1763 - 1766
The Performing Mozart Family
"Leopold Mozart to Lorenz Hagenauer, Salzburg
PARIS, 8 December 1763
After giving a fine concert in Brussels at which Prince Karl was present, we left at nine in the morning on my worthy name-day[15 November] with four posthorses, and after taking leave early of many good friends we reached Mons in the afternoon while it was still daylight. On the second day we arrived just as early in Péronne and on the third in Gournay; on the fourth, November 18th, at haft past three in the afternoon we arrived at the Hotel of the Count van Eyck[Bavarian minister in Paris. His wife was a daughter of Count Georg Anton Felix Arro, Chief Chamberlain in Salzburg. They lived in the Hotel Beauvais, rue St. Antoine [now rue de Francois-Miron, no. 68]. According to a passage in his letter from Brussels here omitted, Leopold Mozart had taken rooms in the house where Christian von Mechel was living [see p. 33], but the Van Eycks invited the family to stay with them.] in Paris. Fortunately we found the Count and the Countess at home. They gave us a most friendly welcome and have provided us with a room in which we are living comfortably and happily. We have the Countess's harpsichord, because she does not need it. It is a good one and like ours has two manuals.
You would like to know perhaps how I like Paris? If I were to tell you this in circumstancial detail, neither the hide of a cow nor that of a rhinoceros would suffice. Buy yourself for forty-five kreuzer Johann Peter Willebrandt's Historische Berichte und Pracktische Anmerkungen auf Reisen, etc. Frankfurt und Leipzig 1761. It will amuse you. Tomorrow we must go to the Marquise de Villeroi and to the Countess Lillibonne. The mourning for the Infanta[Princess Isabella of Parma, grand-daughter of Louis XV and Joseph II's first wife, had died on 27 November 1763.] still prevents us from playing at court." [LETTERS OF MOZART AND HIS FAMILY. Chronologically arranged, translated and edited by Emily Anderson. New York: 1966: St Martin's Press, p. 31-32].
"Leopold Mozart to Lorenz Hagenauer, Salzburg
VERSAILLES, end of December 1763
[the whole letter is written on a cover, which, according to a note on the autograph in Nissen's handwriting, contained a letter reporting on the Mozart's visit to Versailles, where they stayed from 24 December 1763 until 8 January 1764. No doubt the lost letter was to be given to the Archbishop.]
You may read the enclosed letter, make an extract of it, seal it up and deliver it to our Father Confessor with my most humble greetings and New Year wishes; or you may let him do the sealing himself.
Madame de Pompadour[Mlle Antoinette Poisson, later Mme le Normant d'Etioles, subsequently Marquise de Pompadour [1721-1764], had been established at Versailles since 1745 as 'maitresse en titre'] is still a handsome woman. She is very like the lat Frau Steiner, née Therese Freysauf, and she has something of the appearance of the Austrian Empress, especially in her eyes. She is extremely haughty and still rules over everything. In Versailles[At Versailles the Mozarts lodged 'Au Cormier', rue des Bons Enfants'.] living is expensive; and it is very fortunate that at the present time it is almost as warm as in summer, for otherwise we should be hard put to it, as every log of wood costs five sous. Yesterday my boy got a gold snuff-box from Madame la Comtesse de Tessé[Lady-in-waiting to Madame la Dauphine. She kept a salon and was famous for her wit. Mozart's second printed work was dedicated to her.] and today my little girl was given a small, transparent snuff-box, inlaid with gold, from the Princess Carignan, and Wolfgang a pocket writing case in silver, with silver pens with which to write his compositions; it is so small and exquisitely worked that it is impossible to describe it. My children have taken almost everyone by storm. But everywhere the results of the late war are to be seen. It is impossible to write down all that one would like to describe. . . . Farewell-a Dieu! Myself, my wife and children send our greetings and wish you, your wife and all your family a happy New Year. Thank God, we are all well. You should see Wolfgang in his black suit and French hat." LETTERS OF MOZART AND HIS FAMILY. Chronologially arranged, translated and edited by Emily Anderson. New York: 1966: St Martin's Press, p. 32-33].
"Leopold Mozart to Christian von Mechel
PARIS, 9 January 1764
We arrived back from Versailles yesterday evening half past eight. I called at your quarters today after one o'clock and tried both entrances. To prove this I have written my name on your blackboard. We are hoping to see you soon. Farewell. My children send greetings to you.
MOZART . . . "
LETTERS OF MOZART AND HIS FAMILY. Chronologically arranged, translated and edited by Emily Anderson. New York: 1966: St Martin's Press, p. 33].
"Leopold Mozart to Frau Maria Theresa Hagenauer
PARIS, 1 February 1764
One must not always write to men but sometimes remember the fair and devout sex. I really cannot tell you whether the women in Paris are fair; for they are painted so unnaturally, like the dolls of Berchtesgaden[A village in Bavaria, near Salzburg, famous for centuries for its painted carvings.] that even a naturally beautiful woman on account of this detestable make-up is unbearable to the eyes of an honest German. As for piety, I can assure you that it is not difficult to get to the bottom of the miracles of the French women saints; the greatest of them are performed by those who are neither virgins nor wives nor widows, and they are all performed during their lifetime. Later on we shall speak more fully on this subject. But really it is extremely difficult to distinguish here who is the lady of the house. Everyone lives as he or she likes and, if God is not specially gracious, the French state will suffer the fate of the former Persian Empire.
. . . Since my last letter from Versailles I would assuredly have written to you, only I kept on postponing this in order to await the result of our affair at Versailles and be able to tell you about it. But as everything here, even more so than at other courts, goes at a snail's pace, and since these matters have to be dealt with by the Menus Plaisirs,[term given to certain Royal expenses regulated by a special administration, housed in the Hotel des Menus Plaisirs, which dealt chiefly with the ceremonies, festivals and performances at court.] one must be patient. If the recognition we receive equals the pleasure which my children have given this court, we ought to do very well. I should like to tell you that it is not the custom here to kiss the hand of Royal persons or to disturb them with a petition or even to speak to them au passage, as they call it, that is to say, when they walk to church through the gallery and the royal apartments. Neither is it the custom here to do homage either by an inclination of the head or a genuflexion to the King or to members of the Royal Family. On the contrary, one remains erect and immovable, and, standing thus, one just lets the King and his family pass close by. Hence you can well imagine how impressed and amazed these French people, who are so infatuated with their court customs, must have been, when the King's daughters, not only in their apartments but in the public gallery, stopped when they saw my children, came up to them innumerable times. And the same thing happened with Madame la Dauphine.[Maria Josepha of Saxony, wife of the Dauphin Louis who died in 1765, and mother of Louis XVI]. But what appeared most extraordinary to the French people was that at the grand couvert on the evening of New Year's Day, not only was it necessary to make room for us all to go up to the royal table, but my Wolfgang was graciously privileged to stand beside the Queen[Maria Leszcynska, daughter of the exiled King of Poland, who married Louis XV in 1725] the whole time, to talk constantly to her, entertain her and kiss her hands repeatedly, besides partaking of the dishes which she handed him from the table. The Queen speaks as good German as we do, and , as the King knows none, she interpreted to him everything that our gallant Wolfgang said. I stood beside him, and on the other side of the King, where M. le Dauhpin and Madame Adelaide[Eldest daughter of Louis XV.] were seated, stood my wife and daughter. Now you must know that the King never dines in public, except on Sunday evenings when the whole Royal Family dine together. But not everyone is allowed to be present. When, however, there is a great festival, such as New Year's Day, Easter, Whitsuntide, the name-days and so forth, the grand couvert is held, to which all persons of distinction are admitted. There is not, however, very much room and consequently the hall soon gets filled up. We arrived late. So the Swiss Guards had to make way for us and we were led through the hall into the room close to the royal table, through which the Royal Family enter. As they passed us they spoke to our Wolfgang and we then followed them to table.
You can hardly expect me to describe Versailles to you. I can only tell you that we arrived there on Christmas Eve and attended Matins and three Masses in the Royal Chapel. Were were in the Royal Gallery when the King came from Madame la Dauphine, to whom he had been breaking the news which he had just received of the death of her brother, the Elector of Saxony.[Elector Frederick Christian, who died of smallpox, 7 December 1763]. I heard good and bad music there. Everything sung by individual voices and supposed to resemble an aria was empty, frozen and wretched--in a word, French; but the choruses are good and even excellent. So every day I have been with my little man to the Mass in the Royal Chapel to hear the choir in the motet, which is always performed there. The Royal Mass is at one o'clock. But if the King goes hunting, his Mass is at ten o'clock and the Queen's Mass at half-past twelve. . . . In sixteen days we were obliged to spend about twelve louis'dor in Versailles. Perhaps you think it too much and find it difficult to understand? But in Versailles there is no carosse de remise and no fiacre, only sedan-chairs. Thus for every drive one has to pay twelve sous. So now you will see that, as on many days, for the weather was always bad, we had to have at least two, if not three, sedan-chairs, they came to one laubthaler and sometimes more. If you now add four new black suits, you will not be surprised if our visit to Versailles had cost us twenty-six or twenty-seven louis d'or. Well, we must see what we shall get from the court in return. Apart from what we hope to receive, we have not taken in at Versailles more than twelve louis d'or. My Master Wolfgang, however, has received from Madame la Comtesse de Tessé a gold snuff-box and a gold watch, valuable on account of its smallness. . . . Nannerl has been given an uncommonly beautiful, heavy toothpick case of solid gold. . . . But I hope after four weeks to have a better story to tell of louis d'or, for it takes longer than to walk to Maxglan before one is properly known in Paris. And I assure you that it does not require a telescope to see everywhere the evil results of the late war. For the French insist on continuing their external magnificence and therefore only the fermiers are rich, while the lords are deep in debt. The bulk of the country's wealth is divided amongst about a hundred persons, a few big banquiers and fermiers généraux; and, finally, most money is spent on Lucretias, who do not stab themselves. All the same you can imagine that remarkably beautiful and precious things are to be seen here, and astonishing follies too. In winter the women wear not only fur-trimmed garments, but also neck ruffles or neckties of fur and instead of flowers even fur in their hair and fur armlets and so forth. . . . And in addition to their idiotic 'mode' in all things, there is their extreme love of comfort, which has caused this nation to turn a deaf ear to the voice of nature. Hence everyone in Paris sends new-born children to be reared in the country. But you see the wretched consequences of this practice. For you will hardly find any other city with so many miserable and mutilated persons. You have only to spend a minute in a church or walk along a few streets to meet some blind or lame or limping or half-petrified beggar, or to find someone lying on the street who has had his hand eaten away as a child by the pigs, or someone else who in childhood fell into the fire and had half an arm burnt off while the foster-father and his family were working in the fields. And there are numbers of such people, whom disgust makes me refrain from looking at when I pass them. Now I am going to jump from the ugly to the charming and moreover to someone who has charmed a king. . . . Now for another matter! There is a perpetual war here between the Italian and the French music.[Rousseau, who sided with the Italians, in his Confessions, Book 8, gives a most vivid account of this 'war'. See also his Lettre sur la musique francaise, published in 1753. . . .] The whole of French music is not worth a sou. But the French are now starting to make drastic changes, for they are beginning to waver very much; and in ten to fifteen years the present French taste, I hope, will have completely disappeared. The Germans are taking the lead in the publication of their compositions. Amongst these Schobert[Johann Schobert [c. 1740-1767], a native of Silesia, settled in Paris in 1760 in the service of the Prince de Conti. He was a famous player on the harpsichord and composed sonatas for clavier with violin accompaniment, of which the first set was published in Paris in 1764. . . ], Eckardt[Johann Gottfried Eckardt [1735-1809], born in Augsburg. From 1758 he lived in Paris, where as a player on the harpsichord he was a rival to Schobert. He also composed for his instrument and was a painter of miniatures. Eckardt's Six sonates pour le clavecin were published in Paris in May 163.], Honauer[Leonzi Honnauer [1717-1809], harpsichordist to Prince Louis de Rohan, spent most of his life in Paris, where a number of his harpsichord sonatas were published, 1760-1770.] for the Clavier, and Hochbrucker[Christian Hochbrucker, born in Bavaria, was a virtuoso on the harp. In 1760 he settled in Paris, where some of his compositions were published, In 1792 during the Revolution he fled to London.], Mayr for the harp are the favourites. M. Le Grand, a French clavier-player, has abandoned his own style completely and his sonatas are now in our style. Schobert, Eckardt, Le Grand and Hochbrucker have all brought us their engraved sonatas and presented them to my children. At present four sonatas of M. Wolfang Mozart are being engraved.[K. 6, 7, 8, 9 . . .] Picture to yourself the furore which they will make in the world when people read on the title-page that they have been composed by a seven-year-old child; and when the sceptics are challenged to test him, as he already has been, imagine the sensation when he asks someone to write down a minuet or some tune or other and then immediately and without touching the clavier writes in the bass and, if it is wanted, the second violin part.[Grimm, Correspondance Littéraire, vol. iii, p. 365, has a letter dated Paris, 1 December 1763, describing the feats of these 'vrais prodiges'.] In due course you will hear how fine these sonatas are; one of them has an Andante[WSF, vol. i, p. 82 suggests that Leopold Mozart is referring to the Adagio of the sonata K. 7, which was probably composed at Versailles.] in a quite unusual style. Indeed I can tell you, my dear Frau Hagenauer, that every day God performs fresh miracles through this child. By the time we reach home, God willing, he will be able to contribute to the court music. He frequently accompanies in public concert. He even, when accompanying, transposes a prima vista, and everywhere Italian or French works are put before him, which he plays off at sight. My little girl plays the most difficult works which we have of Schobert and Eckart and others, Eckardt's being the most difficult, with incredible precision, and so excellently that this mean Schobert cannot conceal his envy and jealousy and is making himself a laughing-stock to Eckardt, who is an honest man, and to many others. . . . . Now I have a very sad piece of news, something extremely distressing. We are all in great anxiety and very much upset. In a word, Countess Van Eyck is in a most dangerous condition, so much so that without the special grace of God she will hardly live. On Sunday we were with her before lunch, between twelve and one, and she was very cheerful. She had then been indoors for a few days owing to a cold, but that day she had been to church. As always, she talked a great deal to Wolfgang. During the night I heard a carriage enter the courtyard and then some disturbance in the house. In the morning I was told that the Countess had suddenly fallen ill and had coughed up a quantify of blood. Imagine our distress, which is all the greater as I can only look on from a distance and may perhaps never speak to her or even see her again. My children pray and shed tears, as Wolfgang loves the Countess and she loves him to distraction. My wife can think of nothing else all day long but the poor Countess and indeed we are deeply concerned. . . . Farwell and thank God that I have finished writing--otherwise you would indeed have to put on your spectacles[The letter is so closely written.] With greetings from myself, my children and my wife, I am your devoted
MOZART . . . "
LETTERS OF MOZART AND HIS FAMILY. Chronologically arranged, translated and edited by Emily Anderson. New York: 1966: St Martin's Press, p. 33-39].
"Leopold Mozart to Lorenz Hagenauer, Salzburg
PARIS, 22 February 1764
The sun cannot always shine and clouds often gather, only however to be again dispersed. I did not make hastf to send tidings of the sad death of Countess Van Eyck.[On February 6th] I thought it would be sufficient if I prepared the hearts of people in Salzburg for this sad event, while leaving it to others to report the end. Nobody likes to die anywhere; but here it is doubly sad for an honest German if he falls ill or dies.
Soon afterwards a sudden and unexpected event plunged me into a certain embarrassment. My dear Wolfgang suddenly got a sore throat and a cold, so that on the 16th, the morning on which it started, he developed such an inflammation of the throat that he was in danger of choking. He also had a very high fever. After four days he got up and is now well again. As a precaution I wrote by local post to our friend the German Doctor Herrnschwand, who is the doctor of the Swiss Guards. But he did not have to come more than twice. Then I gave the boy a small dose of Vienna laxative water: now thank God he is well. My little girl too is suffering from a cold, but is not feverish.
And now I beg you to have four Masses said as soon as possible at Maria-Plain and one at the Holy Child at Loreto. These we promised for the sake of our children, who were both ill. I hope that the other Masses will, as I asked, always continue to be said at Loreto, for as long as we are away. The Duc d'Ayen[Brother of the Comtesse de Tessé.] has arranged that in a fortnight at latest we shall drive out again to Versailles, in order that we may present to Madame Victoir, the King's second daughter, to whom it has been dedicated, the Oeuvre 1er of the engraved sonatas of the great M. Wolfgang.[K. 6, 7. This was Mozart's first printed work.] The Oeuvre 2e will be dedicated, I think, to Madame la Comtesse de Tessé[K. 8, 9.] Within three or, at most, four weeks important things will have happened, if God wills. We have tilled the soil well and now hope for a good harvest. But one must take things as they come. I should have had at least twelve louis d'or or more, if my children had not had to stay at home for a few days. Thank God, they are better. Do you know what people here are always wanting? They are trying to persuade me to let my boy be inoculated with smallpox.[From the middle of the eighteenth century the inoculation of healthy persons from smallpox subjects was very common. But it was not until 1796 that Jenner discovered and applied his discovery of vaccine.] But as I have now expressed sufficiently clearly my aversion to this impertinence, they are leaving me in peace. Here inoculation is the general fashion. But, for my part, I leave the matter to the grace of God. It depends on His grace whether he wishes to keep this prodigy of nature in the world in which he has placed it, or to take it to Himself. I shall certainly watch over it so well that it is all one whether we are in Salzburg or in any other part of the world. But it is this watching which makes travelling expensive.
Mr d'Hébert, Trésorier des Menus Plaisirs du Roi, has handed to Wolfgang from the King fifty louis d'or and a gold snuff box" LETTERS OF MOZART AND HIS FAMILY. Chronologically arranged, translated and edited by Emily Anderson. New York: 1966: St Martin's Press, p. 39-40].
"Leopold Mozart to Lorenz Hagenauer, Salzburg
PARIS, 4 March 1764
I ought to have written to you long ago, but the things I have had to do for some days and shall have to do until the 10th in order to make sure that between six and nine on the evening of that day I shall pocket seventy-five louis d'or, have, as you will understand, prevented me.
On the 3rd our servant Sebastian Winter left here with the country coach via Strassburg for Donaueschingen. He has entered the service of Prince von Fürstenberg[Joseph Wenzeslaus, Prince von Fürstenberg, himself a performer on the clavier and violoncello, collected his own Kapelle, which Franz Anton Martelli conducted, 1762-1770] as friseur. I have taken on another friseur, called Jean Pierre Potivin, who speaks good German and French, for he was born at Zabern in Alsace. Now I have to buy his clothes, again a heavy expense.
You will think perhaps that we are taking part in quite extraordinary carnival festivities? Oh, you are very much mistaken. It has never occurred to me to attend balls, which only begin after midnight. Here there are balls in every quarter; but you must know that they are for thirty or forty people and that one or, at most, two violins without a violoncello play the minuets; and what sort of minuets? Why, minuets which were danced already in the time of Henry IV; and in the whole town there are about two or three favourite minuets, which must always be played, because the people cannot dance to any save those particular ones during the playing of which they learned to dance. But, above all, contredanses[The word is a corruption of the English 'country dance'. Mozart wrote a number of contredanses, especially during the years 1788, 1789 and 1791, for the masked ball at the Viennese court.] or what we call English dances, are danced! All this I know from hearsay only, for so far I have not seen them" LETTERS OF MOZART AND HIS FAMILY. Chronologically arranged, translated and edited by Emily Anderson. New York: 1966: St Martin's Press, p. 40-41].
"Leopold Mozart to Lorenz Hagenauer, Salzburg
PARIS, 1 April 1764
We are all well and we thank God from the bottom of our hearts. And now I have the pleasure of informing you that I hope in a few days to lodge with the bankers Turton et Baur 200 louis d'or, to be entrusted to safe hands and in due course sent off to Salzburg. On April 9th I shall again have to stand the shock which I had on March 10th. But I doubt very much whether this one will be as great as the first, for at the concert on March 10th I took in one hundred and twelve louis d'or. But fifty to sixty louis d'or are not to be despised either and, if there are more, one simply pockets them. Not a farthing is paid at the door. But whoever is without a ticket is not admitted, no matter who he is. My friends sell the tickets a week beforehand, each for a laubhtaler or a federthaler, four of which make a louis d'or; and they collect the money. But most of the tickets, in blocks of twelve and twenty-four, are given to ladies, who sell them the more easily, as out of politeness one cannot refuse to by them. Est modus in rebus[i.e. there is a limit in things], or, in our language, Frenchmen like to be fooled. On the billet [which is written on a card and bears my seal] there are only these words: Au Théatre de M. Félix, rue et Porte St. Honoré, ce lundi 9 avril a six heures du soir. That is a hall in the house of a distinguished gentleman, in which there is a small theatre where the nobles often act and produce plays among themselves; and I got this room through Madame de Clermont, who lives in the house. But the permission to hold the two concerts there is something quite exceptional and is directly against the privilege which the King has given to the Opera, the Concert Spirituel[A great French musical institution, founded under Louis XV in 1725, which came to an end during the Revolution. As the Opera House was closed on important religious festivals, A.D. Philidor [1681 - 1728] obtained permission to arrange concerts on these days, pledging himself to neither perform French nor operatic music. The number of concerts in the year never exceeded twenty-four. The 'Concert Spirituel' formed the model for other public concerts and from it the history of concert-giving in the eighteenth century developed.] and the French and Italian theatres; and this permission had to be obtained from M. de Sartine, Lieutenant-General of Police, by the Duc de Chartres, Duc de Duras, Comte de Tessé and many of the leading ladies who sent messengers and wrote applications in their own hand.[See Leopold Mozart's letter no. 284b, in which he goes over this incident for the benefit of his son, who is on his way to Paris.]
I beg you to have a Mass said for us every day for eight days after April 10th. You can distribute them as you like, provided that four are said at Loreto at the Holy Child and four at an altar of Our Lady. I only ask you to observe for certain the days I mention. Should this letter not arrive until after April 12th, though I think it will arrive before, please see that the Masses are begun on the following day. There are important reasons.[Obsiously revers to the Mozarts' approaching journey to London, during which they would cross the sea for the first time.]
. . .
. . .
We have by this time made the acquaintance of all the foreign envoys in Paris. The English Ambassador, Mylord Beford, and his son are very partial to us; and the Russian Prince Galitzin[Dimitri Alexeivich Galitzin [1734 - 1803], Russian Ambassador to France  and Holland  and an intimate friend of Voltaire and Diderot.] loves us as if we were his children. In a few days the sonatas will be ready, which little Master Wolfgang has dedicated to the Comtesse de Tessé. They would have been ready before; but the Countess absolutely refused to accept the dedication written by our best friend, M. Grimm.[Friedrich Melchior Grimm [1723 - 1807] was the son of a German pastor in Regensburg. He studied in Leipzig, came to Paris in 1748, and in 1755 became secretary to the Duc d'Orléeans. He was a friend of Diderot, d'Alemberg, Rousseau, etc. He founded the famous Correspondance Littéraire, which survived till 1790.] So it had to be altered; and as she is usually in Versailles, we have had to wait all this time for an answer. It is a pity that this dedication was not allowed to be engraved. But the Countess refuses to be praised; and in this dedication both she and my boy are very vividly described. The Comtesse de Tessé has given Wolfgang another gold watch and Nannerl a gold box.
But now you must know who this man is, this great friend of mine, to whom I owe everything here, this M. Grimm. He is secretary to the Duc d'Orléans and he is a man of learning and a great friend of humanity. All my other letters and recommendations brought me nothing; even those from the French Ambassador in Vienna, the Imperial Ambassador in Paris and all the letters of introduction from our Minister in Brussels, Count Cobenzl, Prince Conti, Duchesse D'Auguillon and all the others, a whole litany of whom I could write down. M. Grimm alone, to whom I had a letter from a Frankfurt merchant's wife, has done everything. He brought our business to court. He arranged for the first concert and he paid me on his own account eighty louis d'or, that is to say, he got rid of three hundred and twenty tickets. In addition he paid for the lighting, as more than sixty large candles were burnt. Well, this M. Grimm secured permission for the first concert and is now arranging for the second, for which one hundred tickets have already been sold. So you see what a man can do who has good sense and a kind heart. He comes from Regensburg. But he has been in Paris for over fifteen years already and knows how to launch everything in the right direction, so that it is bound to turn out as he wishes.
[Written on the cover]
My children and my wife send their greetings to all. M. de Mechel, a copper-engraver, is working himself to death to engrave our portraits, which M. de Carmonelle [an amaeteur] has painted excellently well. Wolfgang is playing the clavier, I am standing behind his chair playing the violin, Nannerl is leaning on the clavecin with one arm, while in the other hand she is holding music, as if she were singing" LETTERS OF MOZART AND HIS FAMILY. Chronologically arranged, translated and edited by Emily Anderson. New York: 1966: St Martin's Press, p. 41-44].
[Background Image: 18th-century Versailles.]