Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/401

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MOZART.
389
 

makes it all the more difficult to exonerate his majesty from the charge of yielding to the efforts of those immediately about him, to prevent his bestowing some suitable post on Mozart. The latter writes on this subject to his father, 'Countess Thun, Count Zichy, Baron van Swieten, even Prince Kaunitz, are all much vexed at the little value that the Emperor puts on men of talent. Kaunitz said lately, when talking to the Archduke Maximilian about me, that men of that stamp only came into the world once in a hundred years, and that they ought not to be driven out of Germany, especially when, as good luck would have it, they were already in the capital.' After the success of his first concert in Lent 1782, Mozart entered into an engagement with Martin, who had instituted a series of concerts held in the winter at the [1]'Mehlgrube,' and removed in May to the [2]Augarten, where Mozart played for the first time on May 26. He afterwards joined the pianist Richter, who gave subscription concerts. Among the artists at whose concerts he appeared, were the singers Laschi, Teyber, and Storace, and his sister-in-law, Mme. Lange.

His own subscription concerts, generally three or four, were held in the theatre, at the Mehlgrube, or in the Trattnerhof, and being attended by the cream of the nobility,[3] produced both honour and profit. The programme consisted chiefly, sometimes entirely, of his own compositions—a symphony, two P.F. concertos, an orchestral piece with an instrument concertante, three or four airs, and an improvised fantasia. The latter, in which he showed incomparable skill, always roused a perfect storm of applause. For each concert he composed a new P.F. concerto, the greatest number and the best belonging to this time. With so much on his hands he might well say, when excusing himself to his sister for writing so seldom, 'Has not a man without a kreutzer of fixed income enough to do and to think of day and night in a place like this?' A list he sent to his father of the concerts for 1784 will best show the request he was in. During six weeks (Feb. 26 to April 3) he played five times at Prince Gallitzin's, nine times at Count John Esterhazy's, at three of Richter's concerts, and five of his own.

Tired of waiting for an appointment, which must have been most trying to one of his excitable nature, Mozart seriously thought of going to London and Paris, and began to practise himself in English and French. He had even written to Le Gros in Paris about engagements for the Concerts Spirituels, and the Concerts des Amateurs, but his father, horrified at the idea of a newly married man without resources thus wandering about the world, succeeded in putting a stop to the scheme. As a compensation for the postponement of one desire, he was able to fulfil another, that of presenting his young wife to his father. Starting after her recovery from her first confinement (June 17) they reached Salzburg at the end of July 1783.

Before his marriage Mozart had made a vow that if ever Constanze became his wife, he would have a new mass of his own composition performed in Salzburg. The work was nearly ready, and the missing numbers having been supplied from one of his older masses, this fine and broadly designed composition (427) was given at the end of August in the Peterskirche, Constanze herself singing the soprano. Opera bufla having been reintroduced in Vienna he began a new opera, 'L'Oca del Cairo' (422), but after some progress found the libretto (by Varesco) so wretched that he let it drop.[4] A second opera, 'Lo Sposo deluso' (430), only reached the fifth number, partly perhaps because he despaired of being able to produce it, as Sarti and Paisiello were then in Vienna, absorbing public attention with the triumph of the latter's 'Il Rè Teodoro.' In the meantime Mozart rendered a service of love to his friend Michael Haydn, who was incapacitated by illness from completing two duets for violin and viola for the Archbishop. The Archbishop characteristically threatened to stop his Concertmeister's salary, but Mozart came to the rescue, and undertook to write the two pieces 'with unmistakable pleasure.' His friend retained his salary, and the Archbishop received the duets (423, 424) as Haydn's. Mozart also took an active interest in his father's pupils—Marchand the violinist of 12 (then playing in Vienna), his sister Margarethe, then 14, afterwards Mme. Danzi, the well-known singer, and a child of 9, the daughter of Brochard the celebrated actor. He also became intimate with Marie Therèse Paradies the blind pianist, who was then in Salzburg, and for whom he afterwards composed a concerto (456). The main object of his visit however was not fulfilled. It was only after long opposition that his father had unwillingly given his consent to his marriage, but Wolfgang hoped that his prejudice against Constanze would disappear on acquaintance; neither his father nor his sister however took to her.

Leaving Salzburg on the 30th of October, and stopping at Lambach for Mozart to play the organ in the monastery, they found Count Thun on the look-out for them at Linz, and made some stay with him, being treated with every consideration. For a concert which Mozart gave in

  1. A very old building, with rooms in which balls and concerts were held. A flour-warehouse in the basement gave its name to the house. It is now the Hotel Munsch.
  2. See Augarten, vol. i. p. 104a.
  3. In the list of his subscribers for 1784 we find, besides his regular patrons. Countess Thun, Baroness Waldstadten, Count Zichy, van Swieten, etc., the Duke of Wirtemberg, Princes Lichtenstein, Auersperg, Kaunitz, Lichnowsky, Lobkowitz, Paar, Palm, and Schwarzenberg; the distinguished families of Bathyany, Dietrichstein, Erdödy, Esterhazy, Harrach, Herberstein, Keglewicz, Nostiz, Palfy. Schaffgotsch, Stahrenberg, and Waldstein; the Russian, Spanish, Sardinian, Dutch, and Danish ambassadors; the eminent financiers Fries, Henickstein, Arenfeld, Blenenfeld, Ployer, and Wetzlar; government officials of position, and scientific men, such as Isdenczy, Bedekovich, Nevery, Braun, Greiner, Keess, Puffendorf, Born, Martini, Sonnenfels, etc.
  4. It was completed by André, with a Rondeau, quartetto from 'Lo Sposo deluso,' finale from 'La Villanella rapita,' by Mozart; was adapted to new words by Victor Wilder, and performed in Paris, Théâtre des fantatstes-Parisiennes, June 6, 1867; at Vienna in the Carl Theatre. 1868; at Drury Lane, May 12. 1870.