Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/398

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dangerous surroundings. 'Off with you to Paris, and that immediately! Take up your position among those who are really great,—aut Cæsar aut nihil! From Paris the name and fame of a man of talent spreads throughout the world.' As for his Aloysia, he advised him to commend her to Raaff, who would not only be able to teach her, but whose good word would have great weight with impresarios. It was a hard struggle for Wolfgang, but his love for his father enabled him to defer to his authority, and the time for departure was fixed. Before leaving, however, he gave some concerts, at which he played, and produced both his compositions and his pupils; and now for the first time Mannheim became aware of what it was losing. Parting with the Webers was hard work; they all wept, and thanked him as their 'greatest benefactor.' In Mannheim he composed a soprano air for Aloysia (294); a tenor air for Raaff (295); 2 Lieder (307, 308); 2 flute-concertos (313-314); Romanze for flute (315); quartet for flute and strings (285); 7 sonatas for P.F. and violin, partly composed in Paris (296, 301–306); 3 P.F. sonatas (309–311), including the beautiful one in A minor.

Leaving Mannheim on March 14, 1778, they reached Paris on the 23rd. The father's anticipations did not in this instance prove correct; their old friend Grimm was still there, but by no means so devoted to their interests as he had been; the youth was not the same attraction as the marvellous boy had been; and the musical world was absorbed in the Gluck and Piccini controversy. Nor had they succeeded in obtaining from Vienna a recommendation to Marie Antoinette. They were thus thrown upon their Mannheim friends, and upon Count von Sickingen, to whom von Gemmingen had given them an introduction. Wolfgang renewed his acquaintance with Piccini, whom he had met in Italy, but they never got beyond the terms of ordinary courtesy; 'I know my business, and he his,—that is enough,' writes Wolfgang. Gossec he calls, 'my very good friend, and an uncommonly dry man.' There ia no trace of any acquaintance with Grétry. Grimm procured him admittance to the Due de Guisnes, who played the flute superbly, as Mozart says, and his daughter the harp. Accordingly he had to compose a concerto (299) for these two instruments, for which he cared less than any other. To the daughter he gave daily lessons in composition, and he had a few other lady-pupils. But he was not allowed to write an opera. Noverre, ballet-master at the Opéra, promised to use his influence, which was great, in his favour; but all he did was to employ him to compose twelve pieces for his ballet, 'Les petits[1] riens.' He composed a symphony for flute, oboe, bassoon, and French horn, at the request of Le Gros, director of the Concerts Spirituels, but it was never performed. Some airs in a Miserere by Holzbauer, produced at the Concerts Spirituels without Mozart's name, passed unnoticed, except by Gossec, who expressed great admiration. Le Gros afterwards ordered another symphony, which pleased greatly—the Paris or French symphony in three movements (297); and at his request Mozart wrote a second Andante in place of the original one.

In the meantime, his mother, who had never been well in Paris, became seriously ill, and died in Wolfgang's arms on July 3. With great thoughtfulness he wrote to their friend Bullinger to prepare his father for the sad news, and then sent a letter direct, which gives a high idea of the love which bound the family together, and of the manliness of his own conduct in so distressing a position.[2] Remain longer in Paris he felt he could not, and his father even urged his departure, especially as there was now some prospect for him in Salzburg, owing to the deaths of Adlgasser the court organist, and Lolli the old Capellmeister. Moreover the Archbishop had promised to allow him to go anywhere to superintend the production of an opera, should he be commissioned to write one. His last few days in Paris were cheered by his old London friend Christian Bach, who had come over for the performance of his 'Amadis.' 'His joy, and mine too, at meeting again, you can well imagine,' he wrote to his father. With Bach came Tenducci, and the three spent a few pleasant days at the Maréchal de Noailles's chateau at Saint Germain. Mozart wrote a scena[3] for Tenducci, with accompaniment for pianoforte, oboe, horn, and bassoon, and this was played by the Maréchal's servants, who were all Germans. To the compositions already mentioned in Paris must be added a gavotte (300), and a quartet for flute and strings (298).

On Sept. 26, 1778, Mozart left Paris with a still heavier heart than he had entered it six months before. He went by Nancy and Strassburg, which he reached in the middle of October. Here he gave three concerts, which produced much applause but little money, and played on Silbermann's two best organs in the Neukirche and St. Thomas. On Nov. 3 he started for Mannheim, although it was, as his father said, a foolish notion to go there when the Court, the Webers, and his best friends were all absent at Munich, and there was nothing for him to do. But it did him good to recall the old memories, and, as he said, 'I love Mannheim, and Mannheim loves me.' Besides, he had some prospect of an engagement for an opera. Seyler's troupe was still at the theatre; they were indeed only an operetta-company, but there was some talk of founding a German national opera. Here too Mozart saw two of Benda's melodramas, 'Medea' and 'Ariadne auf Naxos,' and was so delighted with them that he willingly undertook von Gemmingen's 'Semiramis.'[4] Von Dalberg, director of the theatre, also had his eye upon

  1. Discovered and printed a few years ago.
  2. Jahn gives both letters, ii. 691–2, with a facsimile of that to Bullinger in an appendix to vol. i.
  3. Tenducci appears to have taken this composition with him to London. Burney (see Barrington's 'Miscellanies,' 289) speaks of it as a masterpiece of invention and technique (Pohl's 'Mozart in London, 121).
  4. He took the libretto home with him to compose 'gratuitously.' 'You see,' he writes to his father, 'how strong my liking for this kind of composition is.' Jahn (i. 514) has not been able to discover whether he ever composed it, or whether the poem was lost.