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Salzburg, Austria
Letters in which this place is cited | People who were born/died in this place | Map
147 (14 December 1769) | view
148 (15 December 1769) | view
149 (17 December 1769) | view
150 (22 December 1769) | view
152 (7 January 1770) | view
153 (7 January 1770) | view
155 (11 January 1770) | view
157 (26 January 1770) | view
158 (26 January 1770) | view
159 (3 February 1770) | view
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The city of Salzburg owes its post-Roman origin to the founding of the Abbey of St Peter by St Rupert of Worms in 696 and of the cathedral by St Virgil in 774. In 1278 Rudolph of Habsburg made the archbishops of Salzburg imperial princes and during centuries of relative peace (except for the Peasants` War of 1525-1526), the power and prestige of the court increased until it was the most important and influential archdiocese and sacred state in German-speaking Europe. By 1700, half a century before Mozart`s birth, its boundaries stretched north and west into what is today Bavaria and east and south as far as Wiener Neustadt and Graz.
While for visitors Salzburg could be a paradise, boasting natural beauties and a rich history, for the local citizenry, life could be less than ideal: the state was old-fashioned, education was out-of-date, censorship was common and society highly stratified. For local musicians, work at the court was full of vexations. This was less the case, perhaps, during the reign of Archbishop Siegmund Christoph, Graf Schrattenbach (ruled 1753-1771), Mozart`s first employer. Schrattenbach was often lavish in his support of the court music, exhibited a keen interest in instrumental works, sent his composers and performers to Italy to study, and rewarded composition with generous presents. And he was a strong supporter of the Mozarts: Leopold Mozart advanced rapidly in the court music establishment during Schrattenbach`s reign and during the 1760s and 1770s, when Wolfgang and his father travelled to Vienna, Paris, London and Italy, the archbishop subsidized their travels, at least in part.
Schrattenbach was succeeded by an unpopular choice for Archbishop, Hieronymus Graf Colloredo (ruled 1772-1803), who, to judge by traditional Mozart biographies, was a narrow-minded tyrant not much interested in music. Seen in this way, it was Colloredo`s mean-spiritedness that was largely responsible for Mozart`s mistreatment and sorry life in his native city. But the situation was not so simple. Colloredo had an agenda: to modernize Salzburg, to overhaul the education system, to rescue a financially failing court, and to promote both the sciences and the arts. Although he was hampered in these attempts by an unattractive personality, his reforms nevertheless favoured some aspects of local cultural life: a new sense of toleration and freedom of the press in particular attracted prominent writers, scientists and teachers to the court. At the same time, however, some of his reforms did away with traditional music-making opportunities in the archdiocese: instrumental music at local churches was restricted during some services, German hymns were made obligatory in place of more traditional liturgical compositions, and the important university theatre, home to the school drama, was permanently closed in 1778. For the court music establishment, these reforms represented a dilution of musical life and a source of dissatisfaction.
The Salzburg court music was a sprawling institution, founded in 1591 and little changed, even in Mozart`s day. In general, it was divided into four distinct and independent groups: the court music proper, which performed in the cathedral, at the Benedictine university and at court; the court- and field-trumpeters, together with the timpanists (normally ten trumpeters and two timpanists), who played in the cathedral, at court and provided special fanfares before meals and at important civic functions; the cathedral music (Dommusik), which consisted of the choral deacons (Domchorvikaren) and choristers (Choralisten) and performed in the cathedral; and the choirboys of the Chapel House (Kapellhaus), who also performed at the cathedral and who were instructed by the court musicians.
The chief duty of the court music proper, together with the Dommusik and choirboys, was to perform at the cathedral. For elaborate performances, the musicians numbered about forty, sometimes more; on less important occasions the performing forces were reduced. Sometimes musicians did double duty: because the woodwind players, trumpeters and timpanists played less frequently than the strings and vocalists, they were often expected to perform on the violin; when needed, they filled out the ranks of the orchestra both at the cathedral and at court, where concerts and table music were a regular if occasional part of their duties. The trumpeters and timpanists were also required to perform festive music at Christmas and New Year.
The boys of the Chapel House (founded 1677 by Archbishop Max Gandolph) usually consisted of ten sopranos and four altos. In addition to their duties at the Cathedral, where they sang on Sundays and feast days, they performed at the University, at local churches and occasionally as players of instrumental music at court as well as receiving musical training from the court musicians: the theorist Johann Baptist Samber, Eberlin, Adlgasser, Leopold Mozart and Michael Haydn all taught the choirboys. Teaching the choirboys meant extra income for the court musicians and it provided compositional opportunities as well. The Unschuldigen Kindleintag (Feast of the Holy Innocents) on 28 December was traditionally marked by music composed especially for the occasion: Michael Haydn`s Missa Sancti Aloysii (for two sopranos and alto, two violins and organ) of 1777 is only one example (other works composed by Haydn for the chapel boys include the cantata Lauft ihr Hirten allzugleich, a Laudate pueri, an Anima nostra, a litany and several other masses, among them his last completed work, the St. Leopolds-Messe, dated 22 December 1805).
In addition to their service at court and at the cathedral, the court musicians also performed at the Benedictine university, where school dramas were regularly given. These belonged to a long tradition of spoken pedagogical Benedictine plays that during the seventeenth century developed into an opera-like art form. Salzburg University, among the most important educational institutions in south Germany at the time, played a leading role in this development. At first, music in the dramas was restricted to choruses that marked the beginnings and ends of acts. By the 1760s, however, the works consisted of a succession of recitatives and arias, based at least in part on the model of Italian opera. Mozart`s sole contribution to the genre was Apollo et Hyacinthus, performed in 1767 between the acts of Rufinus Widl`s Latin tragedy Clemntia Croesi.
It was the University that in part also gave rise to an orchestral genre unique to Salzburg: the orchestral serenade. Every year in August, in connection with the university`s graduation ceremonies, the students had a substantial orchestral work performed for their professors. Typically these serenades consisted of an opening and closing march and eight or nine other movements, among them two or three concerto-like movements for various instruments. Although the origin of this tradition is not known, it was certainly established as a regular fixture of the academic year by the mid-1740s. Leopold Mozart, who composed more than thirty such works by 1757, was the most important early exponent of the genre. Wolfgang followed in his steps: K203, 204 and the so-called `Posthorn` serenade K320 were all apparently written for the University. Other serenades, similar in style and substance to those for the University, were composed for name-days or, as in the case of the so-called `Haffner` Serenade, K250, for local weddings.
Music-making in Salzburg was not entirely dominated by the court, however. At the Archabbey of St Peter`s where the music chapel consisted largely of students; only a few musicians there were professionals, among them the chori figuralis inspector, who was responsible for the music archive. Nevertheless, St Peter`s offered the court musicians numerous opportunities for both performance and composition. In 1753, Leopold Mozart composed an Applausus to celebrate the anniversary of the ordination of three fathers and some years later, in 1769, Wolfgang wrote the mass K66 for Cajetan Hagenauer, son of the Mozart`s landlord Johann Lorenz Hagenauer. Cajetan, who took the name Dominicus, was also the dedicatee of two of Michael Haydn`s works, the Missa S Dominici and a Te Deum, both composed to celebrate his election as abbot of St Peter`s in 1786. Haydn had established close ties with St Peter`s almost immediately after his arrival in Salzburg in 1763 and it was the source of his most important students and closest friends, for whom he composed his innovatory lieder for men`s chorus.
In addition to St Peter`s, Salzburg also boasted the Frauenstift Nonnberg, founded by St Rupert c. 712-714. Although strict cloistering was in effect from the late 1500s—access to the church and other external areas was walled off—some court musicians were excepted: Franz Ignaz Lipp, a contemporary of Leopold Mozart, served as music teacher there and the court music copyist Maximilian Raab as cantor. The court music frequently appeared for special occasions, such as the election of a new Abbess: when M. Scholastika, Gräfin von Wicka, was elected in 1766, the Archbishop celebrated her installation with a grand feast at which the court music played instrumental works and performed a cantata by Michael Haydn (Rebekka als Braut). For the most part, however, the nuns performed themselves, not only at Mass, but also the fanfares traditionally given on festive occasions or to welcome guests.
Civic music making was important as well. Watchmen blew fanfares from the tower of the town hall and were sometimes leased out to play for weddings, while military bands provided marches for the city garrisons. Often there was a close connection with the court: it was the watchmen, not the court music, that played trombone in the cathedral during service. By the same token, private citizens—or court musicians off duty—also played. Concerts to celebrate name-days and serenades to celebrate weddings were common, as was domestic music-making generally. In a letter of 12 April 1778, Leopold Mozart wrote: `on evenings when there is no grand concert, [the soprano Francesco Ceccarelli] comes over with an aria and a motet, I play the violin and Nannerl accompanies, playing the solos for viola or for wind instruments. Then we play keyboard concertos or a violin trio, with Ceccarelli taking the second violin`. Nannerl Mozart`s diary for 1779-1780 documents other, similar occasions. Possibly as a result of Colloredo`s relative lack of interest in the court music, the local nobility started up a private orchestra, the first meeting of which took place in the spring of 1778.
Finally, there were numerous institutions within the state, or just outside its borders, that maintained close contact with the court and other music establishments within the city. These included the Benedictine monastery at Michaelbeuern, four of whose abbots were rectors at the Salzburg University and some of whose musicians, among them Andreas Brunmayer, studied in Salzburg and remained there as part of the court music; and the Benedictine monastery at Lambach, which purchased music and musical instruments from Salzburg and maintained close ties with the Salzburg court and the Salzburg court musicians: both Michael Haydn and Leopold Mozart were welcome guests at Lambach. Other institutions allied with Salzburg stretched up the Salzach, along what is now the border with Bavaria: Landshut, Tittmoning, Frauenwörth, Wasserburg am Inn, Beuerberg and others. All of these institutions relied heavily on the city and their surviving archives are still home to important early copies of otherwise unknown works by Salzburg composers.
Contrary to received opinion, Mozart`s Salzburg was hardly a musical backwater: it offered numerous opportunities for composition and performance, it maintained close ties with nearby institutions and cities, and music circulated freely there, including the most recent works of composers active throughout Europe. Leopold Mozart was in regular contact with Breitkopf in Leipzig, the most prominent German dealer in music manuscripts and instruments (several of which Leopold purchased for the court) and was himself the Salzburg sales agent for the music publisher Haffner in Nürnberg. Adapted with permission from The Cambridge Mozart Encyclopedia, ed. Cliff Eisen and Simon P. Keefe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006). Lit.: Birsak and König, Das grosse Salzburger Blasmusik; Dahms, `Das musikalische Repertoire des Salzurger Fürsterzbischöflichen Hoftheaters (1775-1803)`; Eisen, `Salzburg under Church Rule`; Dopsch, Geschichte Salzburgs: Stadt und Land; Eisen, `Mozart`s Salzburg Orchestras`; Hintermaier, `Bürgerliche Musikkultur des 18. Jahrhunderts am Beispiel der Stadt Salzburg`; Kearns, `The Orchestral Serenade in Eighteenth-Century Salzburg`; Hintermaier, `Die Salzburger Hofkapelle von 1700 bis 1806: Organisation und Personal`; Schmid, Mozart und die Salzburger Tradition; Schneider, Geschichte der Musik in Salzburg
Please use the following reference when citing this website:
Eisen, Cliff et al. In Mozart's Words, 'Salzburg, Austria' <http://letters.mozartways.com>. Version 1.0, published by HRI Online, 2011. ISBN 9780955787676.
In Mozart's Words. Version 1.0, published by HRI Online, 2011. ISBN 9780955787676.