“New” Salzburg

Leopold Mozart (1719-1787) arrived in Salzburg in 1743 as fourth violinist and was promoted in 1758, two years after Wolfgang’s birth, to second violinist.  Upon the death of Kapellmeister Johann Ernst Eberlin (1702-1762), he sought the top post, but Vice-Kapellmeister Giuseppe Francesco Lolli (1701-1778) was promoted instead.  Lolli wrote some 200 masses; court organist Anton Cajetan Adlgasser (1729-1777) wrote eight.  None of these has been recorded, possibly for good reason.

Leopold was appointed vice-kapellmeister under Lolli, but would rise no further in the hierarchy, being subsequently passed over for promotion by Archbishop Hieronymus von Colloredo in favor of Domenico Fischietti (1725-1810) in 1772, Giacomo Rust (1741-1786) in 1777, and Luigi Gatti (1740-1817) in 1782.  Colloredo never much cared for the Mozarts.  He remarked to Leopold in 1777 that Wolfgang knew nothing about music and should go to a conservatory in Naples to learn.  He never forgave Leopold for his long absences from court trying to find a better position for Wolfgang, and seems to have gone out of his way to find warm bodies to fill the top job.  Fischietti, Rust, and Gatti were all “imported” from Italy and wrote only operas (which in itself seems odd, as the archbishop did not support opera in Salzburg), none of which has been recorded.  Let’s just assume that they were no Hasses.  

Eberlin wrote over seventy masses, mostly short and old style, but several cantata masses give a glimpse into a more contemporary sound.  “Mass No. 34” is available on CD, and “Missa a due cori” in C major (both year unknown) can be found on YouTube.  They both have solos and duets, Type I and Type II music, and festive moments.  The sound is accessible enough, but amounts to a series of agreeable chord changes in search of tunes.

A “Missa Solemnis” in C major, recorded on CD as a spurious mass of Wolfgang Mozart (K Anhang C 1.20) by an unknown composer, is almost certainly by Leopold, probably from the early 1760s.  It has a secular-sounding “Quoniam” for solo soprano, sounding like a folk dance for which one could leave one’s work boots on.  ”Benedictus”, for quartet, is lovely and has wonderful part writing and organ obbligato.  There are several other solos and duets and mostly Type I choruses and the festive scoring includes trumpets, horns, oboes, and timpani.  The only thing that mars the folklike, tuneful quality of the sound is the annoying, musically inappropriate orchestral interludes that absolutely kill the flow of the text in many sections of Gloria, Credo, and Agnus Dei (which is not unlike Zelenka).  The distinctive final cadence of “In gloria Dei Patris” is nearly identical with a cadence used three times in the opening movement of Wolfgang’s 1772 ”Regina Caeli, Laetare”, K127, so Wolfgang must have known this mass.  And its “Gratias agimus” is an ingenuous, gentle, folklike song for soprano of the type first noted above in Heinichen’s “Mass No. 12”.  I’m not saying that there aren’t other examples in the thirty years following Heinichen, but I have not encountered one in recordings.

A “Missa Solemnis” in C major known to be by Leopold dates from 1764 or before.  It is more sophisticated than “C 1.20” above and thus almost certainly a later work.  Richly scored for trumpets, horns, flutes, and timpani, this mass is another delight in folklike listenability for poet and peasant alike and is almost always respectful of the words.  Wolfgang certainly had to know it and there are structural elements in his first mass, “K139”, to suggest that tha it was patterned on his father’s mass. 

Leopold’s mass features solos, duets, and Type I and II choruses.  Three of the solos are essentially operatic arias of the Hasse type, but the “Laudamus te” is another gentle, accessible folk song.  “Quoniam” for alto is another country dance and “Benedictus” another gentle song for soprano.

Leopold would have been very interested in Heinichen’s and Zelenka’s tuneful, accessible writing, but I can find no scholarly evidence that he knew their work.  During the firebombing of Dresden by Frederick the Great of Prussia in 1760, did some frantic monk singe his habit rescuing a handful of manuscripts from the burning court library and hightail it to the safe haven of Salzburg just to be the first person ever to have said, “Here, have a Heinichen”?

The “C 1.20” mass and Leopold’s “Missa Solemnis” will be discussed more fully later in their own chapters.

Michael Haydn (1737-1806) arrived in Salzburg in 1763 to be court musician and concertmaster and became fast friends with Wolfgang.  He wrote excellent masses, some thirty-six in all, but none in cantata style.  Like the Mozarts, he was never promoted, partly due to his close connection with them and partly due to his predilection for drink, although he did assume Wolfgang’s position as court organist when Wolfgang was fired in 1781.

Michael’s brother Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) would also have been interested in the folklike sound of Heinichen’s and Zelenka’s masses.  Joseph lived and worked about 200 miles east of Salzburg, employed by a wealthy count, his time divided between Esterhaza and Eisenstadt, with rare trips to Vienna.  His patron required new music every night of the year, so Joseph didn’t get out much.

There is no evidence of contact between Joseph and the Mozart family until the 1780s, but it is entirely possible that Joseph and Michael mailed interesting manuscripts as well as letters to each other.  There was a highly efficient postal system in the Holy Roman Empire, run by the Thurn and Taxis family, dating from 1290, with some 20,000 messengers delivering mail and newspapers throughout Spain, Germany, Austria, Italy, Hungary, and the Low Countries, paid for by contracts with the various rulers.  The service was allowed to accept private mail as well, as the royal contributors were not very reliable payers due to wars, political squabbles, general fiscal malfeasance, and fox-tossing.

Joseph Haydn’s “Missa Cellensis”, H XXII 5 (1766), is his only cantata mass and it is terrific.  Whether he was familiar with Heinichen and Zelenka, I really suspect he knew of Leopold’s work, as this mass has so much resonance with the two of Leopold’s cited above.  “Missa Cellensis” is similarly tuneful, accessible, and folklike  “Laudamus te” is another guileless, folklike song, sounding as if the soprano is singing exclusively to the listener.  And whereas Leopold’s “Quoniam” is a folk dance, Haydn’s is a veritable dance hall number for soprano, secular in sound without being disrespectful of the words.  There are solos, duets, a quartet, and the usual complement of Type I and II choruses.

Since Michael Haydn did not arrive in in Salzburg until 1763, Leopold, in this fantasy regarding Brother Singe, would have pounced on the Dresden sound long before Michael had time to clue in his brother.  Or maybe Leopold and Joseph just independently reinvented the idea of a gentle, transparent solo song for the mass setting that was distinctly different from an operatic aria.  Either way, I’m giving the edge to Leopold.