Austria: Mozart in Salzburg

Salzburg is the Mozart city, with the house in which Mozart was born, the house where he lived, the Mozarteum International Foundation, the Mozart family grave and so on. Wherever you go in Salzburg, you will find traces of the composer, and the 250th anniversary of his birth is yet another occasion to present the composer as the city's son.

The series of festive events on the topic of Mozart in Salzburg begins with the "Viva! MOZART" exhibition in the Residence at Mozartplatz 1, constructed on the instructions of Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau around 1600, and will continue with performances of all 22 of the composer's operas during this year's Salzburg Festival.

Ever since the birth of this musical genius, the city on the Salzach River has been inseparably associated with the name Mozart. Managed by his father Leopold, the child prodigy attracted the city's attention at the early age of four. At the age of eleven, Mozart, who never attended school, composed the school opera "Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots" together with considerably older Salzburg court musicians, including Michael Haydn. In 1769, he was able to arrange for a performance in Salzburg of his opera "La finta semplice", composed in Vienna, and in the same year he was appointed third concert master at the Salzburg Court Orchestra, a post that was, however, unpaid. After the death of his employer and patron Sigismund Graf von Schrattenbach, Hieronymus Graf Colloredo was made Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg, and it was in honour of the new lord of the province that Mozart's Serenata dramatica "Il Sogno di Scipione" was performed. This led to the Prince appointing him to the post of (paid) concert master.

In addition to the sacred music that was composed as part of his ecclesiastical court duties, Mozart turned more and more to the composition of instrumental music, such as symphonies, concertos and serenades. Nevertheless, the composer and musician endeavoured to escape the strict regulations of the service at the Salzburg court by going on long journeys (3rd tour of Italy), but the post he had hoped for abroad did not materialise. In 1775 Mozart attempted to make his own living as a composer in Salzburg, but this, too, proved unsuccessful. In August 1777, he asked to be released from his contract and travelled to Mannheim and Paris, returning to Salzburg in 1778 following the death of his mother, having again failed to obtain a permanent post abroad. In January 1779 he was once again employed by the court, this time as court organist, and it was during this time that he composed his "Coronation Mass". He put up with this position for 20 months of an always tense relationship with the Prince-Archbishop. In 1781, he travelled to Munich for the first performance of his opera seria "Idomeneo, Re di Creta". He was then immediately summonsed by Graf Colloredo to Vienna, where the dispute between the two men led to the definitive rupture of their relationship. On June 8, 1781, Mozart gave notice of his employment in Salzburg and from then on lived in Vienna, only returning to Salzburg for the occasional family visit.

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