|Allied Bombing Of Mozart's House in Salzburg
|Salzburg's favorite son changed the world of music forever. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 1756-1791,
was born Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Gottlieb Mozart and baptized as Johannes
Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart. He was the 7th child of Leopold Mozart, snd would
produced over 600 compositions in a wide range of musical forms and some of the most beautiful
music the world has ever heard. In 1782, he embarked on the composition of piano concertos, so
that he could appear both as composer and soloist. He wrote fifteen before the end of 1786.
His father, musician Leopold Mozart, 1719-1787, served under five Archbishops in his 44 years in
the Salzburg court orchestra. Leopold entered the service of Count Thurn-Valsassina und Taxis and
remained in his service for three years until 1743 when he was appointed fourth violinist to the court
orchestra under Archbishop Firmian. The two Archbishops most important to he and his son would
be Count Sigismund Christoph Schrattenbach, a music lover who appointed Leopold vice Kapell
meister in 1763, with the freedom to promote his son's career, and domineering Count Hieronymus
Colloredo, elected archbishop in 1772, who liked music but dictated where and how the music would
be used and treated court musicians poorly.
In 1770, Mozart also received employment in the court of Salzburg and spent ten unhappy years in
what must have seemed a janitorial position, forced to live by the strict rules of the royal household
and required to dine with the servants and endure their indignities. Notoriously cheap, Colloredo
ordered his court composers to never write a mass longer than twenty minutes, yet used public funds
to build extravagant palaces and gardens to please a very close lady friend.
In a letter to his father in 1778, the twenty two year-old Wolfgang wrote, "the Archbishop can never
pay me enough to compensate for the slavery of Salzburg." A later letter charged that Colloredo
"glorifies himself through his dependants, robs them of the service and pays them nothing for it!"
Finally, after several trying events, young Mozart asked to be released from the position.
Mozart married his first love's sister, Konstanze Weber. After a few travels, they made their home in
Vienna for the remainder of his short life. Their rambunctious and apparently happy marriage
produced six children, of whom only two survived. After Mozart's death, Konstanze married Danish
diplomat Georg Nikolaus von Nissen.
At the age of 34, a penniless Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart expired and was laid to rest in a nameless
|Then there is the controversy over Mozart's death mask. According to legend, Count Joseph Deym
von Stritetz made a plaster cast of Mozart's face upon his death and subsequently exhibited the death
mask in his gallery/museum, placed on a wax figure dressed in fancy clothing. When the Count died
in 1804, the mask went to his widow and upon her death in 1821 it vanished. Then, in 1947, a death
mask turned up in an antique shop in Austria and ended up in the ownership of a sculptor named
Willy Kauer who, thinking it looked like Mozart, tried to get the Austrian Ministry of Education to
commission an inquiry in 1948 as to its authenticity. Although the mask had several features in
common with Mozart, including pox marks, they released their findings as inconclusive in 1949.
There was another investigation in 1950 and this time they decided that the mask was unlikely to be
Mozart's and it was returned to Kauer.
By 1956, the Mozarteum sponsored yet another examination of it and studied two initials inside it,
seemingly from a bronze caster in Vienna who worked during Mozart's life named Thaddaus Ribola.
He had a studio next to Count Deym's gallery during the 1790's. Still, not enough evidence to be
sure. You decide from the pictures below (above). At the left is a recently discovered portrait.
In the needless, last minute Allied bombing of the historic gem of Salzburg, virtually all of the old
churches in the vicinity of the blasts lost their magnificent stained glass windows to the explosions.
On the morning of May 4, 1945, tanks of the XV Corps 106th Cavalry Division rolled through
Salzburg, a mere three days after it had again been hit hard by American bombers. 40 percent of
Salzburg's buildings were inanely destroyed or damaged by Allied bombing. The dome was blown off
of the famous, old Salzburg Cathedral which had witnessed so much history, above left right.
The terror bombing raid also hit the house Mozart lived in for many years on Hannibalplatz, above,
bottom right, and almost totally destroyed it on October 16, 1944. It was long ago called the Dancing
Master's House "Tanzmeistersaal". Mozart lived there until his departure for Vienna in 1780. Nannerl
lived there until her marriage in 1785, and Leopold remained in this house until his death in 1787.
The Mozarts gave many private concerts here; The International Mozarteum Foundation purchased
the surviving section of the ruins in 1955, left, and turned it into a museum and, with great effort,
reproduced it close to the original.
|Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart -
Piano Concerto No. 21 - Andante