The man with the money behind Mozart’s childhood travels

· Apr. 26, 2022, 8:44 pm

Mozart didn't have an ordinary childhood. He never went to school. And he didn't live at home very much. Instead, his father, Leopold, packed up the family and traveled Europe to show off the extraordinary keyboard skills of Mozart and his older sister, Nannerl. The journeys were also a time for Mozart to learn from older, more established composers. In the decade after Mozart turned seven, he was home in Salzburg for just a little over three years. The other seven years were spent on the road.

That's an expensive way to gain an education — money that Leopold didn't have. The main patron behind the Mozart family travels was Leopold's employer, the powerful Archbishop Schrattenbach in Salzburg. Schrattenbach once locked young Mozart in a room and ordered him to compose a piece of music. It was a test to make sure that the young prodigy wasn't being propped up by his father. Mozart passed the test and the amazed Schrattenbach became one of Mozart's biggest fans and supporters by funding these extraordinary family journeys.

In this episode of Mozart Snapshots, Colorado pianist Katie Mahan takes us on a private tour of Salzburg's Alte Residenz, the traditional residence of Salzburg's prince-archbishops that dates back to the 12th century. Katie takes us into Carabinieri Hall, where a youthful Mozart frequently entertained his adoring fan, Archbishop Schrattenbach. Carabinieri Hall is where Mozart debuted his final violin concerto.

See more Mozart Snapshots episodes, and check back each week for a new episode!


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