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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1763, aged seven, at the start of the Grand Tour. He is wearing livery presented by the Empress of Austria the previous winter.

The Mozart family grand tour was a 1763–1766 journey around the capitals and other major cities of western Europe, undertaken by Leopold Mozart, his wife Anna Maria, and their musically gifted children Maria Anna (Nannerl) and Wolfgang Amadeus. Leopold was a court musician to the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg, and by 1763 held the post of deputy Kapellmeister. He obtained a protracted leave of absence so that the precocious talents of his children, then aged eleven and seven respectively, could be demonstrated to the wider world.

The children's extraordinary skills had already been revealed during visits to Munich and Vienna in 1762. In Vienna they had played before the Empress Maria Theresa, and a schedule of public performances had earned considerable sums of money. The social and pecuniary opportunities that might accrue from a prolonged trip, taking in the major European courts, complemented what Leopold saw as his duty "as a Catholic and a German"[1] to display the talents of his miraculous children.

The grand tour itinerary took the family, via Munich and Frankfurt, to Brussels. From there they travelled to Paris, and, after a stay of five months, departed for London for what would be their longest sojourn of fifteen months. In London, Wolfgang made the acquaintance of some of the leading musicians of the day, heard much music, and composed his first symphonies. The family moved on to the Netherlands, where the schedule of performances was interrupted by the illnesses of both children, but Wolfgang continued to compose prolifically. The homeward journey incorporated a second stop in Paris and a trip through Switzerland, before the family's return to Salzburg in November 1766.

The children's performances inspired comments of rapture and amazement wherever they played. However, the material rewards of the tour, though reportedly substantial, did not transform the family's lifestyle, and Leopold continued in the Prince-Archbishop's service. The journey let the children fully experience the cosmopolitan musical world and receive an outstanding education, which in Wolfgang's case continued through further journeys during the next six years.


Child prodigies

Leopold, Wolfgang, and Nannerl. Watercolour by Carmontelle, circa. 1763–64

The Mozart children were not alone as 18th-century music prodigies. Education writer Gary Spruce says that there were hundreds of similar cases and cites that of William Crotch of Norwich who in 1778, at the age of three, was giving organ recitals.[2] British scholar Jane O'Connor relates the popularity of prodigies at this time to "the realisation of the potential entertainment and fiscal value of an individual child who was in some way extraordinary".[3] Other Mozart childhood contemporaries were the violinist and composer Thomas Linley, born the same year as Wolfgang, and the organist prodigy Siegmund Bachmann.[4][5] It was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, however, who eventually became recognised among prodigies as the future standard for early success and promise.[6]

Of seven children born to Leopold and Anna Maria Mozart, only the fourth, Maria Anna (Nannerl), born 31 July 1751, and the youngest, Wolfgang Amadeus, born 27 January 1756, survived infancy.[7] The children were educated at home, under Leopold's guidance, learning basic skills in reading, writing, drawing and arithmetic, together with some history and geography.[8] Their musical education began from the cradle, through the constant rehearsing and playing of Leopold and his fellow musicians.[8] When Nannerl was seven her father began to teach her to play the harpsichord, with Wolfgang looking on; according to Nannerl's own account "the boy immediately showed his extraordinary, God-given talent. He often spent long periods at the clavier, picking out thirds, and his pleasure showed that they sounded good to him [...] When he was five years old he was composing little pieces which he would play to his father who would write them down".[9] A family friend, the poet Johann Andreas Schachtner, recounted that at the age of four Wolfgang began to compose a recognisable piano concerto, and was able to demonstrate a phenomenal sense of pitch.[8]

Marie Antoinette, aged 7, in 1763, when she met Mozart in Vienna

Nannerl herself was an extremely apt pupil, no less quick to learn than her brother, playing the keyboard with striking virtuosity by the time she was eleven.[10] In that year, 1762, Leopold brought the children to Munich to play before Maximilian III Joseph, the Elector of Bavaria.[11] Leopold then took the entire family to Vienna, on a trip that lasted for three months.[12] He had secured invitations from several noble patrons, and within three days of arriving the children were playing at the palace of Count Collalto. Among those present was the Viennese Treasury councillor and future prime minister Johann Karl Count Zinzendorf, who noted in his diary that "a little boy, said to be only five-and-a-half years old [Wolfgang was actually nearly seven] played the harpsichord".[12] After an appearance before the Imperial Vice-Chancellor, the Mozarts were invited to the royal court, where the Empress Maria Theresa tested Wolfgang's abilities by requiring him to play with the keyboard covered.[12] During this court visit Wolfgang met the Archduchess Maria Antonia, the future Queen Marie Antoinette of France, who was two months his senior. Mozart biographer Eric Blom recounts an anecdote of how the Archduchess helped Wolfgang when he slipped on the polished floor; the then Archduchess is supposed to have received a proposal of marriage in return.[13]

As the Mozarts began to be noticed by the Viennese aristocracy, they were often required to give several performances during a single day.[12] They were well rewarded for this activity—at the end of their first hectic week in Vienna, Leopold was able to send home the equivalent of more than two years' salary.[14] Their schedule was interrupted when Wolfgang fell ill with scarlet fever, and their former momentum was not regained. Nevertheless, the visit left Leopold eager to pursue further opportunities for social and financial success.[14] On their return to Salzburg, Wolfgang played the harpsichord and violin at a birthday concert for the Archbishop, to the evident astonishment of those present.[15]

Grand tour



Leopold Mozart, circa. 1765

In a letter to his friend and landlord Lorenz Hagenauer (1712–1792), written after the tour, Leopold quotes the words of the German diplomat Friedrich Melchior, Baron von Grimm, who had said, after hearing the children play: "Now for once in my life I have seen a miracle: this is the first".[16] Leopold believed that it was his duty to his country, his prince and his God to proclaim this miracle to the world, by showing Nannerl and Wolfgang to the highest European society, otherwise he would be the most ungrateful creature.[16] It has been suggested by Mozart biographer Wolfgang Hildesheimer that, at least in the case of Wolfgang, this venture was premature: "Too soon, [the] father dragged [the] son all over Western Europe for years. This continual change of scene would have worn out even a robust child..."[17] However, there is little evidence to suggest that Wolfgang was physically harmed or musically stymied by these childhood exertions; it seems that he felt equal to the challenge from the start.[18]

Leopold wanted to begin the tour as soon as possible—the younger the children were, the more spectacular would be the demonstration of their gifts.[16] The route he intended to take included southern Germany, the Austrian Netherlands, Paris, Switzerland and possibly northern Italy. The London leg was only added after urgings during the Paris visit, and the eventual Dutch trip was an unplanned detour.[16][19] The plan was to take in as many princely European courts as possible, as well as the great cultural capitals, Leopold relying on his professional musical network and on his more recent social contacts to obtain invitations from the royal courts. Practical assistance came from Hagenauer, whose trading connections in the major cities would supply the Mozarts with what were effectively banking facilities.[14] These would enable them to obtain money en route, while waiting for the proceeds from their performances to roll in.[20]

Wolfgang prepared for the tour by perfecting himself on the violin, which he had learned to play apparently without any tuition whatsoever.[21] As for more general preparation, the children delighted in making music together, something they never lost.[22] On tour, even during the busiest travelling days they would fit in their daily practice, appearing have thrive on the hectic schedule.[23] Before the journey could begin, Leopold needed the consent of his employer, the prince-archbishop. Leopold had only been appointed deputy Kapellmeister in January 1763; nevertheless the archbishop's consent to an extended leave of absence was granted, on the grounds that the Mozarts' successes would bring glory to Salzburg, its ruler, and to God.[16]

Map showing the Grand Tour, 1763–66. Black line shows outward journey to London, 1763–64. Red line shows homeward journey to Salzburg, 1765–66. Occluded line shows travel in each direction

Early stages (July–November 1763)

The journey's beginning, on 9 July 1763, was inauspicious; on the first day a carriage wheel broke, requiring a 24-hour interlude while repairs were carried out. Leopold turned this delay to advantage, by taking Wolfgang to the nearby church at Wasserburg, where according to Leopold the boy played on the organ pedals as if he had been studying it for months.[24] In Munich, on successive evenings, the children played before Elector Maximilian III, earning from these engagements the equivalent of half of Leopold's annual salary of 354 gulden or florins.[25][26][27] The next stop was Augsburg, where Leopold's estranged mother refused to attend any of the three concerts given there.[28] The family then moved on to Schwetzingen and the Mannheim court, where the children's performance apparently amazed Elector Palatine Karl Theodor and his Electress.[26]

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe saw the infant prodigies perform in Frankfurt in 1765.

The next extended stop was at Mainz. The Elector was ill, but the Mozarts gave three concerts in the town, which brought in 200 gulden.[29] From Mainz the family took the market boat up the River Main to Frankfurt, where several public concerts were given. Among those present at the first of these was the fourteen-year-old Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who would many years later recall "the little fellow with his wig and his sword".[26] An advertisement for these concerts announced that "the girl" would play "the most difficult pieces by the greatest masters", while "the boy" would play a concerto on the violin and also repeat his Vienna trick of playing with the keyboard completely covered by a cloth. Finally "he will improvise out of his head, not only on the fortepiano but also on the all the keys, even the most difficult, that he may be asked".[26]

Then the family took another riverboat to Koblenz, thence to Bonn and Cologne. At Aachen a performance was given before Princess Anna Amalia of Prussia, the sister of Frederick the Great.[15] The princess tried to persuade Leopold to abandon his itinerary and go to Berlin, but Leopold resisted. "She has no money," he wrote to Hagenauer, recounting that she had repaid the performance with kisses. "Howbeit, neither mine host nor the postmaster are to be contented with kisses."[30] The next stage of the journey took them to the Austrian Netherlands,[31] where they visited Liège before arriving in the regional capital, Brussels, on 5 October. After a long wait for the governor-general, Prince Charles of Lorraine, to summon them ("His highness the prince does nothing but hunt, gobble and swill", wrote Leopold to Hagenauer),[30] a grand concert was held in the prince's presence on 7 November. On the 15th the family departed for Paris.[26]

During the long hiatus in Brussels, Wolfgang turned his attention briefly from performing to composing. On 14 October he finished an Allegro for harpsichord, which would later be incorporated into the C major sonata, K.6,[32] which he completed in Paris.[26]

Paris (November 1763 – April 1764)

Plaque on the Hôtel Beauvais, where the Mozarts lodged in Paris, 1763–64

On 18 November 1763 the Mozart family arrived in Paris, the most important musical centre of Europe, and also a city of great power, wealth, and intellectual activity.[33] At nearby Versailles was the court of Louis XV, where Leopold hoped to be received. However, a recent death in the royal family prevented any immediate invitation, so Leopold sought other engagements.[33] Biographer Eric Blom writes that the family was initially ignored,[34] although Leopold's letters record appearances at several noble houses. One person who took particular note of the children was the German diplomat Friedrich Melchior von Grimm, whose journal records Wolfgang's feats in glowing terms: "the most consummate Kapellmeister could not be more profound in the science of harmony and modulation".[33] This is close to Leopold's own assessment, written a few months later: "My little girl, although only 12 years old, is one of the most skilful players in Europe and, in a word, my boy knows more in his eighth year than one would expect for a man of forty".[35][36]

On 24 December the family moved to Versailles for two weeks during which, through a court connection, they were able to attend a royal dinner, where Wolfgang was reportedly allowed to kiss the hand of the Queen.[33] At Versailles they also visited the famous courtesan Madame de Pompadour, then in the last months of her life—"an extremely haughty woman who still ruled over everything", according to Leopold.[37] In Nannerl's later recollections, Wolfgang was made to stand on a chair to be examined by the Madame, who would not allow him to kiss her.[38]

Madame de Pompadour, whom the Mozarts met at Versailles, 1763–64

There is no record of the children giving a formal concert at Versailles. In February 1764 they were given 50 louis d'or (about 550 florins) and a gold snuff-box by the royal entertainments office, presumably for entertaining the royal family privately, but no more details are available.[33] Further concerts were given in Paris on 10 March and on 9 April, at a private theatre in the rue et Porte St Honoré.[33] At this time Wolfgang's first published works were printed: two pairs of sonatas for harpsichord and violin, K.6 and 7, and K.8 and 9. These pairs became Opus 1 and Opus 2 in Leopold's private catalogue of his son's work.[35] The first pair was dedicated to the king's daughter, Madame Victoire de France, the second to the Countess of Tessé. In writing these sonatas Wolfgang developed material that had originally been written as harpsichord solos, and included the Allegro he had composed in Brussels in the first of the series, K.6 in C major. This consists of four movements, whereas the subsequent sonatas, in D major K.7, in B flat major K.8, and in G major K.9, are more conventional three movement works.[39] Mozart biographer Stanley Sadie comments that some aspects of the pieces are rather childish and naïve, but that nevertheless, their technique is "astonishingly sure, their line of thinking is clear and smooth, and their formal balance is beyond reproach".[40]

A decision was taken in Paris to go to London, perhaps on the advice of Leopold's musical and court acquaintances, who would probably have advised him that England was, in Mozart scholar Neal Zaslaw's words, "known for the enthusiasm with which it received continental musicians and the extravagance with which it rewarded them".[41] On 10 April the family left for Calais and after an unpleasant crossing to Dover on a hired boat, and some delays, arrived in London on 23 April.[42]

London (April 1764 – July 1765)

Cecil Court, the street in which the Mozart family found lodgings on arriving in London, April 1764 (2005 photograph)

The Mozarts' first London lodgings were above a barber's shop in Cecil Court, near St Martin's in the Fields. Letters of introduction from Paris proved effective, as on 27 April the children were playing before King George III and his 19-year-old German queen, Charlotte Sophia.[42] A second royal engagement was fixed for 19 May,[43] at which Wolfgang was asked by the king to play pieces by Handel, Johann Christian Bach and Carl Friedrich Abel. The royal party was impressed by his organ-playing even more than his harpsichord playing. He was allowed to accompany the queen as she sang an aria, and then took the bass part of a Handel aria and, according to Leopold, "improvised the most beautiful melody in such a manner that everyone was astonished".[42][44]

Many of the nobility and gentry were leaving town for the summer, but Leopold reckoned that most would return for the king's birthday celebrations on 4 June, and accordingly organised a concert for the following day.[45] This was deemed a success, and Leopold hastened to arrange for Wolfgang to appear at a benefit concert for a maternity hospital on 29 June at Ranelagh Pleasure Gardens. Leopold apparently saw this effort to support charitable works as "a way to earn the love of this very special nation".[45] Wolfgang was advertised as "...the celebrated and astonishing Master Mozart, a Child of Seven Years of Age..." (he was in fact eight), "justly esteemed the most extraordinary Prodigy, and most amazing Genius, that has appeared in any Age".[46] On 8 July there was a private performance at the Grosvenor Square home of the Earl of Thanet, from which Leopold returned with an inflammation of the throat and other worrying symptoms.[45] "Prepare your heart to hear one of the saddest events", he wrote to Hagenauer in anticipation of his own imminent demise.[47] He was ill for several weeks, and for the sake of his health the family moved from their Cecil Court Lodgings to a house in the countryside, in Ebury Street, then considered part of the village of Chelsea.[48]

Plaque on the house in Ebury Street, where the Mozarts stayed in the summer of 1765

During Leopold's illness performances were impossible, so Wolfgang turned to the composition of symphonies. Nannerl's later recollections imply that this was at Ebury Street, but other evidence contradicts this.[47] Jane Glover says that Wolfgang was inspired by having met J.C. Bach and heard his symphonies, and decided to compose some of his own.[48] It is not clear when Wolfgang first met Bach or heard his symphonies, although he had played harpsichord works by Bach in his royal recital in May 1764.[49] Whatever the precise date, Wolfgang soon completed his Symphony No. 1 in E flat, K.16, and started his No. 4 in D, K.19 (which Zaslaw concludes was more likely composed, or at least completed, in The Hague).[50][51] The D major symphony has, in Hildesheimer's words, "an originality of melody and modulation which goes beyond the routine methods of his [grown-up] contemporaries".[52] These are Wolfgang's first orchestral writings, although Zaslaw hypothesises a theoretical "Symphony No. 0" from sketches in Wolfgang's musical notebook.[53] Three lost symphonies, identified in the Köchel catalogue of Mozart's works only by their incipits (first few bars of music), may also have originated from the London period.[36] Other works composed by Wolfgang in London include several instrumental sonatas, the jewel of which, according to Hildesheimer, is the C major sonata for piano, four hands, K.19d.[54] He also wrote his first vocal works, the motet God is our Refuge, K.20, and the tenor aria Va, dal furor portata, K.21.[55] A set of the sonatas, with extra flute and cello parts, was dedicated to Queen Charlotte at her request, and presented to her with an appropriate inscription in January 1765.[56]

Carl Friedrich Abel, an important influence on Mozart in London

At the end of September, with Leopold's recovery, the family moved back to central London, to lodgings in Thrift Street (later Frith Street), Soho. These lodgings were located conveniently close to several concert rooms, and to the residences of both Carl Friedrich Abel and Johann Christian Bach. Bach, a son of Johann Sebastian Bach, soon became a family friend; Nannerl later recalled Bach and the eight-year-old Wolfgang playing a sonata together, taking turns to play a few bars individually, and that "anyone not watching would have thought it was played by one person alone".[57] It is not certain that the Mozarts met Abel, but Wolfgang knew his symphonies, perhaps through the medium of the annual Bach-Abel concert series, and was much influenced by them.[58] On 25 October, at King George's invitation, the children played at the celebrations marking the fourth anniversary of the king's accession.[59] Their next public appearance was a concert on 21 February 1765, before a moderate audience—the date clashed with a Bach-Abel concert. Only one more London concert was given, on 13 May, but between April and June members of the public could go to the Mozarts' lodgings where, for a five shilling fee, Wolfgang would perform his musical party pieces. During June both the "young Prodigies"[60] performed daily at the Swan and Harp Tavern in Cornhill, the charge this time being a mere two shillings and sixpence. These were, as Sadie puts it, "Leopold's last, desperate effort to extract guineas from the English public".[61] Hildesheimer likens this part of the tour to a travelling circus, comparing the Mozarts to a family of acrobats.[17]

The Mozarts left London for the continent on 24 July 1765. Before this, Leopold allowed Wolfgang to be subjected to a scientific examination, conducted by The Hon. Daines Barrington. A report, issued in Philosophical Transactions for the year 1770, confirms the truth of Wolfgang's exceptional capabilities.[62] Practically the last act of the family in London was the gift to the British Museum of the manuscript copy of God is our Refuge.[62]

The Netherlands (September 1765 – March 1766)

Leopold had been quite specific in letters to Hagenauer that the family would not visit the Dutch Republic, but would go to Paris and then return home to Salzburg.[50] However, he was persuaded by an envoy of the Princess Caroline of Nassau-Weilburg, sister of the Prince of Orange, to go instead to The Hague and to present the children to her, as official guests of the court.[50] After the party's landing at Calais there was a month's delay at Lille, as first Wolfgang fell sick with tonsillitis, then Leopold suffered prolonged dizziness attacks.[63] Early in September the family moved on to Ghent, where Wolfgang played on the new organ at the Bernardines chapel; a few days later he played on the cathedral organ at Antwerp.[64] On 11 September the family finally reached The Hague.[63]

Willem V, Prince of Orange, painted by J. G. Ziesenis. The young prince met the Mozart family in 1765–66.

After arriving in The Hague, Nannerl developed a severe cold and was unable to participate in the initial concerts before the Princess during their first week, nor in a performance before the Prince a few days later.[63] Leopold was sufficiently confident of Nannerl's recovery to announce the appearances of both prodigies at a concert to be given at the hall of the Oude Doelen on 30 September. The notice for this concert gives Wolfgang's age as eight (he was nine), but correctly gives Nannerl's as fourteen. The advertisement concentrates on Wolfgang: "All the overtures will be from the hands of this young composer [...] Music-lovers may confront him with any music at will, and he will play it at sight".[50] It is not certain whether this concert in fact took place—Sadie believes it may have been postponed.[63] If it did happen, Wolfgang appeared alone, for by this time Nannerl's cold had turned into typhoid fever. Her condition grew steadily worse, and on 21 October she was given the last sacrament.[63] A visit from the royal physician turned the tide; he changed the treatment, and by the end of the month she was recovering. Then Wolfgang fell ill, and it was mid-December before he was on his feet again.[63]

Both children were able to appear at the Oude Doelen on 22 January 1766, in a concert which may have included the first public performance of one of Wolfgang's London symphonies, K.19, and possibly of a new symphony in B flat major K.22, composed in the Netherlands.[65] Following this concert they spent time in Amsterdam before returning to The Hague early in March.[63] The main reason for their return was the forthcoming public celebrations of the Prince of Orange's coming of age. Wolfgang had composed a quodlibet (song medley) for small orchestra and harpsichord, entitled Galimathias musicum, K.32, which was played at a special concert to honour the Prince on 11 March.[66] This was one of several pieces composed for the occasion; Wolfgang also wrote arias for the Princess using words from Metastasio's libretto Artaserse (including Conservati fedele, K. 23), and keyboard variations on a Dutch song Laat ons juichen, Batavieren! K. 24. He wrote a set of keyboard and violin sonatas for the Princess, as he had earlier for the French princess and for the Queen of Great Britain. Another symphony, K.45a, commonly known as "Old Lambach" and once thought to have been written several years later, was also written in The Hague, possibly for the Prince's concert.[63][67]

The family left The Hague at the end of March, moving first to Haarlem, where the organist of St Bavo's Church invited Wolfgang to play on the church's organ, one of the largest in the country.[63] From there they travelled east and south, giving concerts along the way at Amsterdam and Utrecht, before leaving the Netherlands and travelling through Brussels and Valenciennes, to arrive in Paris on 10 May.[63]

Homeward journey (March–November 1766)

The Mozart family's house, No. 9 Getreidegasse, Salzburg, photographed in 1998. The family's quarters were on the floor immediately above the sign "Mozarts Geburtshaus"

The family remained in Paris for two months. No concerts were given by them in this period although, according to Grimm, there were performances of Wolfgang's symphonies.[68] Grimm was effusive about the development of both children; Nannerl, he wrote, "had the finest and most brilliant execution on the harpsichord", and: "no-one but her brother can rob her of supremacy".[69] Of Wolfgang he quoted a Prince of Brunswick as saying that many Kapellmeisters at the peak of their art would die without knowing what the boy knew at the age of nine. "If these children live," wrote Grimm, "they will not remain in Salzburg. Monarchs will soon be disputing about who should have them".[69]

The only surviving music composed by Wolfgang during this Paris visit is his Kyrie in F major, K.33, his first attempt to write formal church music.[70] On 9 July the family left Paris for Dijon, following an invitation from the Prince of Condé. The children played in a concert there on 19 July, accompanied by a local orchestra, about whose players Leopold made disparaging comments: Très mediocre – Un miserable italien detestable – Asini tutti – Un racleur (a scratcher) – Rotten.[71] They moved on to Lyon where Wolfgang "preluded for an hour and a quarter with the most capable master here, yielding nothing to him".[72]

A letter to Hagenauer dated 16 August indicated that Leopold wished to proceed to Turin, then across northern Italy to Venice, and home via the Tyrol. "Our own interest and love of travel should have induced us to follow our noses", he wrote, but added: "...I have said I shall go [directly] home and I shall keep my word".[73] The family took a shorter route through Switzerland, arriving in Geneva on 20 August, where the children gave two concerts, and were received by the distinguished composer André-Ernest-Modeste Grétry. Many years later Grétry wrote of this encounter: "I wrote for him [Wolfgang] an Allegro in E flat, difficult but without pretension; he played it, and everyone, except myself, thought it was a miracle. The child had never broken off, but following the modulations, he had substituted a number of passages for those I had written".[73] This claim, that Wolfgang improvised when faced with passages he could not play, appears to be the only adverse comment from all those called upon to test him.[73]

The journey through Switzerland continued, with concerts at Lausanne and Zürich. Since leaving the Netherlands Wolfgang had composed little; a minor harpsichord piece, K.33B, written for the Zürich concerts, and later some cello pieces (since lost) written for the Prince of Fürstenberg, who received the party on its arrival in Donaueschingen, on the German border, on 20 October.[73] They spent 12 days here before resuming their journey towards Munich, which they reached on 8 November. They were delayed here for nearly two weeks after Wolfgang fell ill, but he was well enough to perform before the Elector, with Nannerl, on 22 November.[73] A few days later they set out for Salzburg, arriving at their home on the Getreidegasse on 29 November 1766.[73]



The party had survived major setbacks, including several prolonged illnesses which had curtailed their earning powers. Although Leopold did not reveal the full extent of the tour's earnings, or its expenses,[74] the material benefits from the tour had evidently been considerable—but so had the costs. The librarian of St Peter's Abbey, Salzburg, thought that the gifts ("gewgaws") alone which they brought back were worth about 12,000 florins, but estimated the total costs of the enterprise at 20,000 florins.[75] The expenses were certainly high; in a letter to Hagenauer sent in September 1763, after ten weeks on the road, Leopold reported expenses to date as 1,068 florins, an amount covered by their concert earnings without, however, any significant surplus.[76] Leopold stated that "there was nothing to be saved, because we have to travel in noble or courtly style for the preservation of our health and the reputation of my court".[76] He later recorded that on arrival in Paris in November 1763 that they had "very little money".[77]

At times, the coffers were full; in April 1764, near the end of the Paris sojourn and after two successful concerts, Leopold announced he would shortly be depositing 2,200 florins with his bankers.[78] Two months later, after the initial London successes, Leopold banked a further 1,100 florins. However, in November of that year, after his illness and with uncertain earning prospects, he was worrying about the high costs of living in London—he informed Hagenauer that he had spent 1,870 florins in the four-month period since July.[79] The following summer, after little concert activity, Leopold resorted to increasingly desperate measures[80] to raise funds, including the children's daily circus performances at the Swan and Harp Inn at prices described by Jane Glover as humiliating.[80] The insecurity of travelling life led Leopold to believe, later, that Wolfgang was not worldly-wise enough to attempt such journeys alone, and needed to be anchored to an assured salary.[81]


In terms of musical development, while both children had advanced, Wolfgang's progress had been extraordinary, beyond all expectation.[74] The Mozarts were now known throughout the musical establishments and royal courts of Northern Europe.[74] As well as the encounters in palaces with kings, queens and nobility, the children could converse in several languages;[74] the tour represented, for them, an outstanding education.[18] However, these advantages had been gained at a price; Grimm, in Paris, noting the stress and strain on Wolfgang in particular, had feared that "so premature a fruit might fall before maturing".[74] However, Hildesheimer, while also expressing concerns, concludes that if Mozart's death at the age of 35 was caused by the exertions of his childhood, the intervening decades would not have been so productive, and obvious symptoms of decline would have manifested themselves.[18]

Salzburg Cathedral, where Mozart made his home town debut as a symphonist in December 1766

Of Wolfgang's music composed during the tour, around thirty pieces survive. A number of further works are lost, including the Zürich cello pieces and several symphonies.[82] The surviving works include the keyboard sonatas written in Paris, London and The Hague, four symphonies, various arias, the assorted music written for the Prince of Orange, a Kyrie, and other minor pieces.[83][84] Mozart's career as a symphonist began in London where, in addition to the direct influences of Abel and J.C. Bach, he would have heard symphonies from leading London composers including Thomas Arne, William Boyce and Giuseppe Sammartini—"a nearly ideal introduction to the genre", according to Zaslaw.[36] The earliest symphonies, Zaslaw points out, while not in the same class as the later Mozart masterpieces, are comparable in length, complexity and originality to those written at the same time by the acknowledged symphonic masters of the day.[85] Indeed, Abel's Symphony No. 6 in E Flat was similar enough in style and technique to be mistaken as Mozart's, and is listed as such (Symphony No. 3, K.18) in the original Köchel catalogue.[86] Sadie observes that the K.22 symphony composed in The Hague is a good deal more sophisticated than the earlier ones which were written in London.[87]

Mozart's creative progress is likewise reflected in the sonatas composed for the Princess of Orange, which, according to Sadie, mark a considerable advance in technique and ideas over the earlier Paris and London sets.[87] The arias composed in the Netherlands include Mozart's first attempts at "aria d'affetto", Per pièta, bell'idol mio, K.73b, once thought to have been composed much later, as its higher K number indicates.[88] The tour thus saw Wolfgang's transformation from a composer of simple keyboard pieces to one with increasing mastery over a range of genres. This was evidenced in his home city, on 8 December, when one of his symphonies (it is uncertain which) was performed at High Mass at Salzburg Cathedral.[89][90] Leopold's employer, the Prince-Archbishop, was frankly skeptical about Wolfgang's compositions, believing them to be Leopold's because they were "not nearly bad enough to be the work of a child".[91]


Whatever the true extent of their financial rewards from the tour, the Mozart family continued to live in their cramped apartment on the Getreidegasse, while Leopold resumed his duties as a court musician.[92] However, travel and public display dominated the next six years of Wolfgang's life. In September 1767 the family was on the move again, this time to Vienna, remaining there (apart from an enforced evacuation during a smallpox epidemic) until January 1769.[93] In December of the same year Leopold and Wolfgang left for Italy—without Nannerl who, now 18, was no longer exhibitable as a child wonder.[94] They were away for sixteen months, and returned to Milan in August 1771 for five months, to attend rehearsals and the performance of Wolfgang's opera Ascanio in Alba.[95] A third and final visit to Italy, from October 1772 until March 1773, was the last of the extended trips; the new Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg, Hieronymous Colloredo, had distinct views about the roles of his court musicians, which precluded the freedoms that Leopold—and now Wolfgang, himself employed by the court[96]—had formerly enjoyed.[97]

Notes and references

  1. ^ Sadie, p. 33
  2. ^ Spruce, p. 71
  3. ^ O'Connor, pp. 40–41
  4. ^ Sadie, p. 102
  5. ^ Sadie, pp. 192–93
  6. ^ Knittel, p. 124
  7. ^ The full baptismal names of these children were Maria Anna Walburgia Ignatia and Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus. Maria Anna was always known by the diminutive "Nannerl", while the boy's name was contracted in general usage to Wolfgang Amadé (or Amadè). The form "Wolfgang Amadeus", occasionally used in his lifetime, has become popularised since. Theophilus and Amadeus are respectively the Greek and Latin forms of "Loved of God". Sadie, pp. 15–16
  8. ^ a b c Glover, pp. 16–17
  9. ^ Sadie, p. 18
  10. ^ Blom, p. 8
  11. ^ Sadie, p. 22, casts doubt on this visit, suggesting that it might have been "falsely remembered" by Nannerl.
  12. ^ a b c d Sadie, pp. 23–29
  13. ^ Blom, p. 14. Gutman, Introduction p. xx, has the same story. See also Evelyne Lever, Marie Antoinette
  14. ^ a b c Glover, pp. 18–19
  15. ^ a b Kenyon, p. 55
  16. ^ a b c d e Sadie, pp. 34–36
  17. ^ a b Hildesheimer, pp. 30–31
  18. ^ a b c Hildesheimer, p. 29
  19. ^ Blom, p. 23
  20. ^ Halliwell, p. 67
  21. ^ Blom, p. 14
  22. ^ Glover, p. 19
  23. ^ Halliwell, p. 56
  24. ^ Leopold Mozart letter, quoted by Sadie, p. 37
  25. ^ The florin, or gulden, was the currency of the Austro-Hungarian empire. A florin was worth about one-tenth of a £ sterling.
  26. ^ a b c d e f Sadie, pp. 37–47
  27. ^ Sadie, p. 35
  28. ^ Glover, p. 20
  29. ^ Sadie, p. 41
  30. ^ a b Blom, p. 17
  31. ^ This area corresponds roughly to present-day Belgium and Luxembourg. Sadie, p. 46
  32. ^ "K" refers to the catalogue of Mozart's works, completed in 1862 by Ludwig von Köchel and revised several times subsequently.
  33. ^ a b c d e f Sadie, pp. 47–50
  34. ^ Blom, p. 18
  35. ^ a b Kenyon, p. 56
  36. ^ a b c Zaslaw, pp. 28–29
  37. ^ Baker, p. 22
  38. ^ Blom, p. 19
  39. ^ Sadie, pp. 54–55
  40. ^ Sadie, p. 57
  41. ^ Zaslaw, p. 42
  42. ^ a b c Sadie, pp. 58–59
  43. ^ Zaslaw dates this second royal recital 28 May – Zaslaw, p. 26
  44. ^ Blom, pp. 23–24
  45. ^ a b c Blom, p. 25
  46. ^ Sadie, p. 62
  47. ^ a b Sadie, pp. 63–65
  48. ^ a b Glover, p. 25
  49. ^ Zaslaw, pp. 25–26
  50. ^ a b c d Zaslaw, pp. 44–45
  51. ^ The symphonies numbered 2, K.17 and 3, K.18 are each spurious. No. 2 is the work of Leopold, No. 3 of Carl Friedrich Abel. Blom, p. 26
  52. ^ Hildesheimer, pp. 34–35
  53. ^ Zaslaw, pp. 17–20
  54. ^ Hildesheimer, p. 33
  55. ^ Blom, p. 26
  56. ^ Sadie, p. 86
  57. ^ Sadie, p. 66
  58. ^ Gutman, p. 184 (f/n)
  59. ^ Blom, p. 27
  60. ^ As described in the advertisement, quoted on Sadie, p. 72
  61. ^ Sadie, p. 69
  62. ^ a b Sadie, pp. 75–78
  63. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Sadie, pp. 90–95
  64. ^ Blom, p. 30
  65. ^ Zaslaw, pp. 47–51
  66. ^ Zaslaw, pp. 52–55
  67. ^ Zaslaw, p. 64
  68. ^ Zaslaw, pp. 64–66
  69. ^ a b Sadie, pp. 96–99
  70. ^ Blom. p. 32
  71. ^ Zaslaw, p. 67. The other terms may be translated: très mediocre, "very undistinguished"; Un miserable italien detestable, "a repulsive Italian misery"; Asini tutti, "all idiots"; and Rotten, "inadequate".
  72. ^ Quoted by Sadie, p. 99, from a contemporary report
  73. ^ a b c d e f Sadie, pp. 99–103
  74. ^ a b c d e Glover, p. 26
  75. ^ Sadie, p. 111
  76. ^ a b Halliwell, p. 55
  77. ^ Halliwell, p. 61
  78. ^ Halliwell, p. 64
  79. ^ Halliwell, p. 85
  80. ^ a b Glover, p. 24
  81. ^ Halliwell. p. 63
  82. ^ Zaslaw, pp. 29–31
  83. ^ Sadie, pp. 613–21 (summary of Köchel catalogue)
  84. ^ "Köchel's catalogue of Mozart's works". Retrieved 27 October 2008.  
  85. ^ Zaslaw, p. 35
  86. ^ Sadie, p. 82. A similar misunderstanding arose over a symphony of Leopold's which Köchel called Symphony No 2, K.17
  87. ^ a b Sadie, pp.104–08
  88. ^ "Aria d'affeto" refers to arias of the slow, expressive type, such as Dove sono in Figaro or Per pièta, ben mio, perdona from Così fan tutte. Sadie, p. 108
  89. ^ Zaslaw, p. 70
  90. ^ Sadie, pp. 111–12
  91. ^ Blom, p. 34
  92. ^ Glover, p. 28
  93. ^ Kenyon, p. 61
  94. ^ Sadie, p. 176
  95. ^ Kenyon, p. 64
  96. ^ He had been made a concert master with a salary of 150 florins. Blom, p. 60
  97. ^ Kenyon, p. 65


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