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2.110338 - MUSICAL JOURNEY (A) – SALZBURG: The City of Mozart (NTSC)

A Musical Visit to Salzburg
With music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart




Nowadays Salzburg is chiefly known for its connection with Mozart, who was born there in 1756. The city has an ancient history, at first as the site of a Celtic settlement and then as a Roman municipality. After its destruction in the barbarian invasions, it was restored in 700 by the Bishop of Worms, later canonised as St Rupert. It was he who founded the convent on the Nonnberg, reputedly the oldest convent in Europe. The first cathedral was built in the eighth century by an Irish bishop, later canonised as St Virgil. It was in the thirteenth century, however, that the status of the city was enhanced by the elevation of the ruling archbishops to the position of princes of the Holy Roman Empire. The title of the rulers of Salzburg continued through the vicissitudes of the centuries, to be brought to an end during the reign of Mozart’s second patron, the Archbishop Hieronymus von Colloredo, with Salzburg finally becoming a duchy in the hands of the Emperor.

Above the city, with its churches and palaces, signs of its historical prosperity, stands the fortress of Hohensalzburg, once the site of a Roman fort, established in the eleventh century and further enlarged and fortified over the years. The city itself is built on the banks of the River Salzach. The old town, on the left bank of the river, is the site of the fifteenth-century Rathaus in Rathausplatz. It is possible to take the way through the old market to the Residenzplatz, with the fine episcopal Residence built in the seventeenth century and enlarged in 1780. This square leads in turn to the Domplatz, the Cathedral Square. The Cathedral itself is dedicated to St Rupert and St Virgil and dates principally from the later sixteenth century. It is one of the largest buildings of its kind, with a façade of white Untersperg marble. Nearby is the Neptune Fountain, known locally as the Horse Trough.

Music Mozart: Piano Concerto No 13 in C major, K415—I. Allegro

In 1781 Mozart secured his dismissal from the court establishment of the Prince-Archbishop in Salzburg, also his father’s employer, and settled in Vienna, independent both of a patron and of his father’s careful advice, and soon to marry. The years in Vienna brought a chance for opera, with a series of major works in this form, both in Italian and in German. His own abilities as a pianist led to the composition of a further series of piano concertos, which have about them almost an operatic air, within the idiom of the period. Writing to his father in Salzburg on 28 December 1782, Mozart, full of hope and enthusiasm, describes the set of three piano concertos that he was to announce in January for his proposed subscriptions concerts, works that were to be a happy medium between the easy and the difficult, brilliant and pleasing, without being empty, with elements that would afford satisfaction not only to the knowledgeable, but provide pleasure to the less perceptive, although they would not know why. He was busy at the same time as a teacher and performer, while completing a piano arrangement of his opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio). The three concertos of the set were published by Artaria in Vienna in 1785. The third concerto, in C major, written early in 1783, was first performed in the presence of the Emperor at a concert at the Burgtheater on 23 March 1783 devoted entirely to the music of Mozart. The programme also included operatic and concert arias, one sung by Aloysia Lange, the composer’s sister-in-law, whom he had once hoped to marry, as well as the Haffner Symphony and the early Piano Concerto in D major. A week later Mozart played the concerto again in the presence of the Emperor, these royal occasions allowing the addition of trumpets and drums and a pair of bassoons to the orchestra. The first violins enter alone to open the first movement, imitated in turn by the other string sections. The movement has a larger element of counterpoint than in earlier concertos and allows the soloist greater chances for display.


Salzburg: Mirabell Palace Gardens • Fortress of Hohensalzburg

Salzburg owes much of its architectural splendour to Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau, a great-nephew of Pope Pius IV. He reigned from 1587 to 1612, but was deposed, to spend his final years in the Hohensalzburg as a prisoner of his successor. It was under him that the Cathedral was rebuilt and the Residenz constructed. The Mirabell Palace, on the right bank of the river, was built by the Archbishop in 1606, but was subsequently greatly enlarged and refurbished in the eighteenth century. There was further rebuilding after a fire in 1818. The gardens of the Palace were laid out in their present form at the beginning of the eighteenth century and include a number of statues, notably a copper figure of the winged horse Pegasus and a number of grotesque figures of dwarves.

The Fortress of Hohensalzburg, established first in 1077, was in a position to withstand attack, not least in 1520, during the Peasants’ Revolts. It was further fortified in the seventeenth century.

Music Mozart: Piano Concerto No 13 in C major, K 415—II. Andante

Originally Mozart had contemplated a C minor slow movement instead of the present F major Andante, from which trumpets and drums, according to custom, are omitted.


Salzburg and Mozart

Salzburg celebrates its connection with Mozart, although he had done his best to escape from the town during his lifetime. Existing portraits of Mozart include a painting of him as a boy, in addition to the widely reproduced family group with his father and his sister. His portrait was painted in Verona in 1770 and seven years later there is a painting of him as a Knight of the Golden Spur, an honour earlier bestowed on him by the Pope. His brother-in-law Joseph Lange left an unfinished painting of him dating from the earlier years in Vienna, in 1782 or 1783. There is a painting of Mozart’s wife Konstanze by Lange dating from the same period. A violin that belonged to Mozart as a child is preserved, but more impressive is his Mittenwald concert violin, once attributed to Jacob Stainer. Mozart’s piano and his clavichord are preserved in the Salzburg Mozarteum. It may be remembered that Mozart served as court organist at Salzburg from 1779 until his departure for Vienna in 1781. The organ built in the Cathedral in 1702 has been variously restored over the years. Mozart’s birth-place in the Getreidegasse had its façade restored in 1956. The later family home was in Hannibal—now Makart-platz.

Music Mozart: Piano Concerto No 13 in C major, K 415—III. Rondeau: Allegro

The final rondo is introduced by the soloist, who follows the orchestral extension of the principal theme with an unexpected Adagio in C minor, its profounder implications dispelled by the return of the rondo theme. The movement has a final section which brings surprising further development and a reappearance of the Adagio before the work comes to an end.


Salzburg and St Wolfgang

The climate of Salzburg, well known for its wet weather, brings winter snows, which add a picturesque element to the domes and roofs of the city. Mozart’s mother, Anna Pertl, was born at St Gilgen at the end of the Wolfgangsee, a lake some eleven kilometres in length and two kilometres wide, and his elder sister settled here after her marriage in 1784. At the far end of the lake is the village of St Wolfgang, now a popular tourist resort. St Wolfgang himself was Bishop of Regensburg in the tenth century. The village boasts a number of sixteenth and seventeenth century houses and the Weisses Rössl, The White Horse Inn, made famous by the operetta of that name.

Music Mozart: Piano Concerto No 20 in D minor, K 466—I. Allegro

Mozart entered his Piano Concerto in D minor, K466, in his new catalogue of compositions on 10 February 1785 and performed it the following day at the Mehlgrube in Vienna in a concert at which his father was present. In a letter to his daughter Leopold Mozart described the fine new concerto, which was still being copied out when he reached Vienna, so that there had been no time to rehearse the final rondo. Around him was every sign of his son’s success, with constant activity, from which he felt excluded, although he was very gratified at what he found, after the anxieties that Mozart’s behaviour had caused him.

The D minor Concerto was the first that Mozart had written in a minor key, to be followed a year later by the Piano Concerto in C minor. The choice of key adds a new high seriousness and drama to the form and the dramatic tension is apparent at the outset. The work is scored for an orchestra that includes trumpets and drums, in addition to the now usual flute, pairs of oboes, horns, bassoons and strings, the last with a divided viola section. The soloist enters with a new theme after the orchestral exposition in which thematic material has been introduced and goes on to develop the second subject. The dramatic mood generally prevails, lightened at times with excursions into brighter keys, that nevertheless bring moments of poignancy.


Schloss Leopoldskron

Not far from Salzburg lies the Schloss Leopoldskron, built in 1736 for Archbishop Count Leopold Firmian by the Scottish Benedictine Bernard Stuart. Something of the rococo palace can be seen reflected in the frozen lake in front of it. The interior is richly decorated, with its banqueting hall, library and paintings, including a portrait of the Archbishop.

Music Mozart: Piano Concerto No 20 in D minor, K 466—II. Romance

The slow movement of the concerto is in B flat major, a rondo in form, with a principal theme framing intervening episodes. It provides a generally gentle contrast to the preceding movement.



The small village and mountain lake of Weissensee, at the foot of the Alps, is a summer and winter resort. The lake itself is surrounded by towering mountains.

Music Mozart: Piano Concerto No 20 in D minor, K 466—III. Allegro assai

The final rondo is started by the soloist, at first in the original key of D minor. The cadenzas were presumably improvised by Mozart and have not survived, but Beethoven, who had been prevented by his mother’s final illness from study with Mozart, himself wrote cadenzas for the first and last movement of a concerto that clearly moved and influenced him.

Keith Anderson


Jenő Jandó, Piano; Concentus Hungaricus cond. András Ligeti [Naxos 8.550201]

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