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Leipzig, Germany
Letters in which this place is cited | People who were born/died in this place | Map
152 (7 January 1770) | view
158 (26 January 1770) | view
159 (3 February 1770) | view
163 (3 March 1770) | view
171 (27 March 1770) | view
209 (18 September 1770) | view
243 (31 August 1771) | view
263 (7 February 1772) | view
The largest city in Saxony, Leipzig has, from the middle ages, been among the most important trading centers in Europe and home to one of Europe`s oldest universities, founded in 1409. Unlike most German cities of the time, ruled by the church or the nobility, Leipzig was governed by its citizenry. The centre of Lutheran church music in Germany, the most important ecclesiastical institution in the city was the Thomaskirche and its associated Thomasschule, of which J. S. Bach as Kantor from 1723-1750. Opera, however, had declined after 1720 and after 1729 was largely performed by itinerant Italian troupes that performed on temporary stages; it was not until after the Seven Years War (1756-1763) that a new Comödienhaus was constructed, a 1186-seat theatre on what is now the Richard-Wagner-Platz). The repertory at the Comödienhaus included both Italian opera buffa and German Singspiel. In 1777, the impressario Pasquale Bondini obtained the right to present the Churfürstlich Sächsische Hofcomödianten in Leipzig as well as Dresden; under his direction, Die Entführung aus dem Serail was performed in 1783, and Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro in 1788. During the period 1782-1794, operas were also given by Domenico Guardasoni, among them Così fan tutte. Instrumental music, cultivated earlier in the century by the university`s collegium musicum, directed by Telemann and later Bach, also revived after the war, under the direction of Johann Adam Hiller, who in 1775 founded the Musikübende Gesellschaft, later known as the Gewandhaus Orchestra after the concert hall constructed in 1781 within the Gewandhaus, or Clothiers` Exchange; programmes were given on Thursday evenings during a season that ran from Michaelmas to Easter.

Book publishing – which had appeared in Leipzig not later than 1485 – was similarly important to the city`s cultural life; the Leipzig Trade Fair, which began in the Middle Ages, is the oldest remaining trade fair in the world. The firm founded by Bernhard Christoph Breitkopf in 1719 was at first concerned chiefly with books and only occasionally with volumes of collected songs. Under the direction of Breitkopf`s son Johann Gottlob Immanuel, however, the firm also became active in publishing handwritten music and, during the 1750s, printed music produced by movable type, aninnovation in music printing. Gottfried Christoph Härtel purchased the firm in 1796, and in 1806 introduced Senefelder`s lithographic process, which revolutionized music printing; thereafter the newly-named Breitkopf & Härtel became the leading music publisher in the world; among their early productions was a “complete works” edition of Mozart`s music.

Mozart visited Leipzing from 20-23 April and from 8-17 May 1789. He played the organ at the Thomaskirche on 22 April and gave a concert at the Gewandhaus on 12 May. Lit.: Blümer, Geschichte des Theaters in Leipzig; Dörffel, Geschichte der Gewandhausconcerte zu Leipzig; Kroker, Handelsgeschichte der Stadt Leipzig; Kemmerling, Die Thomasschule zu Leipzig: eine Kurzgeschichte von ihrer Gründung 1212 bis zum Jahre 1927; Creuzberg, Die Gewandhaus-Konzerte zu Leipzig, 1781–1931; Schering, Musikgeschichte Leipzigs, iii: Johann Sebastian Bach und das Musikleben Leipzigs im 18. Jahrhundert; Plesske, Leipzigs Musikverlage einst und jetzt; Pasticcio auf das 250-jährige Bestehen des Verlages Breitkopf & Härtel: Beiträge zur Geschichte des Hauses; Stauffer, `Leipzig: a Cosmopolitian Trade Centre`; George B. Stauffer, “Leipzig”, Grove Music Online
Please use the following reference when citing this website:
Eisen, Cliff et al. In Mozart's Words, 'Leipzig, Germany' <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.