European Mozartways

The Young Man 1771 - 1779


Commissioned to write an opera for the Milan Carneval of 1772/1773 ("Lucio Silla" K. 135), father and son returned to Salzburg on March 28th, 1771.

For 138 days they remained in the city on the Salzach, before once again leaving for Milan.  There, on the occasion of the marriage of Archduke Ferdinand to Princess Maria Ricciarda Beatrice d'Este of Modena on October 17th, 1771, Mozart's "Ascanio in Alba" K. 111 was performed.

On December 15th, 1771, they returned to Salzburg.  Just one day later, Mozart's lord and patron, Prince Archbishop Sigismund Christoph of Schrattenbach, passed away. Mozart's Serenata dramatica "Il Sogno di Scipione" K. 126 was performed in honour of the new prince archbishop, Hieronymus Count Colloredo. This change in the political tide - Prince Archbishop Hieronymus was a strict, uncompromising and, in artistic matters, unenlightened ruler - rapidly had a noticeable effect on Mozart's travel activities.


Mozart becomes concertmaster of the Salzburg court ensemble.  They are delayed in their return to Salzburg from a third journey to Italy, undertaken for a performance of the Dramma per musica "Lucio Silla" in the Regio Ducal Teatro in Milan, supposedly because Leopold had fallen ill.


In 1773, the Mozart Family moves to the so-called "Tanzmeisterhaus", today located at Makartplatz 8-9.  A third trip to Vienna (July 14th until September 26th, 1773) and to Munich (December 6th, 1774, until March 7th, 1775), fails to result in the appointment outside of Salzburg which he had sought.


In August of 1777, Mozart requested that he be released from service in order to "seek better fortune elsewhere". His father's renewed petition to be given leave for a journey was rejected by the prince archbishop at the end of September 1777. Mozart travelled with his mother to Mannheim and Paris. Yet even on this journey, his plans continued to be frustrated.

At 6 o'clock in the morning of September 23rd, 1777, his father's leave request having been turned down by Prince Archbishop Hieronymus, Mozart left town, headed with his mother, Anna Maria, towards Mannheim and Paris.


On July 3rd, 1778, fate struck Mozart an immense blow: his mother died in Paris.  After a journey filled with grief and disappointment, Mozart returned to Salzburg alone in mid-January 1779.Of his great works, only the Symphony in D major K. 297 (300a) and the Sinfonia concertante for Wind Instruments K. 297B (Anh. 9), which has since drifted into obscurity, were written during this period.


On January 17th, 1779, Mozart once again took up service at court - this time as Court Organist.