Mozart’s favorite (and only) form of transportation

· Oct. 19, 2022, 10:21 am
Pianist Katie Mahan in a traditional Austrian horse-drawn carriage.Pianist Katie Mahan in a traditional Austrian horse-drawn carriage.
Pianist Katie Mahan in a traditional Austrian horse-drawn carriage.

Today you can travel from Salzburg to Vienna in under three hours. When the Mozart family undertook that trip, it took three weeks!

It may seem like a long trip, but Vienna was one of the closest destinations for young Wolfgang. Italy, Hungary, Germany and even London were some of the 200 places he visited in his lifetime, so you can begin to imagine how much time Mozart spent traveling. In fact, he spent nearly a third of his life on the road. All told, he was gone an astonishing 3,720 days. That adds up to 10 years, two months and two days. Considering that Mozart was just shy of his 36th birthday when he died, that's a lot of traveling!

Most families didn't own their own carriages in the 18th century, but because of the Mozart family's extensive travels, Papa Mozart decided a carriage was a good investment. (Bonus: It was a status symbol as well.) It's likely that Leopold Mozart purchased the carriage from the Haydn family, as in fellow composer Franz Joseph Haydn. Haydn came from a family that had been cartwrights for over two generations.

In this week's episode of Mozart Snapshots, pianist Katie Mahan takes us on a traditional horse-drawn carriage ride to learn more about what life on the road was like for young Mozart and his family.

Pianist Katie Mahan is from Golden, Colorado, but lives in Salzburg now for her concert career. She is following in Mozart's footsteps in his home city every week in this video blog series. Come back each week for a new episode.


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