy. The journey followed the now usual pattern: they paused at any town where a concert could be given or where an influential nobleman might wish to hear Mozart play.
Travelling by way of Innsbruck and Rovereto, they arrived at Verona on 27 December. While there, Mozart played at the Accademia Filarmonica and had his portrait painted, probably by Saverio della Rosa (fig. 2); the piece of music shown on the harpsichord, almost certainly by him, is otherwise unknown (k72a; but see Heartz, O1995). At Mantua, on 16 January, Mozart gave a concert typical of his public and private performances at the time: it included a symphony by him; prima vista and extempore performances of concertos, sonatas, fugues, variations and arias; and a small number of works contributed by other performers. The Gazzetta di Mantova, in a report on the concert (19 January 1770), described Mozart as ‘incomparable’.
From Mantua the Mozarts travelled to Milan where Wolfgang gave several performances at the home of Count Karl Firmian, the Austrian minister plenipotentiary, including a grand academy on 12 March that may have included the newly composed arias k77, 88 and Anh. 2; presumably as a result of his performances and compositions, Mozart was commissioned to write the first opera, Mitridate, re di Ponto, for the carnival season in December. Father and son left Milan on 15 March, bound for Lodi (where Mozart completed his first string quartet, k80), Parma, Bologna (where they met the theorist and composer Padre Martini) and Florence, where Mozart became reacquainted with the castrato Manzuoli and newly acquainted with the English composer Thomas Linley, a boy of his own age.
From there they passed on to Rome, arriving on 10 April, in time for Holy Week; Mozart made a clandestine copy of Allegri’s famous Miserere (traditionally considered the exclusive property of the papal choir), and may have composed two or three symphonies (k81, 95 and 97). After a brief stay in Naples, where Mozart gave several concerts and heard Jommelli’s Armida (which he described on 5 June 1770 as ‘beautiful, but much too broken up and old-fashioned for the theatre’), they returned to Rome, where on 5 July Pope Clemens XIV created Mozart a Knight of the Golden Spur (fig. 3). Father and son set out again on 10 July, returning to Bologna and the summer home of Count Pallavicini.
There Mozart may have completed the Symphony k84, as well as some sacred works and canons, and he received the libretto and cast-list for his Milan opera. Before they left Bologna he was admitted to membership of the Accademia Filarmonica; the original autograph of his test piece, the antiphon k86, has annotations by Padre Martini, suggesting that he may have had help. Work on the composition of Mitridate, re di Ponto began in earnest after the Mozarts’ return to Milan on 18 October 1770. The libretto, by Vittorio Amadeo Cigna-Santi, after Racine, had been set by Quirino Gasparini for Turin in 1767 and Leopold in his letters described various intrigues among the singers, including the possibility of their substituting certain of Gasparini’s settings for Mozart’s.
In fact the setting of ‘Vado incontro al frato estremo’ found in the earliest scores of the opera has been found to be by Gasparini; apparently the primo uomo, D’Ettore, was unwilling to sing Mozart’s now lost version (Peiretti, J1996). There were three recitative rehearsals, two preliminary orchestral rehearsals and two full ones in the theatre, as well as a dress rehearsal; Leopold’s letter of 15 December gives the useful information that the orchestra consisted of 14 first and 14 second violins, 6 violas, 2 cellos, 6 double basses, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets and 2 keyboards. The premiere, at the Regio Ducal Teatro was on 26 December; including the ballets (by other composers), it lasted six hours.
Leopold had not been confident that the opera would be a success, but it was, running to 22 performances. The Mozarts left Milan on 14 January 1771, stopping at Turin, Venice, Padua and Verona before returning to Salzburg on 28 March. The 15-month Italian journey had been an extraordinary success, widely reported in the international press: on 20 March 1770 the Notizie del mondo of Florence carried a notice of the ‘magnificent academy’ given at Count Firmian’s, while the Hamburg Staats- und gelehrte Zeitung described Mozart’s ‘extraordinary and precocious musical talent’ in a report sent from Rome on 22 May. The same newspaper’s account of Wolfgang’s Venice concert of 5 March 771 (published on 27 March) neatly sums up the professional and personal accomplishments of the tour: Young Mozart, a famous keyboard player, 15 years old, excited the attention and admiration of all music lovers when he gave a public performance in Venice recently. An experienced musician gave him a fugue theme, which he worked out for more than an hour with such science, dexterity, harmony and proper attention to rhythm that even the greatest connoisseurs were astounded. He composed an entire opera for Milan, which was given at the last carnival. His good-natured modesty, which enhances still more his precocious knowledge, wins him the greatest praise, and this must give his worthy father, who is travelling with him, extraordinary pleasure.
Even before their return to Salzburg in March 1771, Leopold had laid plans for two further trips to Italy: when the Mozarts were in Verona, Wolfgang was commissioned to write a serenata or festa teatrale, Ascanio in Alba, for the wedding in Milan the following October of Archduke Ferdinand and Princess Maria Beatrice Ricciarda of Modena; that same month the Regio Ducal Teatro at Milan had issued him with a contract for the first carnival opera of 1773, Lucio Silla (an oratorio commissioned for Padua, La Betulia liberata, seems never to have been performed). Accordingly, Mozart spent barely five months at home in 1771, during which time he wrote the Paduan oratorio, the Regina coeli k108, the litany k109 and the Symphony k110. Father and son set out again on 13 August, arriving at Milan on 21 August: They received Giuseppe Parini’s libretto for Ascanio in Alba on 29 August; the serenata went into rehearsal on 27 September and the premiere took place on 17 October.
Hasse’s Metastasian opera Ruggiero, also composed for the wedding festivities, received its first performance the day before; according to Leopold, Ascanio ‘struck down Hasse’s opera’ (letter of 19 October 1771), a judgment confirmed by a report in the Florentine Notizie del mondo on 26 October: ‘The opera has not met with success, and was not performed except for a single ballet. The serenata, however, has met with great applause, both for the text and for the music’. The Mozarts remained in Milan until 5 December; Wolfgang wrote the curiously titled ‘Concerto o sia Divertimento’ k113 (later revised for Salzburg performance; see Blazin L1992) and the Symphony k112. He also may have sought employment at court, but his application was effectively rejected by Ferdinand’s mother, Empress Maria Theresa, who in a etter (12 December 1771) advised the archduke against burdening himself with ‘useless people’ who go ‘about the world like beggars’. The third and last Italian journey began on 24 October 1772; probably Mozart had been sent the libretto and cast-list for the new Milan opera, Lucio Silla, during the summer, and had also set the recitatives. On his arrival at Milan, these were adjusted to accommodate changes made by the poet, Giovanni de Gamerra. He then wrote the choruses, and composed the arias for the singers in turn, having first heard each of them so that he could suit the music to their voices. The premiere, on 26 December, was a mixed success, chiefly because of a patchy cast; nevertheless, the opera ran for 26 performances.
In January Mozart wrote the solo motet Exsultate, jubilate for the primo uomo in the opera, Venanzio Rauzzini (in Salzburg, about 1780 he revised the motet, probably for the soprano Francesco Ceccarelli to sing at the Dreifaltigkeitskirche; see Munster, I1993). Leopold and Wolfgang arrived back in Salzburg on 13 March 1773. Mozart’s days as a child prodigy were over; although he later travelled to Vienna, Munich and, more importantly, Mannheim and Paris, the 1770s can fairly be described as dominated by his tenure at Salzburg. For the most part, his career as both performer and composer was focussed on his court activities and a small circle of friends and patrons in his native town. Mozart: (3) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 3. Salzburg, 1773–80.
Archbishop Schrattenbach, who died on 16 December 1771, the day after Wolfgang’s return from the second Italian tour, was succeeded in March 1772 by Hieronymus Colloredo. An unpopular choice whose election was bitterly contested, Colloredo sought to modernize the archdiocese on the Viennese model, but his reform, while generally favouring cultural life in the city by attracting numerous prominent writers and scientists, met with local resistance. The court music in particular suffered, and many traditional opportunities for music-making were eliminated: the university theatre, where school dramas (the nearest Salzburg equivalent to opera) had been performed regularly since the 17th century, was closed in 1778; the Mass was generally shortened; restrictions were placed on the performance of purely nstrumental music as well as some instrumentally accompanied sacred vocal music at the cathedral and other churches; and numerous local traditions, including the firing of cannons and the carrying of pictures and statues during church processions as well as the famous pilgrimage to Pinzgau, were abolished. Concerts at court were curtailed; in a letter of 17 September 1778 Leopold Mozart complained: Yesterday I was for the first time [this season] the director of the great concert at court. At present the music ends at around 8. 15. Yesterday it began around 7. 00 and, as I left, 8. 15 struck – thus an hour and a quarter. Generally only four pieces are done: a symphony, an aria, a symphony or concerto, then an aria, and with this, Addio! Certainly these changes profoundly influenced traditional composition and performance in Salzburg. Yet they also encouraged other kinds of musical activity.
In 1775 Colloredo ordered that the Ballhaus in the Hannibalgarten be rebuilt, at the city’s expense, as a theatre for both spoken drama and opera. The first troupe to play there, directed by Carl Wahr, included in its repertory the comedy Der Zerstreute (after J. F. Regnard), with incidental music by Joseph Haydn (Symphony no. 60, ‘Il distratto’), while Gebler’s tragedy Thamos, Konig in Agypten may have been performed with incidental music by Mozart. Schikaneder’s troupe visited in 1780; Mozart composed the aria kAnh. 11a (of which only a fragment survives) for his production of Die zwei schlaftlosen Nachte (Edge, K1996). Private orchestras were also established, the first of them by Colloredo’s nephew, Count Johann Rudolf Czernin.
Nevertheless, Colloredo’s reforms served ultimately to impoverish Salzburg’s musical life, and his policy of promoting Italians at the expense of local German talent – Domenico Fischietti was appointed Kapellmeister in 1772, and Giacomo Rust in 1777 – was a frequent cause for complaint. This may have been a sticking-point for Leopold Mozart in particular, who as deputy Kapellmeister since 1763 had reasonable expectations for promotion; as early as 1763 he had lamented the power and influence of Italian musicians in Germany, attributing his failure to secure an audience with Duke Carl Eugen of Wurttemberg to the intrigues of his Ober-Kapellmeister, Jommelli. In Paris in 1764 he wrote to Hagenauer: ‘If I had one single wish that I could see fulfilled in the course of time, it would be to see Salzburg become a court which made a tremendous sensation in Germany with its own local people’. Mozart composed prolifically uring the early years of Colloredo’s rule: between 1772 and 1774 he wrote the masses k167, 192 and 194, the litanies k125 and 195, the Regina coeli k127, more than a dozen symphonies (from k124 to k202), the Keyboard Concerto k175 (possibly for organ) and the Concertone for two solo violins k190, the serenade k203, the divertimentos k131, 166 and 205 and the Quintet k174 (presumably modelled on similar works by Michael Haydn; see Seiffert, in Eisen and Seiffert, N1994). Financially the family prospered: in late 1773 they moved from their apartment in the Getreidegasse, where they had lodged with the Hagenauers, to a larger one, the so-called Tanzmeisterhaus, in the Hannibalplatz (now the Makartplatz).
No doubt this move reflected Leopold’s consciousness of their status in Salzburg society: the family was socially active, taking part in shooting parties and in constant music-making and often receiving visitors. Nevertheless, encouraged by rumours of a possible opening at the imperial court, Leopold took Wolfgang to Vienna in July 1773. Nothing came of this, but the sojourn, which lasted four months, was a productive one for Mozart: he composed a serenade (k185, possibly intended as a Salzburg Finalmusik) and six string quartets (k168–73). The more intense style of the quartets (two of which, k168 and 173, include fugal finales) has traditionally been attributed to Mozart’s presumed contact with Joseph Haydn’s latest quartets, in particular opp. , 17 and 20, although it is more likely that they reflect common elements of the Viennese quartet at the time (Brown, H1992). Mozart returned from Vienna in late September, and with the exception of three months spent in Munich between December 1774 and March 175 for the composition and premiere of La finta giardiniera, the libretto of which is generally thought to have been prepared by Coltellini after Goldoni, he remained in his native city until September 1777. In the absence of any sustained family correspondence, his activities can only be surmised; no doubt they included performing at court and in the cathedral, frequent musical gatherings at home, considerable social activity and composition.
Among the few documented events of these years are the composition of Il re pastore for the visit to Salzburg of Archduke Maximilian Franz on 23 April 1774 and Mozart’s participation in celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the pilgrimage church at Maria Plain in 1774. It was about this time that Mozart began to withdraw from the Salzburg court music although the root cause of his dissatisfaction remains unclear. The family letters document Leopold’s frustrating inability to find suitable positions for both of them; they frequently complain of longstanding troubles with Colloredo, who is described as rude and insensitive. There was also the irritation of being outdone in the court music by Italians, who were better paid than local musicians. Yet there is no compelling evidence of Colloredo’s mistreatment of the Mozarts early in his rule.
Wolfgang’s serenata Il sogno di Scipione, originally composed for the 50th anniversary of Schrattenbach’s ordination, was reworked early in 1772 and performed as part of the festivities surrounding Colloredo’s enthronement; on 21 August 1772 he was formally taken into the paid employment of the court, as Konzertmeister (a post he had held in an honorary capacity for nearly three years) with an annual salary of 150 gulden, while Leopold continued to run the court music on a periodic basis and was entrusted with securing musicians, music and instruments; and the Mozarts travelled to Italy, Vienna and Munich. Their discontent with Salzburg – and Colloredo’s eventual rejection of them – must therefore have had grounds beyond the conditions of their employment, Colloredo’s difficult personality, his attempts to reform music-making in Salzburg or his general belt-tightening.
No doubt Colloredo was displeased by Leopold’s excessive pride and his superior manner (in November 1766 Leopold had written, ‘after great honours, insolence is absolutely not to be stomached’) and in particular by his continuing attempts to leave the court. Both in Italy (1770–71) and in Vienna (1773) Leopold had attempted to find jobs that would permit the family to leave Salzburg, and not for the first time. As early as 30 October 1762, when he was in Vienna, he wrote a thinly veiled threat to Hagenauer: ‘If only I knew what the future will finally bring. For one thing is certain: I am now in circumstances which allow me to earn my living in Vienna’; and in London he was offered a post that, after much consideration, he rejected.
Leopold frequently wrote of his plans in his letters home, often in cypher, to prevent them from being read and understood by the Salzburg censors. But it is likely that they were well known to Colloredo, who had good connections both in Vienna and in Italy. Maria Theresa’s description of the family as like ‘beggars’ may have represented a common view among some of the European nobility. Mozart’s rejection of court musical life was transparent. He continued to compose church music, the primary duty of all Salzburg composers, but with little enthusiasm: his output between 1775 and 1777, including the masses k220, 257–9, 262 and 275, the litany k243 and the offertory k277, was meagre compared with Michael Haydn’s.
Instead, Mozart established himself as the chief composer in Salzburg of instrumental and secular vocal music. Four violin concertos (k211, 216, 218 and 219; k207 was composed earlier, in 1773) and four keyboard concertos (k238, k242 for three keyboards, k246 for two and k271, presumably for the otherwise unknown French pianist Mlle Jeunehomme), the serenades k204 and 250, the ‘Serenata notturna’ k239 and numerous divertimentos (including k188, 240, 247 and 252) all date from this time; he also composed several arias, including Si mostra la sorte k209, Con ossequio, con rispetto k210, Voi avete un cor fedele k217 and Ombra felice … Io ti lascio k255.
It is likely that Mozart’s cultivation of instrumental music, which in many cases he wrote for private patrons rather than the court, was encouraged by Leopold, who during his heyday had been the most prominent and successful local composer of symphonies and serenades. Yet this may also have been a miscalculation. Leopold apparently failed to recognize that the conditions of musical life in the archdiocese, to say nothing of musical taste, had changed since the 1750s. Matters came to a head in the summer of 1777. In August Mozart wrote a petition asking the archbishop for his release from employment, and Colloredo responded by dismissing both father and son. Leopold, however, felt he could not afford to leave Salzburg, and so Mozart set out with his mother on 23 September.
The purpose of the journey was clear: Mozart was to secure well-paid employment (preferably at Mannheim, which Leopold had described in a letter of 13 November 1777 as ‘that famous court, whose rays, like those of the sun, illuminate the whole of Germany’) so that the family could move. Mozart first called at Munich, where he offered his services to the elector but met with a polite refusal. In Augsburg he gave a concert including several of his recent works and became acquainted with the keyboard instrument maker J. A. Stein; in a letter of 17 October he described Stein’s pianos as damping ever so much better than [Spath’s] instruments. When I strike hard, I can keep my finger on the note or raise it, but the sound ceases the moment I have produced it. In whatever way I touch the keys, the tone is always even. It never jars, it is never stronger or weaker or entirely absent; in a word, it is always even.
He also embarked on a relationship with his cousin, Maria Anna Thekla (the ‘Basle’), with whom he later engaged in a scatological correspondence. Although obscene humour was typical of Salzburg (Mozart’s parents sometimes wrote to each other in a similar vein), Solomon (F1995) has argued that the relationship between Wolfgang and the Basle may have been sexual; Schroder (F1999) offers a more contextualized reading of the letters. From Augsburg Mozart and his mother went on to Mannheim, where they remained until the middle of March. Wolfgang became friendly with the Konzertmeister, Christian Cannabich, the Kapellmeister, Ignaz Holzbauer, and the flautist J. B. Wendling; he recommended himself to the elector but with no success.
His Mannheim compositions included the keyboard sonatas k309 and 311, the Flute Quartet k285, five accompanied sonatas (k296, k301–3, k305, possibly inspired by the sonatas of Joseph Schuster) and two arias, Alcandro lo confesso … Non so d’onde viene k294 and Se al labbro mio non credi … Il cor dolente k295; he was also asked by Ferdinand Dejean, an employee of the Dutch East India Company who had worked in eastern Asia for many years as a physician, to compose three flute concertos and two flute quartets, but in the event failed to fulfil the commission and may have written only a single quartet. The aria k294 was composed for Aloysia Lange, the daughter of the Mannheim copyist Fridolin Weber.
Mozart, who was in love with Aloysia, put to Leopold the idea of taking her to Italy to become a prima donna, but this proposal infuriated his father, who accused him of dilatoriness, irresponsibility over money and family disloyalty. In a letter of 11–12 February 1778, Leopold ordered his son to Paris; at this time it was also decided that his mother should continue to accompany him, rather than return to Salzburg, a decision that was to have far-reaching consequences for both father and son. Wolfgang arrived in Paris on 23 March and immediately re-established his acquaintance with Grimm. He composed additional music, mainly choruses (kA1), for a performance of a Miserere by Holzbauer and, according to his letters home – which are less than entirely truthful – a sinfonia concertante kAnh. 9/297B, for flute, oboe, bassoon and horn.
Like the Miserere choruses, the sinfonia concertante, allegedly suppressed by Joseph Legros, is lost (the convoluted history of this work, and the possibility that part of it survives in kAnh. 9/C14. 01, is described in Levin, M1988). A symphony (k297) was performed at the Concert Spirituel on 18 June and repeated several times (as described in his letters, Mozart composed two slow movements, of which the one in 6/8 is probably the original), while a group of ballet pieces, Les petits riens, composed for Noverre, was given with Piccinni’s opera Le finte gemelle. Mozart was unhappy in Paris: he claimed to have been offered, but to have declined, the post of organist at Versailles, and his letters make it clear that he despised French music and suspected malicious intrigue.
He was not paid for a flute and harp concerto (k299) that he had composed in April for the Court of Guines, and his mother fell ill about mid-June. Although Grimm’s doctor was called in to treat her, nothing could be done and she died on 3 July. Mozart wrote to his father to say that she was critically ill, and by the same post to Abbe Bullinger, a close friend in Salzburg, telling him what had happened; Leopold was thus prepared when Bullinger broke the news to him. These events triggered another round of incriminating letters: Leopold accused Mozart of indolence, lying and improper attention to his mother; for his part Mozart defended himself as best he could.
Although this correspondence is frequently taken to represent the first – and most compelling – evidence of an irreparable fissure in the relationship between Wolfgang and his father, it reflects more on their attempts to come to grips with an overwhelming family tragedy. Leopold’s implicit suggestion that Mozart was partly responsible for his mother’s death cannot be taken seriously. Stuck in Salzburg, grieving for his wife and worrying about his son, Leopold must have felt himself a helpless bystander; his only recourse was by letter, after the event. Not surprisingly, he sometimes wrote insensitively and hurtfully. His uncompromising devotion to Mozart, however, was never in question.
It is significant – given his belief in the fragility of existence (see especially Halliwell, F1998) – that in his first letter to Wolfgang after learning of Maria Anna’s death, he does not lay blame but is concerned chiefly with his son’s well-being. Mozart stayed with Grimm for the remainder of the summer. He had another symphony given at the Concert Spirituel, on 8 September (his claim in a letter of 11 September that it was a new work appears to be untrue), and renewed his acquaintance with J. C. Bach, who had come over from London to hear the Paris singers before composing the opera Amadis de Gaule. Mozart also wrote a scena, now lost, for the castrato Tenducci.
But his friendship with Grimm, to whom he owned money, deteriorated, and on 31 August Leopold wrote to inform him that, following the death of Adlgasser, a post was open to him in Salzburg, as court organist with accompanying duties rather than as violinist; the archbishop had offered an increase in salary and generous leave. Mozart set out for home on 26 September. Grimm put him on the slow coach through Nancy, and Strasbourg to Mannheim, where he heard Benda’s melodrama Medea and resolved to write one himself (the work, Semiramis, if started, was never performed and is now lost; Mozart later wrote a melodrama for the incomplete Singspiel Zaide). Leopold, however, was infuriated that Mozart had gone to Mannheim, where, since the removal of Carl Theodor’s court to Munich, there were no opportunities for advancement. Mozart reached Munich on 25 December and remained there until 11 January; he was coolly received by Aloysia Weber, now singing in the court opera.
Finally, in the third week of January 1779, he arrived back in Salzburg. Immediately on his return Mozart formally petitioned the archbishop for his new appointment as court organist. His duties included playing in the cathedral, at court and in the chapel, and instructing the choirboys. Reinstated under favourable conditions, he seems at first to have carried out his duties with determination: in 1779–80 he composed the ‘Coronation’ Mass k317, the Missa solemnis k337, the vespers settings k321 and 339 and the Regina coeli k276. Nevertheless, Colloredo was not satisfied: in an ambiguously worded document appointing Michael Haydn court and cathedral organist in 1782 he wrote: ‘we accordingly appoint [J. M.
Haydn] as our court and cathedral organist, in the same fashion as young Mozart was obligated, with the additional stipulation that he show more diligence … and compose more often for our cathedral and chamber music’. The cause of Colloredo’s dissatisfaction may have lain in Mozart’s other works of the time: the Concerto for two pianos k365, the Sonata for piano and violin k378, the symphonies k318, 319 and 338, the ‘Posthorn’ Serenade k320 (fig. 5), the Divertimento, k334 the Sinfonia concertante for violin and viola k364, incidental music for Thamos, Konig in Agypten and Zaide. Few of these works would have been heard at court, where instrumental music was little favoured; the production of theatrical music was the domain of the civil authorities.
Mozart’s contract with Colloredo did not specify his compositional obligations as a composer: it stated only that ‘he shall as far as possible serve the court and the church with new compositions made by him’. As Colloredo’s criticism makes clear, however, he expected Mozart to take a more active role in the court music. During his final years in Salzburg, then, Mozart reverted to the pattern of 1774–7: he put in appearances at court as both performer and composer, but half-heartedly; his music-making was intended instead chiefly for a small circle of friends and the local nobility. Mozart: (3) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 4. The break with Salzburg and the early Viennese years, 1780–83.
In the summer of 1780, Mozart received a commission to compose a serious opera for Munich, and the Salzburg cleric Giovanni Battista Varesco was engaged to prepare a libretto based on Danchet’s Idomenee. The plot concerns King Idomeneus of Crete, who promises Neptune that if spared from a shipwreck he will sacrifice the first person he sees and is met on landing by his son Idamantes. Mozart began to set the text in Salzburg; he already knew several of the singers, from Mannheim, and could draft some of the arias in advance. Mozart arrived in Munich on 6 November 1780. Both the performing score of the opera (not taken into consideration by the Neue Mozart-Ausgabe; see Munster, J1982) and Mozart’s letters to his father, who was in close touch with Varesco, offer insights into the genesis of the work and its modification during rehearsal.
The matters that chiefly occupied Mozart were, first, the need to prune an overlong text; secondly, the need to make the action more natural; and third, the need to accommodate the strengths and weaknesses of the singers. Several cuts were made in December, during rehearsals, and Mozart continued to trim the score even after the libretto was sent to the printer at the beginning of January; a second libretto was printed to show the final text (although in the event still more adjustments were made, as the performing score makes clear). Much of the secco and accompanied recitative was cut, as well as sections of the ceremonial choral scenes and probably three arias in the last act. In a letter of 15 November to his father, Mozart described his concerns for both dramatic credibility and the singers’ capabilities: [Raaff] was with me yesterday.
I ran through his first aria for him and he was very well pleased with it. Well – the man is old and can no longer show off in such an aria as that in Act 2 – ‘Fuor del mar ho un mar nel seno’. So, as he has no aria in Act 3 and as his aria in Act 1, owing to the expression of the words, cannot be as cantabile as he would like, he wishes to have a pretty one to sing (instead of the quartet) after his last speech, ‘O Creta fortunata! O me felice! ’ Thus too a useless piece will be got rid of – and Act 3 will be far more effective. In the last scene of Act 2 Idomeneo has an aria or rather a sort of cavatina between the choruses. Here it will be better to have a mere recitative, well supported by the instruments.
For in this scene which will be the finest in the whole opera … there will be so much noise and confusion on the stage that an aria at this particular point would cut a poor figure – and moreover there is the thunderstorm, which is not likely to subside during Herr Raaff’s aria, is it? The opera was first given on 29 January 1781, with considerable success. Both Leopold and Nannerl, who had travelled from Salzburg, were in attendance, and the family remained in Munich until mid-March. During this time Mozart composed the recitative and aria Misera! dove son … Ah! non son’ io che parlo k369, the Oboe Quartet k370 and possibly three piano sonatas (k330–32 although these many equally date from his first month in Vienna).
On 12 March Mozart was summoned to Vienna, where Archbishop Colloredo and his retinue were temporarily in residence for the celebrations of the accession of Emperor Joseph II; he arrived on 16 March, lodging with the archbishop’s entourage. Fresh from his triumphs in Munich, Mozart was offended at being treated like a servant, and the letters that he wrote home over the next three months reflect not only increasing irritation and resentment – on 8 April the archbishop refused to allow him to perform for the emperor at Countess Thun’s and thereby earn the equivalent of half his annual Salzburg salary – but also a growing enthusiasm for the possibility of earning his living, at least temporarily, as a freelance in Vienna.
Matters came to a head on 9 May: at a stormy interview with Colloredo, Mozart asked for his discharge. At first he was refused, but at a meeting with the chief steward, Count Arco, on 8 June, he was finally and decisively released from Salzburg service, ‘with a kick on my arse … by order of our worthy Prince Archbishop’ (letter of 9 June 1781). About this time Mozart moved to the house of the Webers, his former Mannheim friends, who had moved to Vienna after Aloysia’s marriage to the court actor Joseph Lange, although in order to scotch rumours linking him with the third daughter, Constanze, he moved again in late August to a room in the Graben.
He made a modest living at first, teaching three or four pupils, among them Josepha von Auernhammer (for whom he wrote the Sonata for two pianos k448) and Marie Karoline, Countess Thiennes de Rumbeke, cousin of Count Johann Phillipp von Cobenzl, the court vice-chancellor and chancellor of state (whom Mozart had met in Brussels in autumn 1763). He also participated in, or had works performed at, various concerts: the Tonkunstler-Societat gave one of his symphonies on 3 April (Mozart later applied for membership in the society, which provided pensions and benefits for the widows and orphans of Viennese musicians, but he failed to provide a birth certificate and his application was never approved); and on 23 November he played at a concert sponsored by Johann Michael von Auernhammer.
Later Mozart participated in a series of Augarten concerts promoted by Philipp Jakob Martin. At the first of these, on 26 May 1782, he played a two-piano concerto with Josepha von Auernhammer (the programme also included a symphony by him). Mozart’s own first public concert took place on 3 March 1782, possibly at the Burgtheater. The programme included the concertos k175 (with the newly composed finale k382) and k415, numbers from Lucio Silla and Idomeneo, and a free fantasy; on 23 March Mozart wrote to his father that the new concerto finale was ‘making … a furore in Vienna’. During this period he also played regularly at the home of Baron Gottfried van Swieten, where Handel and Bach were staples of the repertory.
By the end of 1781, Mozart had established himself as the finest keyboard player in Vienna; although he was not without competitors, few could match his pianistic feats. The most serious challenge, perhaps, came from Clementi, with whom Mozart played in an informal contest at Emperor Joseph II’s instigation on 24 December. Clearly Mozart was perturbed by the event: although he was judged to have won, and Clementi later spoke generously of his playing, Mozart in his letters repeatedly disparaged the Italian pianist. It is likely that Clementi’s skill took Mozart by surprise; the emperor must have been impressed as well, for he continued to speak of the contest for more than a year.
That same month saw the appearance of Mozart’s first Viennese publication, a set of six keyboard and violin sonatas (k296 and 376–80, of which two, k296 and 378 had been composed earlier). They were well received; a review in C. F. Cramer’s Magazin der Musik (4 April 1783) described them as ‘unique of their kind. Rich in new ideas and traces of their author’s great musical genius’. The most important composition of this period, however, was Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail, the libretto of which was given to Mozart at the end of July 1781. Originally planned for September, the premiere was postponed until the following summer (Mozart had completed the first act in August 1781).
The opera was a great success: Gluck requested an extra performance, Schikaneder’s troupe mounted an independent production in September 1784 (although the aria ‘Martern aller Arten’ was replaced because the orchestra was incapable of performing the obbligato solos), and productions were soon mounted in cities throughout German-speaking Europe. The earliest lengthy obituary of Mozart, in the Musikalische Korrespondenz der Teutschen Filarmonischen Gesellschaft of 4 January 1792, described the work as ‘the pedestal upon which his fame was erected’. In his letters to Leopold, Mozart described in detail several of his decisions in composing the opera.
He wrote on 26 September 1781: in the original libretto Osmin has only [one] short song and nothing else to sing, except in the trio and the finale; so he has been given an aria in Act 1, and he is to have another in Act 2. I have explained to Stephanie the words I require for the aria [‘Solche hergelaufne Laffen’] – indeed, I had finished composing most of the music for it before Stephanie knew anything whatever about it. I am enclosing only the beginning and the end, which is bound to have a good effect. Osmin’s rage is rendered comical by the use of the Turkish music. In working out the aria I have … allowed Fischer’s beautiful deep notes to glow.
The passage ‘Drum beim Barte des Propheten’ is indeed in the same tempo, but with quick notes; and as Osmin’s rage gradually increases, there comes (just when the aria seems to be at an end) the Allegro assai, which is in a totally different metre and in a different key; this is bound to be very effective. For just as a man in such a towering rage oversteps all the bounds of order, moderation and propriety and completely forgets himself, so must the music too forget itself. But since passions, whether violent or not, must never be expressed to the point of exciting disgust, and as music, even in the most terrible situation, must never offend the ear, but must please the listener, or in other words must never cease to be music, so I have not chosen a key foreign to F (in which the aria is written) but one elated to it – not the nearest, D minor, but the more remote A minor. Let me now turn to Belmonte’s aria in A major, ‘O wie angstlich, o wie feurig’. Would you like to know how I have expressed it – and even indicated his throbbing heart? By the two violins playing in octaves. This is the favourite aria of all who have heard it, and it is mine also. I wrote it expressly to suit Adamberger’s voice. You see the trembling, the faltering, you see how his throbbing breast begins to swell; this I have expressed by a crescendo. You hear the whispering and the sighing – which I have indicated by the first violins with mutes and a flute playing in unison.
Mozart had already described his concern for naturalness, in both composition and performance, in a letter written in Paris on 12 June 1778: Meis[s]ner, as you know, has the bad habit of making his voice tremble at times, turning a note that should be sustained into distinct crotchets, or even quavers – and this I never could endure in him. And really it is a detestable habit and one that is quite contrary to nature. The human voice trembles naturally – but in its own way – and only to such a degree that the effect is beautiful. Such is the nature of the voice; and people imitate it not only on wind instruments, but on string instruments too and even on the keyboard. But the moment the proper limit is overstepped, it is no longer beautiful – because it is contrary to nature.
Shortly after the premiere of Die Entfuhrung, on 16 July, Mozart decided to go forward with his marriage to Constanze Weber, which he had first mooted to his father the previous December. Events gave him little choice: probably through his future mother-in-law’s scheming, he was placed in a position where because of his alleged intimacy with Constanze he was required to agree to marry her or to compensate her. Mozart wrote to his father on 31 July 1782, asking for his approval, on 2 August the couple took communion together, on 3 August the contract was signed, and on 4 August they were married at the Stephansdom. Leopold’s grudging consent did not arrive until the next day. The marriage appears to have been a happy one.
Although Mozart described Constanze as lacking wit, he also credited her with ‘plenty of common sense and the kindest heart in the world’, and his letters to her, especially those written when he was on tour in 1789 and when she was taking the cure at Baden in 1791, are full of affection. There is little reason to imagine that she was solely, or even primarily, to blame for their chronic financial troubles, which surfaced only weeks after their marriage; the truth probably lies somewhere nearer Nannerl’s statement, in 1792, that Mozart was incapable of managing his own financial affairs and that Constanze was unable to help him. Mozart’s departure from Salzburg, and his wedding to Constanze, triggered another acrimonious exchange with Leopold (whose letters from this period are lost, but their contents can be inferred from Mozart’s).
Leopold accused Wolfgang of concealing his affair with Constanze and, worse, of being a dupe, while Wolfgang, for his part, became increasingly anxious to defend his honour against reproaches of improper behaviour and his alleged failure to attend to his religious observations; he chastised his father for withholding consent to his marriage and for his lukewarm reaction to the success of Die Entfuhrung. Mozart had reason to be upset: not only had Leopold repeatedly pressed him to return home, but in his dealings with Colloredo Mozart had been told by Count Arco that he could not leave his post without his father’s permission. Despite his numerous successes in Vienna, he felt thwarted in his attempt to achieve a well-earned independence. Presumably in order to heal the rift with his family, Mozart determined to take Constanze to Salzburg to meet his father and sister, although to Leopold’s irritation the visit was several times postponed.
The success of Die Entfuhrung had catapulted Mozart to prominence: the opera was performed at the Burgtheater on 8 October, in the presence of the visiting Russian Grand Duke Paul Petrovich (Mozart directed from the keyboard, as he explained in a letter of 19 October 1782, ‘partly to rouse the orchestra, who had gone to sleep a little, partly … in order to appear before the royal guests as the father of my child’); and between November and March 1783 he played at concerts sponsored by Auernhammer (at the Karntnertortheater), the Russian Prince Dmitry Golitsin, Countess Maria Thun, Philipp Jakob Martin (at the casino ‘Zur Mehlgrube’), his sister-in-law Aloysia Lange (at the Burgtheater; according to Mozart’s letter of 12 March, Gluck, who attended, ‘could not praise the symphony and aria too much’), Count Esterhazy and the singer Therese Teyber. On 23 March Mozart gave his own academy at the Burgtheater, in the presence of the emperor.
The programme may have included the Haffner Symphony k385 (composed in July 1782 to celebrate the ennoblement in Salzburg of Siegmund Haffner) and improvised variations on an aria from Gluck’s La rencontre imprevue. Mozart composed several new works for these occasions, including the piano concertos k413–15, later published by Artaria (although Mozart may not have conceived them as a set, the autographs show that some time in the spring of 1783 he thoroughly revised all three together), and three arias, k418–20, intended for a production of Pasquale Anfossi’s Il curioso indiscreto at the Burgtheater on 30 June 1783. He also began work on the so-called ‘Haydn’ quartets.
The first, k387, was completed in December 1782; the second, k421, was finished in June 1783, while Constanze was giving birth to their first child, Raimund Leopold, born on 17 June. (Mozart and Constanze had six children, four of whom died in infancy: Raimund Leopold (1783), (5) Karl Thomas, Johann Thomas Leopold (1786), Theresia (1787–8), Anna Maria (1789) and (6) Franz Xaver Wolfgang. ) Mozart and Constanze eventually set out in July (Raimund Leopold, who was left behind, died on 9 August); they remained in Salzburg for about three months. Later correspondence suggests that the visit was not entirely happy – Mozart was anxious about the success of the visit and about his father’s reaction to Constanze – but details are lacking.
While there, he probably composed his two violin-viola duos for Michael Haydn, who was behindhand with a commission from the archbishop, and parts of the Mass in C minor (k427, never completed) had their first hearing, possibly with Constanze singing, at St Peter’s on 26 October. On the return journey to Vienna, Mozart paused at Linz, where he composed a symphony (k425) for a concert; the Piano Sonata k333 may also date from this time. Mozart: (3) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 5. Vienna, 1784–8. With his return to Vienna in late November 1783, Mozart entered on what were to be the busiest and most successful years of his life. On 22 December he performed a concerto in a concert mounted by the Tonkunstler-Societat, and on 25 January 1784 he conducted a performance of Die Entfuhrung for the benefit of Aloysia Lange.
He gave three subscription concerts in the private hall of the Trattnerhof in March, and a grand musical academy at the Burgtheater on 1 April; the programme included a ‘quite new’ symphony, possibly the Linz (k425), a new concerto (k450 or 451), the Quintet for piano and wind (k452) and an improvisation. The 1785 season was similar: there where six subscription concerts at the Mehlgrube beginning on 11 February (including the first performance of the D minor Concerto k466) and another grand academy at the Burgtheater on 10 March. It was chiefly for these concerts that, between February 1784 and December 1786, Mozart composed a dozen piano concertos (from k449 to k503), unquestionably the most important works of their kind.
Perhaps in recognition of his risen star, in February 1784 Mozart started keeping a list of his new works, the Verzeichnuss aller meiner Werke, recording the incipit and the date of each (see fig. 6). The catalogue is a primary source of information concerning Mozart’s compositional activities during the 1780s, documenting among other things several lost compositions, including the aria Ohne Zwang, aus eignem Triebe k569, the contredanses k565 and an Andante for a violin concerto k470. In addition to his public performances, Mozart was also in demand for private concerts: in March 1784 alone he played 13 times, mostly at the houses of Count Johann Esterhazy and the Russian ambassador, Prince Golitsin.
By the same token, visiting and local virtuosos and concert organizations frequently gave newly commissioned works by him in their programmes: on 23 March the clarinettist Anton Stadler mounted a performance of the Wind Serenade k361, and on 29 April Mozart and the violinist Regina Strinasacchi played the Sonata k454. (Mozart is said to have performed from a blank or fragmentary copy; it is clear from the autograph that the violin part was written first and the piano one added later. ) The Tonkunstler-Societat gave the cantata Davidde penitente (k469, arranged from the unfinished Mass in C minor k427) in March 1785; Mozart played a concerto for the same group in December. These works and performances brought Mozart considerable acclaim.
A review of the December Tonkunstler-Societat concert noted ‘the deserved fame of this master, as well known as he is universally valued’ (Wiener Zeitung, 24 December). Earlier that year Leopold Mozart, who visited Wolfgang in Vienna in February and March 1785, wrote to Nannerl describing a quartet party at Mozart’s home at which Haydn told him, ‘Before God and as an honest man I tell you that your son is the greatest composer known to me either in person or by name. He has taste and, what is more, the most profound knowledge of composition’. His publications were numerous. Torricella brought out the three sonatas k333, k284 and k454; in July 1784 Lausch advertised manuscript copies of six piano concertos; and in February 1785 Traeg offered copies of three symphonies.
The most significant publications, however, were possibly the three concertos k413–15, published by Artaria in March 1785, and the six quartets dedicated to Haydn, brought out by Artaria in September of that year. The success of these works seems to have brought about a fundamental shift in Mozart’s attitude to composition and publishing. After mid-1786, several works were planned primarily with a view to publication rather than public performance; these include the piano quartets k478 and 493, the three piano trios k496, 542 and 548, the C major and G minor string quintets k515 and 516, the Hoffmeister Quartet k499 and the Sonata for piano and violin k526.
Although opera remained central to Mozart’s ambitions throughout this period, there was no opportunity to build on the success of Die Entfuhrung: by late 1782, Joseph II decided to close down the Nationaltheater (which he had founded in 1776 to promote German-language culture) and to re-establish Italian opera. Mozart was quick to capitalize on the change, although he had little luck in finding a suitable text; on 7 May 1783 he wrote to his father, ‘I have looked through at least a hundred librettos and more, but I have scarcely found a single one with which I am satisfied’. He therefore asked Leopold to have Varesco, the Salzburg poet and librettist of Idomeneo, provide a text.
This was L’oca del Cairo, which Mozart received from Salzburg in June 1783. He may have worked on it during his visit to Salzburg, but the project was apparently abandoned by the end of the year, by which time he had sketched out seven pieces, including a large sectional finale. In 1785, or possibly earlier, he began work on Lo sposo deluso, ossia La rivalita di tre donne per un solo amante, which he based on the libretto used by Cimarosa for his opera Le donne rivali of 1780 (see Zaslaw, in Sadie, B1996), but this too was left incomplete: of the five surviving numbers – an overture, a quartet, a trio and two arias – only the trio, ‘Che accidenti, che tragedia’, is completely orchestrated.
A one-act comedy, Der Schauspieldirektor k486, was given early in 1786 in the Orangery at Schloss Schonbrunn, together with Salieri’s Prima la musica e poi le parole (both were commissioned for a visit by the Governor-General of the Austrian Netherlands), and in March a private performance of a revised version of Idomeneo was given at Prince Auersperg’s; among other changes, Mozart wrote the duet ‘Spiegarti non poss’io’ (k489) to replace ‘S’io non moro a questi accenti’ and the scena and rondo ‘Non piu, tutto ascoltai … Non temer, amato bene’ (k490) to replace the original beginning of Act 2. The topic of Mozart’s first documented collaboration with Lorenzo da Ponte, Le nozze di Figaro (fig. 7) was no doubt carefully chosen: Beaumarchais’ play, La folle journee, ou Le mariage de Figaro, had been printed in German translation in Vienna in 1785, although performances by Schikaneder’s theatrical company had been banned; further, it was a sequel to Beaumarchais’ Le barbier de Seville, ou La precaution inutile, of which Paisiello’s operatic version, given at Vienna in May 1784, had been a great success.
Work on Figaro was started by October or November 1785, and the opera came to the stage of the Burgtheater on 1 May 1786. The initial run was a success: many items were applauded and encored at the first three performances, prompting the emperor to restrict encores at later ones to the arias. Letters from Leopold to Nannerl Mozart make it clear that there was a good deal of intrigue against the work, allegedly by Salieri and Vincenzo Righini, while a pamphlet published in Vienna in 1786 (Ueber des deutsche Singspiel des Apotheker des Hrn. v. Dittersdorf; see Eisen, A1991) similarly claims that ‘[The foreign partisans] … have completely lost their wager, for Mozart’s Nozze di Figaro … [has] put to shame the ridiculous pride of this fashionable sect’.
An equally biting comment appeared in the Wiener Zeitung for 11 July: ‘Herr Mozart’s music was generally admired by connoisseurs already at the first performance, if I except only those whose self-love and conceit will not allow them to find merit in anything not written by themselves’. The allegedly seditious politics of the opera may be overstated: Da Ponte was careful to remove the more inflammatory elements of Beaumarchais’ play, and the characters and events of the opera are well situated within the commedia dell’arte tradition. Nevertheless, social tensions remain, as in Figaro’s ‘Se vuol ballare’, the Act 2 finale, and the Count’s music early in Act 3.
Individual arias also reflect the social standing of the various characters: this may be exemplified by a comparison of Bartolo’s blustery, parodistic vengeance aria ‘La vendetta’ and the Count’s ‘Vedro, mentr’io sospiro’, with its overtones of power and menace, or between the breadth and smoothness of the Countess’s phraseology as opposed to Susanna’s. Ultimately, however, Figaro may be no more than a comic domestic drama, though not without reflecting contemporary concerns about gender and society (see Hunter, J1999). The presumed political implications of Mozart’s masonic activities may also be overstated. On 11 December 1784 he had become a freemason at the lodge ‘Zur Wohlthatigkeit’ (‘Beneficence’), which in 1786, at Joseph II’s orders, was amalgamated with the lodges ‘Zur gekronten Hoffnung’ (‘Crowned Hope’) and ‘Drei Feuern’ (‘Three Fires’) into ‘Zur neugrekronten Hoffnung’ (‘New Crowned Hope’) under the leadership of the well-known scientist Ignaz von Born.
The society was essentially one of liberal intellectuals, concerned less with political ideals than with the philosophical ones of the Enlightenment, including nature, reason and the brotherhood of man; the organization was not anti-religious, and membership was compatible with Mozart’s faith (Landon, G1982, suggests that an anonymous oil painting showing a meeting of a Viennese lodge includes, in the lower right corner, a portrait of Mozart; fig. 8). Mozart frequently composed for masonic meetings: the cantata Die Maurerfreude k471, for tenor, male chorus and orchestra, was written to honour Born, and various versions of the Maurerische Trauermusik k477 were given in 1786 (Autexier, L1984); several songs and other occasional works, too, were composed for lodge meetings.
The masonic style is not restricted to music intended exclusively for lodge performance, but appears elsewhere in Mozart’s works, with respect to both general themes, as in Die Zauberflote, and specific musical constructions: Sarastro’s aria ‘O Isis und Osiris’, with its strophic, antiphonal structure, is identical in form with other Viennese masonic songs of the 1780s. Mozart had first made his way in Vienna by taking pupils, and he continued to do so throughout the mid-1780s: the most important of these was Johann Nepomuk Hummel, who lodged with him between 1786 and 1788. Mozart also taught the English composer Thomas Attwood, whose surviving exercises (now in GB-Lbl; ed. in NMA, X:30/i) testify to Mozart’s careful, systematic teaching methods, and perhaps carry hints as to how Mozart himself had been taught (see Heartz, H1974).
The ‘English’ connection was already strong at the time of Figaro: the first Don Curzio was Michael Kelly (in fact an Irishman), and the first Susanna the soprano Nancy Storace; it is likely that Nancy’s brother, Stephen – who later pilfered part of the ‘Rondo alla turca’ of the Sonata k331 in his opera The Siege of Belgrade – also consulted informally with Mozart on matters of composition. (After his return to London, Storace prepared a series of publications which included in 1789 the first edition of the Piano Trio k564, in a text that differs from the first Viennese edition of 1790; he probably received a copy of the work from Mozart himself. The impending departure of the English contingent from Vienna, planned for the spring of 1787, led Mozart to consider a journey to London during late 1786, but that idea foundered when Leopold took a strong stand against the proposed journey and refused to look after Mozart’s children (of Mozart’s six children, only two, Carl, born in 1784, and Franz Xaver, born in 1791, survived to adulthood). Mozart did, however, accept an invitation to Prague, where Figaro had been a great success. He spent approximately four weeks there, from 11 January 1787, and clearly relished his popularity in the city. He directed a performance of Figaro and gave a concert including a new symphony written for the occasion (the Prague, k504 – there is reason to believe that Mozart originally intended to perform the Paris Symphony with a new finale, but, having written it, decided to compose an entirely new symphony altogether; see Tyson, D1987).
And it was about this time that the Prague impresario Pasquale Bondini commissioned Mozart to write an opera for the following autumn. On his return to Vienna, Mozart asked Da Ponte for another libretto. The plot of Don Giovanni, based like that of Figaro on tensions of class and sex, dates back at least to the time of Tirso de Molina (1584–1648), although Da Ponte drew on the most recent stage version, a one-act opera with music by Giuseppe Gazzaniga and a libretto by Giovanni Bertati, given in Venice in February 1787. Mozart left for Prague on 1 October; the premiere was planned for 14 October 1787, but because of inadequate preparation, Figaro was given instead and the new opera was postponed until 29 October, when it earned a warm reception.
Mozart directed three or four performances before returning to Vienna in mid-November. During this time he also visited his friends the Duseks at their villa outside Prague; he wrote the difficult aria Bella mia fiamma k528 for Josefa, an old Salzburg friend. Don Giovanni was staged in Vienna in May 1788, with several adaptations: Leporello’s escape aria in Act 2 was replaced by a duet with Zerlina; Ottavio’s ‘Il mio tesoro’ in Act 2 was replaced by ‘Dalla sua pace’ in Act 1, and Elvira was given a magnificent accompanied recitative and aria, ‘In quali eccessi … Mi tradi quell’alma ingrata’. The two Da Ponte operas, along with the increasing success of is publications, initiated a new phase in Mozart’s career. Not only did he now give fewer concerts – a grand academy at the Burgtheater on 7 April 1786, less than a month before the premiere of Figaro, was his last in that venue (the programme probably included the C minor Piano Concerto k491) – but other genres came to the fore in his output, including the symphony. The final symphonic triptych, composed between June and August 1788, was apparently intended for a concert series that autumn (Eisen, L1997); it is striking that Mozart chose these works, rather than concertos, for what may have been his first public concert appearance in two years.
Whether these changes were also related to Mozart’s appointment the previous December as court Kammermusicus, however, is unclear. Apparently he was required to do little more than write dances for court balls; nevertheless, Mozart welcomed the appointment, both for the dependable income it provided and for its advancement of his standing in Viennese musical circles. There is little reason to think that the relatively small salary of 800 gulden (Gluck, the previous incumbent, was paid 2000 gulden) was an insult to Mozart, for the post was superfluous to begin with; Joseph II later remarked that he had created the vacancy solely to keep Mozart in Vienna.
The death of Leopold Mozart in May 1787 may have initiated a fallow period for the composer, albeit at some months’ distance: Mozart wrote relatively few works immediately following the Prague premiere of Don Giovanni, among them dances and piano music, songs and arias and at least part of a piano concerto (k537) in addition to the three new items for the Viennese premiere of his opera. A similar fallow period had followed the death of his mother in Paris in July 1778. Leopold’s death also marked the final breakdown of the Salzburg Mozart family. Only Nannerl, who in 1784 had married the magistrate Johann Baptist Franz von Berchtold zu Sonnenburg and moved to St Gilgen, remained, and except for settling their father’s estate, Mozart apparently failed to keep in contact with her (his last known letter to her is dated 2 August 1788).
Nannerl was hurt by Mozart’s lack of attention, so much so that when asked in 1792 to describe his life in Vienna, she pleaded ignorance, despite the fact that she had become personally acquainted with Constanze in 1783 and still had in her possession numerous letters from her father, many of them detailing Mozart’s activities at the time. Mozart: (3) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 6. The final years. Mozart’s financial circumstances in Vienna can be measured in part by the locations and sizes of the numerous lodgings he rented there. In January 1784 he moved to the Trattnerhof, and in September of that year to an apartment, now Domgasse 5, in the heart of the town, close to the Stephansdom. By mid-1788, however, he had removed to the distant suburb of Alsergrund, where rents were considerably cheaper. It is from this time that a dismal series of begging letters to his fellow freemason Michael Puchberg survives.
One refers to the poor response to his string quintet subscription, another to embarrassing debts to a former landlord, and a third to dealings with a pawnbroker; the letters continued well into 1790. Mozart’s finances during the Vienna years must be counted a mystery. Although he was never forced to do without a maid or other luxuries typical of a person of his standing, his finances were unstable. Estimates of his earnings are at best incomplete and unreliable. His main sources of income included profits from his public concerts and payments from private patrons; money earned from teaching; honoraria for publications; and, from 1788, his salary as court Kammermusicus. During his early years in Vienna Mozart’s performances represented a good source of income.
His subscription series of 1784 attracted well over 100 patrons at 6 gulden for three concerts, and, according to Leopold, he took in 559 gulden from his Burgtheater academy on 10 March 1785. He also must have received cash or other rewards from the princes Esterhazy and Golitsin, at whose homes he frequently performed; for his contest with Clementi Joseph II gave him 50 ducats. After 1786, however, this concert-giving income largely disappeared. Teaching provided less, although Mozart enterprisingly formulated a scheme to ensure some regularity of payment, which he described to his father in a letter of 23 January 1782: ‘I no longer charge for 12 lessons, but monthly. I learnt to my cost that my pupils often dropped out for weeks at a time; so now, whether they learn or not, each of them must pay me 6 ducats’.
Publications may also have brought in substantial sums, although the payment of 450 gulden that Mozart received from Artaria for the six quartets dedicated to Haydn was exceptional; he received less for the symphonies and the sonatas, quintets and other chamber works printed during the 1780s. On occasion he acted as his own publisher, sometimes with sorry results: a subscription for his string quintets in 1788 apparently failed. In 1791, however, he apparently sold copies of Die Zauberflote for 100 gulden each. For the composition of an opera Mozart generally received 450 gulden; payments of this amount are documented for Die Entfuhrung, Figaro and La clemenza di Tito (for Cosi fan tutte see below); his share of the profit from Die Zauberflote, however, is unknown. Mozart’s day-to-day expenses, on the other hand, have been little explored.
In addition to rent and food, his income had to cover substantial medical bills (chiefly resulting from Constanze’s frequent cures), child-rearing expenses and a costly wardrobe (only some of the prices he paid for maintaining his standing in Vennese society, though gladly it seems). By all accounts he was generous to his friends, sometimes lending them money. Other expenses on other items must be taken into consideration as well, among them books, music and manuscript paper. Documents show that Mozart was in debt to the publisher Artaria throughout the 1780s, although it is unclear whether this represents monies owed before or after honoraria paid by Artaria for his published works (Ridgewell, G1999). The estate documents are difficult to interpret.
Mozart was in debt at the time of his death, but not to an excessive degree: the value of his estate, less than 600 gulden, was set against debts of about 900 gulden. However, this does not take into account a judgment of more than 1400 gulden awarded by the courts in November 1791 to Prince Karl Lichnowsky, who had sued Mozart, for unknown reasons (details of the affair and its resolution are known only summarily from an account in the Viennese archives; see Brauneis, G1991). Nevertheless, Constanze managed not only to pay off Mozart’s debts but also to collect the value of the estate. It may be that she was provided for by Mozart’s friends and patrons, chief among them van Swieten, or that her finances were secured by the sale of Mozart’s music and the income from numerous benefit concerts.
Between 1788 and 1790, van Swieten contributed to Mozart’s welfare by having him arrange for private performance several works by Handel, including Acis and Galatea (k566, November 1788), Messiah (k572, March 1789) and Alexander’s Feast and the Ode for St Cecilia’s Day (k591 and 592, both July 1790). But the situation in Vienna at the time was complicated by the Turkish war. One effect of this campaign was a general decline in musical patronage during 1788 and 1789, with fewer concerts than there had been earlier in the 1780s. (The war did provide Mozart with opportunities for composition, however, including the ‘Kriegslied’ Ich mochte wohl der Kaiser sein k539 and the works for mechanical organ, k594, 608 and 616, presumably composed for performance at a mausoleum established in memory of Field Marshal Gideon Laudon, hero of the Siege of Belgrade. Perhaps in an effort to alleviate his financial woes, or even to escape what he may have perceived as an oppressive Viennese atmosphere, Mozart undertook a concert tour of Leipzig, Dresden and Berlin in the late spring of 1789. Details of the journey are scarce. At Dresden he played chamber music privately and performed at court, in addition to playing in an informal contest with the organist J. W. Hassler, while at Leipzig he reportedly improvised at the Thomaskirche organ in the presence of the Kantor, J. F. Doles, a former Bach pupil. Mozart may have sold some compositions in Potsdam and Berlin, and he attended a performance of Die Entfuhrung. Nevertheless, the journey was not without its rewards. In Leipzig Mozart renewed his acquaintance with Bach’s music, obtaining a score of the motet Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied! bwv225); its impact is evident not only in the chorale of the Armed Men in Die Zauberflote but also, more substantially, in the contrapuntal disposition and character of the finales of his two last string quintets, k593 and 614. And he was probably invited by King Friedrich Wilhelm II, an amateur cellist, to compose quartets and keyboard sonatas. Almost certainly he started work on this commission on the return journey to Vienna: the score of k575 (see fig. 10) and part of that of k589 are written on manuscript paper originating from a mill between Dresden and Prague. When the quartets were finally published by Artaria in 1791, however, they lacked a dedication altogether.
Mozart wrote to Puchberg on 12 June 1790, ‘I have now been obliged to give away my quartets … for a pittance, simply in order to have cash in hand’. His continuing financial problems notwithstanding, Mozart’s circumstances were beginning to improve by late 1789. In addition to the first of the ‘Prussian’ quartets, he wrote two replacement arias for a new production of Figaro on 29 August (‘Al desio di chi t’adora’ k577 and ‘Un moto di gioia mi sento’ k579, first heard at a Tonkunstler-Societat concert in December), as well as substitute arias for productions of Cimarosa’s I due baroni (k578), probably for a German-language version of Paisiello’s Il barbiere di Siviglia (k580), and for Martin y Soler’s Il burbero di buon cuore (k582 and 583).
His work attracted international interest: the poet Friedrich Wilhelm Gotter intended to offer Mozart his opera libretto Die Geisterinsel (in the event not set until 1796, by Friedrich Fleischmann), and in April 1791 Mozart was apparently offered a pension by two groups of patrons, one in Amsterdam, the other in Hungary. His main energies, however, were given to the composition of Cosi fan tutte, his third collaboration with Da Ponte and the only one of the Da Ponte operas for which there is no direct literary source (although, like Don Giovanni, it has sources in Tirso de Molina). It may be that the libretto was wholly original to Mozart and the poet, for the subject is sometimes claimed to have been suggested to Mozart and Da Ponte by Joseph II himself, allegedly on the basis of a recent real-life incident.
However, it is known that the libretto was initially offered to Salieri, who set some early numbers and then apparently abandoned it (Rice, J1987). Cosi fan tutte is widely reckoned to be the most carefully and symmetrically constructed of the Da Ponte operas. The three men (the two officers Ferrando and Guglielmo and their friend don Alfonso) and the three women (the sisters Dorabella and Fiordiligi and their servant Despina) each have an aria in each act; and the ensembles are calculated so that the four principals are kept in their pairs (officers and sisters), and given relatively little personal identity, until well on in Act 2, by which time the sisters are emotionally affected by their disguised lovers.
At this point, the pervasive element of parody characteristic of the opera gives way to music more personal in tone, reflecting the characters’ differing moral dilemmas. Little is known of the opera’s genesis. It was rehearsed at Mozart’s home on 31 December and at the theatre on 21 January 1790 (Puchberg and Haydn probably attended both); the premiere was on 26 January. There were four further performances, then a break because of the death of Joseph II in February, and five more in the summer. Mozart apparently expected to receive 900 gulden for its composition, twice the usual amount, but documents survive only for a payment of 450 gulden (Edge, G1991).
Although the opera was a success – receipts from the court theatre box offices show that it was one of the most heavily attended of the season (Edge, G1996) – it soon came to be criticized for its apparent moral shortcomings: female fickleness, in particular, was found shocking, and it is made more so by the convention (standing equally in Figaro and Don Giovanni) that the action should span no more than 24 hours. The opera is susceptible of other interpretations, however. Its appeal to commedia dell’arte traditions explains some of the characters and their behaviour, including the use of poison, disguises and elevated rhetoric (Goehring, J1993), while its balance of sympathy and ridicule presents a commentary on the strength and uncontrollability of amorous feelings and the value of a mature recognition of them.
Joseph II died on 20 February 1790, and with the accession of a new emperor, Leopold II, Mozart hoped for a preferment at court; none was forthcoming. Unlike his predecessor, Leopold (who until his coronation had ruled in Florence as Grand Duke of Tuscany) had musical tastes that were thoroughly Italian. During the two years of his reign he transformed Viennese musical theatre: he planned to replace the old Burgtheater with a magnificent new house, he reintroduced the ballet and revived opera seria, and he reformed comic opera. Although these changes were seemingly reactionary, they nevertheless looked to the future: they were responsible at least in part for the composition of Die Zauberflote and La clemenza di Tito, both of which were influential in the early 19th century (Rice, J1995).
In order to take advantage of the coronation festivities, in which he had no official role, Mozart went in September 1790 to Frankfurt, taking his brother-in-law Franz de Paula Hofer and a servant. They arrived on 28 September, and Mozart gave a public concert on 15 October; though musically a success it was poorly attended and financially a failure. On the return journey Mozart gave a concert at Mainz, heard Figaro at Mannheim, and played before the King of Naples at Munich. He reached home about 10 November, joining Constanze at their new apartment in central Vienna, to which she had just moved. A trip to England became a possibility again that autumn. Mozart was tendered an invitation for an opera, but declined (he was also promised an engagement like Haydn’s by J. P. Salomon).
During the winter months he composed a piano concerto (k595, possibly performed on 9 January 1791 by his pupil Barbara Ployer at a concert held by Prince Adam Auersperg in honour of the visit to Vienna of the King of Naples; see Edge, G1996) and the last two string quintets (k593 and 614). He played a concerto at a concert organized by the clarinettist Josef Bahr and an aria and a symphony were give at the Tonkunstler-Societat concerts in April. That same month Mozart secured from the city council the reversion to the important and remunerative post of Kapellmeister at the Stephansdom, where the incumbent Leopold Hofmann was aged and ill; he was appointed assistant and deputy, without pay, but in the end Hofmann outlived him.
It was for the festivities at Leopold II’s coronation in Prague that Mozart composed La clemenza di Tito. Reports published soon after his death suggested that it had been written in only 18 days, some of it in the coach between Vienna and Prague, although it is more likely that it written over a period of six weeks. The impresario Domenico Guardasoni signed a contract with the Bohemian Estates on 8 July, and his first choice to compose a coronation opera (either on a subject to be suggested by the Grand Burgrave of Bohemia or, if time did not permit, on Metastasio’s La clemenza di Tito, 1734), was Salieri. But Salieri refused the commission and the work fell to Mozart.
Possibly this was in mid-July: the fact that Guardasoni’s contract included an ‘escape clause’, allowing him to engage a different composer, suggests that he may already have expected Salieri to decline and discussed with Mozart the possibility of composing the opera. The text was arranged by Caterino Mazzola, who cut much of the dialogue and 18 arias while adding four new ones, as well as supplying two duets, three trios and finale ensembles. In his catalogue, Mozart described Tito as ‘ridotto a vera opera’. The premiere took place on 6 September. Mozart’s works were widely published in 1791 – Viennese dealers produced nearly a dozen editions of his works in that year alone – and were intended for audiences that ranged far beyond court circles.
Among them were the string quintets k593 and 614 (December 1790 and March 1791, respectively), the Concerto k622 for Anton Stadler (for whose basset-clarinet, with its downward extension of a major 3rd, Mozart also probably intended the Quintet k581), the Masonic cantata Laut verkunde unsre Freude k623, the aria Per questa bella mano k612, the piano variations on Ein Weib ist das herrlichste Ding k626, the motet Ave verum corpus k618, Die Zauberflote k620 and the Requiem k626. Die Zauberflote, written for Emanuel Schikaneder’s suburban Theater auf der Wieden, was well under way by 11 June, as a reference in a letter to Constanze makes clear; possibly it was complete in July except for three vocal items, the overture and the march. The opera has several sources, mong them Liebeskind’s Lulu, oder Die Zauberflote, published in Wieland’s collection of fairly tales, Dschinnistan (1786–9); this was a source for other operas given at the Freihaustheater and its rival, the Leopoldstadter-Theater (including Benedikt Schack’s Der Stein der Weisen, to which Mozart may have contributed several passages in addition to parts of the duet ‘Nun, liebes Weibchen, ziehst mit mir’ k625; see Buch, k1997). Many of the ritual elements are derived from Jean Terrasson’s novel Sethos (1731), which has an ancient Egyptian setting, from contemporary freemasonry and possibly from other theatrical works of the time. The whole belongs firmly in the established traditions of Viennese popular theatre. C. L. Giesecke, a poet, actor and member of the lodge ‘Zur neugekronten Hoffnung’, later claimed to be the author of the libretto, but his assertion lacks plausible support.
The arguments in favour of Schikaneder’s authorship seem incontrovertible. Although the opera was well received – contemporary opinion on the music was universally favourable – critics found the text unsatisfactory (the Staats- und gelehrte Zeitung of Hamburg reported on 14 October that ‘the piece would have won universal approval if only the text … had met minimum expectations’). One hotly disputed point concerns a possible reshaping of the plot while composition was in progress. The opera begins as a traditional tale of a heroic prince (Tamino) rescuing a beautiful princess (Pamina) at the bidding of her mother (the Queen of Night) from her wicked abductor (Sarastro).
In the Orator’s scene, however, it transpires that the abductor is beneficent and that it is the princess’s mother who is wicked. Although it is tempting to think that this shift can only represent a change in plan by Schikaneder and Mozart (traditionally explained as an attempt to avoid duplicating a rival production, Wenzel Muller’s Kaspar der Fagottist, oder Die Zauberzither), the moral ambiguities that demand explanation if it does not – Sarastro’s employment of the evil Monostatos, for example, or the Queen and her Ladies’ gifts of the benevolently magical flute and bells to Tamino and Papageno, or Pamina’s fear of Sarastro – are not out of line with Viennese popular theatrical traditions, nor with symbolic interpretations of the work.
It has also been argued that Tamino’s confrontation with the Orator represents a recognition scene, a standard operatic situation also found in Figaro, Don Giovanni and Cosi fan tutte (Waldoff, J1994). Much has been written about freemasonry in the opera. It is unlikely, as has been asserted, that the authors intended the characters to stand for figures involved in the recent history of the movement. They are better understood as generalized and symbolic figures: for instance, Tamino and Pamina are ideal beings seeking self-realization and, especially, ideal union. In this Die Zauberflote may be thought to pursue the theme of selfconscious knowledge predicated in Cosi fan tutte.
More broadly, the opera is susceptible to interpretation in light of the philosophical, cosmological and epistemological background of 18th-century freemasonry as an allegory of ‘the quest of the human soul for both inner harmony and enlightenment’ (Koenigsberger, J1975, and Till, J1992). Such interpretations help to explain how what may superficially seem a mixture of the musically sublime and the textually ridiculous melds into an opera not only theatrically effective but also of a philosophical or religious quality. Goethe tried to write a sequel to it, and Beethoven pointedly quoted from the opera in his Fidelio. Probably in mid-July, Mozart was commissioned by Count Walsegg-Stuppach, under conditions of secrecy, to compose a Requiem for his wife, who had died on 14 February 1791; work on this was postponed at least until October 1791, after the completion of La clemenza di Tito and Die Zauberflote.
It is likely that Mozart was aware of Walsegg’s identity: his friend Puchberg lived in Walsegg’s Vienna villa, and the inclusion of basset-horns in the score suggests that Mozart could count on the participation of specific players, who would have been booked far in advance for a date and place already known to him. Later sources describe Mozart’s feverish work at the Requiem, after his return from Prague, with premonitions of his own death, but these are hard to reconcile with the high spirits of his letters from much of October. Constanze’s earliest account, published in Niemetschek’s biography of 1798, states that Mozart ‘told her of his remarkable request, and at the same time expressed a wish to try his hand at this type of composition, the more so as the higher forms of church music had always appealed to his genius’.
There is no hint that the work was a burden to him, as was widely reported in German newspapers from January 1792 onwards. By the time of Mozart’s final illness, he had completed only the ‘Requiem aeternam’ in its entirety; from the Kyrie to the ‘Confutatis’, only the vocal parts and basso continuo were fully written out. At the ‘Lacrimosa’ only the first eight bars are present for the vocal parts, along with the first two bars for the violins and viola. Sketches for the remaining movements, now mostly lost, probably included vocal parts and basso continuo. Mozart was confined to bed at the end of the November; he was attended by the two leading Viennese doctors, Closset and Sallaba, and nursed by Constanze and her youngest sister, Sophie.
His condition seemed to improve on 3 December, and the next day his friends Schack, Hofer and the bass F. X. Gerl gathered to sing over with him parts of the unfinished Requiem. He was possibly also visited by Salieri. That evening, however, his condition worsened, and Closset, summoned from the theatre, applied cold compresses; the effect was to send Mozart into shock. He died just before 1 a. m. on 5 December. The cause of his death was registered as ‘hitziges Friesel Fieber’ (severe miliary fever, where ‘miliary’ refers to a rash resembling millet-seeds) and later diagnosed as ‘rheumatische Entzundungsfieber’ (rheumatic inflammatory fever) on evidence from Closset and Sallaba.
This seems consistent with the symptoms of Mozart’s medical history (Bar, G1966, 2/1972), more so than various rival diagnoses, such as uraemia (favoured by Greither, G1970, 3/1977), and Davies, G1989); there is no credible evidence to support the notion that he was poisoned, by Salieri or anyone else. Mozart was buried in a common grave, in accordance with contemporary Viennese custom, at the St Marx cemetary outside the city on 7 December. If, as later reports say, no mourners attended, that too is consistent with Viennese burial customs at the time; later Jahn (F1856) wrote that Salieri, Sussmayr, van Swieten and two other musicians were present. The tale of a storm and snow is false; the day was calm and mild. Mozart: (3) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 7.
Early works. It is likely that the full extent of Mozart’s original output during the 1760s will never be known. Not only were many of his early autographs heavily corrected by his father, but it is clear that some works, such as the pasticcio concertos k37 and 39–41 and to a lesser extent the J. C. Bach arrangements k107 (fig. 12), were jointly composed. Other compositions, among them the Sonata for keyboard and violin k8, take over, wholly or in part, movements first written by Leopold. A related problem concerns Leopold’s Verzeichniss of 1768, which describes ‘13 symphonies for 2 violins, 2 oboes, 2 horns, viola, and basso, etc. ’ (Zaslaw, A1985).
Of the early works in the genre attributed to Wolfgang, only eight are demonstrably genuine and known to have been composed by this time, while another four are of uncertain authorship and date. Even if all these symphonies are genuine and early, at least one other is missing. Leopold’s list describes additional lost works, including six divertimentos in four parts for various instruments, six trios for two violins and cello, solos for violin and bass viol, minuets, marches and processionals for trumpets and drums. Also, as with many composers of the time, several works are known only from sources with no direct connection to the composer. Some may be authentic, but in other cases there is insufficient evidence for or against Mozart’s authorship (for the symphonies see Eisen, L1989).
Accounts of Mozart’s early stylistic development often fail to take these problems into consideration: demonstrably authentic works are often compared with, and analysed alongside, works only insecurely attributed to Mozart. The inevitable result is a patchwork story of progression and regression. When only the demonstrably authentic works are considered, however, not only does the progression in Mozart’s style appear more linear, but individual works, often dismissed as showing no significant evidence of Mozart’s development, can be seen to represent new plateaux in his sophistication as a composer. In the case of the symphonies this is especially apparent in the works composed up to about 1771. His earliest works in the genre, composed before 1767, are based on models that he encountered on the ‘Grand Tour’.
All are in three movements, lacking a minuet and trio, and are scored for two oboes, two horns and strings. The first movements are in expanded binary form, in common time, and have tempo indications of Allegro, Allegro molto or Allegro assai, while the second movements, also in binary form, are in 2/4 time and are marked Andante. The concluding fast movements are generally in rondo form and are marked Allegro assai, Allegro molto or Presto, with 3/8 time signatures. For the most part, these works show a remarkable grasp of the principles of J. C. Bach’s symphonic style, including the dramatic contrast of a forte motto opening and a piano continuation, together with hints of cantabile second subjects.
In Vienna in 1768, however, Mozart adopted the common four-movement cycle, as well as local formal preferences: k48, for example, is the first of his symphonies to include a first movement in a fully worked-out sonata form. Still later, in Italy, he reverted to the three movement pattern with its attendant busy string figuration, lighter textures and less melodic thematic material (but still including full recapitulations, albeit with little or no preceding development). k74, with its linked first two movements, may originally have been intended as an opera overture. While these symphonies are indebted to models encountered by Mozart during his travels during the 1760s and early 1770s, several depart from local norms in significant ways.
The first movement of k16 is an expanded binary form of a type more common among Viennese symphonies; k19 includes a brief diversion based on the dominant minor, a procedure common among Salzburg symphonies of the 1750s; and k22 includes an extended orchestral crescendo and recurrence of tutti primary material at the middle and end of the movement, typical of Mannheim. k112, composed at Milan on 2 November 1771, is unusual for its inclusion of a minuet and trio. This symphony in particular represents a significant advance: it is the first by Mozart to include genuine development, rather than a mere retransition to the recapitulation; it explores a new tonal relationship between minuet and trio (previously always in the subdominant but here in the dominant); and it begins to break down the association, previously strictly upheld, of thematic or motivic material with function.
The beginning of the transition, at bar 10, is obscured by a re-use of the symphony’s stable opening bar as a jumping-off point for the modulation, an effect heightened by the structure of the opening idea. In earlier symphonies with similarly constructed opening material – an aggressive, forte and often unison triadic idea followed by a softer motif characterized by conjunct motion – the first idea is more or less literally repeated; in k112, however, the repetition of the opening is initially lacking and is reserved for the first important cadence, where it serves not only to bring the symmetrical pair of five-bar phrases to a conclusion, but also to represent the first element in a two-bar phrase at the beginning of the transition.
This reinterpretation of previously-heard material creates an impression not only of unity, but also of ambiguity, and was to become a standard feature of Mozart’s symphonies, and his style in general, during the 1770s and later. Some departures from local norms may have resulted from Mozart’s acquaintance with local Salzburg repertories, which have been underestimated in discussions of his development as composer of orchestral music. His father was the leading symphonist in the archdiocese, and works by several other composers, including Caspar Christelli, Ferdinand Seidl, Adlgasser and Michael Haydn, were known to Mozart during the 1760s. Many of these include Viennese and Italian features that he encountered at source only later on the ‘Grand Tour’, as well as novelties of their own.
Salzburg also provided Mozart with opportunities for composition: the three serenades k63, 99 and 100 were probably composed there in the summer of 1769. Following local traditions best represented by Leopold Mozart, each has six or more movements plus an associated introductory (and perhaps valedictory) march. More relaxed in style than symphonies, the serenades show their most refined invention in the slow movements, of which one generally has a concertante part (for violin in k63 and for oboe in k100, which also has concertante parts in a fast movement and the trio of one of its minuets, a pattern that later became standard). The chief influence of Salzburg, however, was on Mozart’s church music.
The Missa brevis k49, although composed in Vienna in 1768, displays all the features of the Salzburg missa brevis tradition best represented in the works of Eberlin: in the Kyrie, a slow introduction to the main part of the tutti; solo and tutti writing in the Gloria and Credo, with fugal endings to both; a three-section Sanctus and a solo quartet Benedictus; and a simple, chordal tutti Agnus followed by a lively triple-time ‘Dona nobis pacem’. Many other features derive from Italian church music, which was widely disseminated and performed in Salzburg for several decades before the 1760s (Eisen, H1995). Among these are a preference for da capo arias, which is particularly strong in Mozart’s solo church music, including the Regina coeli k108, with its large, busy orchestra and soprano solos. The Litaniae de venerabili altaris sacramento k125 of 1772 is a more sophisticated and individual work, with strong choral writing, strikingly contrasting arias and an opening Kyrie in an elaborate ritornello structure with three levels – orchestra, chorus and soloists.
In Salzburg, Mozart was also acquainted, both directly and indirectly, with Italian theatrical music even before his numerous tours. Italian operas were often given at court during Schrattenbach’s reign, and their style informed the local near-equivalent, the so-called Finalkomodien, or school dramas, given annually at the Salzburg Benedictine University to mark the end of the academic year. Mozart composed only one work in this genre, Apollo et Hyacinthus, which includes full da capo arias and a striking dialogue for the angry Melia and the innocent Apollo, where changes in texture and key support the sense of drama; it is in many respects a successor to his earlier ‘sacred Singspiel’ Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots k35.
La finta semplice, by contrast, gave Mozart his first opportunity to compose opera buffa, which required a command of the Italian language, an ability to delineate emotions quickly, a thorough knowledge of a wide range of effective orchestral cliches, and a control of the extended, multi-sectional finales of the Goldoni-Galuppi tradition favoured in Vienna. His next two dramatic works, Ascanio in Alba k111 and Il sogno di Scipione k126, were of the serenata or festa teatrale type. Ascanio is a leisurely work, with pastoral choruses and ballets interspersed with the arias, while Il sogno di Scipione is less tellingly characterized: the arias are lengthy and contain much bravura writing.
The most significant of the early dramatic works, however, is the opera seria Lucio Silla, which is less convention-bound and more individual than Mozart’s first opera seria, Mitridate, re di Ponto (modelled in several details of form and treatment on the setting by Quirino Gasparini; see Tagliavini, J1968). This is particularly true of the role of Junia, whose opening aria alternates between an intense Adagio and a fiery Allegro, and whose choral scene at her father’s tomb recalls Gluck; the terzetto ‘Quell’ orgoglioso sdegno’, in which the tyrant Sulla expresses his anger, is an early example of simultaneous differentiated characterization. Mozart was clearly pleased with several of the arias, which he had recopied in the later 1770s and early 1780s; he may have performed ‘Pupille amate’ in Vienna as late as Carnival 1786. Mozart: (3) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 8. Works, 1772–81.
The pervasive influence of the Italian style lingered on well into the 1770s: it not only informs La finta giardiniera and Il re pastore but is also found in the church music, including the litanies k195 and 243 (the second of which embraces a variety of styles including simple homophonic choruses as well as dramatic ones, fugues, a plainchant setting and expressive arias with florid embellishment). Several symphonies, among them k181 and 184, are in three movements, without a break, on the pattern of the Italian overture, while the A major Symphony k201, composed in April 1774, combines southern grace with an intimate, chamber music style as well as full-bodied orchestral writing and a Germanic predilection for imitative textures. No doubt Mozart’s interest in counterpoint, as well as a general deepening of his style at this time, was stimulated by his visit in 1773 to Vienna, where he composed six string quartets.
For all its pan-European popularity, the string quartet was little cultivated in Salzburg, where the chief forms of chamber music were the trio for two violins and bass and, during the 1770s, the divertimento for string quartet and two horns (Mozart wrote several such works, including k247 and 287). An altogether more intellectual approach is evident in the quartets: imitative textures are found not only in development sections but in first statements of thematic material as well, while the finales to k168 and k173 are both fugal. Similarly, Mozart’s first original keyboard concerto, k175 (possibly intended for organ), exploits counterpoint in ways not previously found in his orchestral music.
The finale in particular starts with an imitative gesture that returns in various guises throughout the movement. The Symphony in E[pic] k184, its Italianisms notwithstanding, includes a C minor Andante whose main theme is also built on imitation, and the coda to the first movement of the Symphony k201 is a contrapuntal tour de force (the long development section of the finale also includes imitations between basses and first violins). The stormy Viennese style is most apparent in k184 (which was adopted in the 1780s as the overture to T. P. Gebler’s Thamos, Konig in Agypten, for which Mozart also wrote incidental music) and in the G minor Symphony k183.
Some of this drama is carried over into the serenades of the mid-1770s, including k185, 203, 204 and 250 (Haffner), which although more relaxed in tone nevertheless frequently touch on a range of affects far beyond those typical of the genre. It was the serenade, in any case, that by 1775 had gained the upper hand in Mozart’s orchestral output; there are no Salzburg symphonies – redactions of serenades aside – dating from between 1774 and 1779. The church music that Mozart composed during this period mostly conforms to Salzburg traditions. The absence of soloists in the Mass k167 recalls Michael Haydn’s Missa S Joannis Nepomuceni of 1772, while in k275 the distribution of solo and tutti, as well as the contrapuntal endings to the Gloria and Credo, the imitative entries at the beginning of the Sanctus and the solo at the Benedictus are reminiscent of Eberlin.
Colloredo’s church music reforms, described by Mozart in an oft-cited letter to Padre Martini of 4 September 1776 (‘a mass, with the whole Kyrie, the Gloria, the Credo, the epistle sonata, the offertory or motet, the Sanctus and the Agnus, must last no more than three-quarters of an hour’), inform the brevity and style of k192 and 194: both include a minimum of word repetition, simple choral declamation and sparing musical treatment of text meanings, as well as unbroken settings of the Gloria and Credo without extended final fugues. Similar economies are found in k257, 258 and 259. Not all church music composed in Salzburg at this time was subject to Colloredo’s reforms, however.
A letter written by Leopold Mozart on 1 November 1777 describes a mass by Michael Haydn, the Missa S Hieronymi, that lasted an hour and a quarter. And k262 is a long and elaborate work which includes, besides concluding fugues to the Gloria and Credo, contrapuntal writing even at the Kyrie and ‘Et incarnatus’, and extended orchestral ritornellos. If the church music mostly fell in step with Salzburg traditions, the symphonies, serenades and concertos of the earlier 1770s differ from other orchestral music composed there not only in their imaginative scoring, formal variety and diverse characters, but also in their susceptibility to critical readings.
In the Symphony k133, the opening hammer-strokes do not return at the start of the recapitulation, which begins with the second group, but they appear to be ‘realized’ in the coda, where the weakly articulated theme first heard in the second bar is repeated with strong, downbeat root motion, reproducing the forte dynamic of the hammer-strokes. Not only does this gesture provide stability and closure otherwise lacking in the movement, but there seems little doubt that Mozart considered it quite deliberately. The autograph shows that he originally intended the passage to represent a coda; by cancelling the first ending, however, he integrated it into the movement proper, rather than distancing it from the action (fig. 13).
Almost certainly it was works such as this that in Salzburg provoked dissatisfaction with Mozart. For his part, he complained that ‘there is no stimulus [there] for my talent. When I play or when any of my compositions is performed, it is just as if the audience were all tables and chairs’. Shortly before his departure for Paris in autumn 1777 Mozart composed the Piano Concerto k271, which in its scale, mastery of design, virtuosity, elements of surprise (the piano entry in the third bar is unprecedented) and exploitation of the most profound affects, particularly in the recitative sections of the disturbing C minor Andantino, far exceeds his earlier orchestral music. Some parallels can be found in the violin concertos k216, 218 and 219 of 1775: the first two also have finales in a variety of tempos and metres, while in k219 the soloist is introduced in the first movement by a poetic Adagio episode, and there is a notable ‘Turkish’ episode in the minuet finale. ) In many ways, k271 represents a new, more elaborate style that was to become Mozart’s norm in the late 1770s. No doubt personal factors contributed to this development. It is difficult to forgo altogether the notion that the Paris–Mannheim journey of 1777–9, which violently wrenched Mozart from adolescence to manhood, dramatically influenced the style and substance of his music. Whether as a result of ‘foreign’ influences or merely a desire to accommodate his works to a specific public, the music that Mozart composed in Mannheim and Paris frequently recalls local styles.
Nannerl Mozart remarked of the Piano Sonata k309, written for Christian Cannabich’s daughter Rosina, that ‘anyone could see it was composed in Mannheim’ (letter of 8 December 1777; Leopold, perhaps more astutely, described it on 11 December 1777 as having ‘something of the mannered Mannheim style about it, but so little that your own good style is not spoilt’). Nannerl’s observation may refer to the sharp dynamic contrasts in the first two movements and the affectation of the Andante; a similar atmosphere is evident in the next sonata, k311. The A minor Sonata k310, on the other hand, follows up the tradition of fiery keyboard writing that Schobert and others had pursued in Paris (although the tripartite Andante cantabile, with its agitated outburst at the centre of the movement, is without expressive precedent).
In his six sonatas for keyboard and violin published in Paris (k301–06), Mozart also took over some features of Joseph Schuster’s accompanied divertimentos (which he praised in a letter of 6 October 1777 to his father), notably in the structure of the first movement of k303, where the Adagio introduction represents the first subject and recurs at the recapitulation. The sonatas exhibit a wide variety of styles and affects, ranging from the eerie, almost claustrophobic, E minor k304 to the quasi-orchestral k302 (similar variety can be found in the piano sonatas of the mid-1770s, among them the mannered k282 and the orchestral k284). Perhaps the most important orchestral work composed at this time was the Paris Symphony k297.
Following Leopold’s advice, Mozart carefully tailored the work to local taste, beginning with the obligatory premier coup d’archet and continuing with powerful unison and octave passages, brilliant tuttis and exposed passages for the wind. Scored for two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, timpani and strings, the symphony consciously exploits the soundscape of the large Paris orchestra. Formal and textural variety abounds in the works of the mid- to late 1770s. Frequently, as in the Piano Sonata k280, Mozart avoids settling on the dominant (the same process characterizes the Haffner Symphony k385 of 1782), while some works, including the Piano Sonata k311, reverse the order of the material in the recapitulation.
Within the recapitulation itself, Mozart finds effective new ways of avoiding a modulation to the dominant, often incorporating further development that relies on earlier transitional material but does not literally duplicate it. A good example is the Paris Symphony, where the introduction of a C[pic] in the basses at bar 175 pushes the harmonies to the subdominant side while also, incidentally, serving to disorientate the listener. Because the movement has no internal repeats, the drop to C[pic] conjures up memories of the surprising introduction of B[pic] at the start of the development, which serves as the jumping-off point for a modulation to the distant key of F major; consequently, on first hearing the recapitulation may seem to represent a ‘new’ development.
Many of these styles and techniques remained with Mozart after his return to Salzburg in 1779. This is less true of his church music, perhaps, than of his other works, although the Credo of the Coronation Mass k317 has a symphonic thrust lacking in his earlier works and is broken off by an Adagio ‘Et incarnatus’; in this respect it shares with Mozart’s instrumental compositions of the time a selfconscious exploitation of musical and affective disruption. In the ‘Posthorn’ Serenade k320, for example, Mozart recalls the striking formal gesture of the Sonata k303, repeating, at the start of the recapitulation, the music of the slow introduction, rewriting it in the prevailing tempo. In the symphonies k318 and 338 Mozart manipulates the