Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/399

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MOZART.
387
 

Mozart for his opera 'Cora,' although he was already in negotiation with Gluck and Schweitzer. However, all came to nothing; and his father, who had run into debt on his account, and had moreover great hopes of seeing him well placed in Salzburg, put forth his authority to make him return—'You will start immediately on receipt of this.' The son obeyed, and by Dec. 25 was at Munich; but his father, anxious lest he should be detained for good, and fearing the proximity of his beloved, did not let him rest there. Cannabich and Raaff were indeed 'working for him hand and foot,' but there was no need for anxiety on Aloysia's account. Her family welcomed him warmly, but she who 'had wept for him' seemed now scarcely to remember him, and was even displeased that he had altered the fashion of his clothes. Yet he again offered her his musical homage, composing a grand aria (316) suited to her present capabilities, to words taken, with a trace of self-complacency, from Gluck's 'Alceste,' and with an obligato accompaniment intended for Ramm and Ritter. This air was his farewell to Aloysia Weber, about whom he wrote to his father in May 1781, 'I did love her truly, and feel still that I am not indifferent to her; but luckily for me her husband is a jealous fool, and never lets her go anywhere, so that I rarely see her.'[1]

In mourning for his mother, disappointed in his first love, and with all his hopes falsified, Mozart returned in the middle of June 1779 to the home of his childhood. In such circumstances the warmth with which he was received was doubly grateful. A good many of his old friends were still there to rally round him, but nothing could overcome his dislike of Salzburg. Even the duties entailed by his position as Concert-meister and organist to the Court and Cathedral,[2] were fulfilled as an irksome task. His desire to write for the stage was re-kindled by the presence of a dramatic company under Böhm and Schikaneder (1779–80). This was the beginning of his intimacy with the latter, to whom he furnished entr'actes and choruses for Freiherr von Gebler's Dramma eroica 'Thamos, König von Egypten' (345). To this period also belongs a German opera, libretto by Schachtner, to which André afterwards gave the title of 'Zaïde' (344)—performed in 1866 at Frankfort.

During his stay at Salzburg in 1779–80 he produced the following works: 2 masses (317, 'Coronation mass,' and 337); a Kyrie (323); 2 vespers (321, 339), among his best compositions; a trio for 3 voices with 3 corni di basseto (346); 2 Lieder (349, 351); 2 canons (347, 348); 2 symphonies (319, 338); movement of a symphony[3] (318); duo concertante for violin and viola (364); 2 serenades (320, 361); divertimento for string-quartet and 2 horns (334); 4 sonatas for P.F. (330–333); variations for P.F. and violin (359, 360); sonatas for 4 hands (357, 358); variations for P.F. (352–354); a concerto for 2 P.F.'s (365); and the last organ sonatas (328, 329,336). At Munich he composed:—Kyrie of an unfinished mass (341); concert-aria for Countess Baumgarten (369); and quartet for oboe, violin, viola, and cello, for Ramm (370).

His next employment was most congenial. Through the exertions of his friends at Munich the grand opera for the Carnival of 1871 [App. p.720 "1781"] was put into his hands. The libretto was by Abbate Varesco, court chaplain at Salzburg, who consulted Mozart at every step, as he began the work at home. He went to Munich in the beginning of November, and at the very first rehearsals the music was highly approved by the Elector and the performers. His father even wrote to him from Salzburg, 'the universal subject of conversation here is your opera.' The Archbishop being in Vienna at the time, his father and sister were able to go to Munich for the first performance on Jan. 29, 1781. 'Idomeneo, Rè di Creta,' opera seria (366, ballet-music 367), was enthusiastically received, and decided once for all Mozart's position as a dramatic composer.

While in the full enjoyment of the pleasures of the Carnival, into which he plunged as soon as his labours were over, he received a summons from the Archbishop to join him in Vienna, and started immediately.

On March 16, 1781, after a journey of four days, Mozart arrived 'all by himself in a post chaise' in Vienna, where his destiny was to be accomplished. He was made to live with the Archbishop's household, and dine at the servants' table treatment in striking contrast to that he received from the aristocracy in general. The Countess Thun, 'the most charming and attractive woman I have ever seen in my life,' invited him to dinner, and so did vice-chancellor Count Cobenzl, and others. The Archbishop liked the prestige of appearing in society with Mozart, Ceccarelli, and Brunetti, as his domestic virtuosi, but did not allow Mozart either to play alone in any house but his own, or to give a concert. He was obliged however to yield to the entreaties of the nobility, and allow him to appear at the concert of the Tonkünstler-Societät. 'I am so happy,' Mozart exclaimed beforehand, and wrote to his father afterwards of his great success. At the Archbishop's private concert too he excited the greatest enthusiasm, though he was often addressed in that very house as 'Gassenbube' (low fellow of the streets). In vain did his father urge him to forbearance, he was determined not to remain in a position where he had such indignities to endure. The opportunity came only too soon. The Archbishop, detested by the nobility, and above all by the Emperor Joseph, did not receive an invitation to Laxenburg, the summer residence of the court, and in

  1. She was engaged as prima donna in Vienna in 1780, and married Joseph Lange, the court actor. She acknowledged atterwards that as a young girl she had not appreciated Mozart as highly as she ought to have done, but she became a great admirer of his music, and a true friend. She did not live happily with her husband, but their intercourse with Mozart was quite unconstrained. He composed for her in Vienna five more airs, and they gave mutual assistance at each others' concerts. Kelly ('Reminiscences,' i. 253) admired her at a singer of the first rank. Her voice was exceptionally high.
  2. His father succeeded in getting him appointed successor to Adlgasser, with a salary of 400 florins (about 40l.).
  3. Generally quoted as overture composed for Bianchi's 'Villanella rapita.'