Who Wants Me?

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Fledgling of a Genius

Mozart's audience with Emperor Francis I and Maria Theresa in Schönbrunn Palace on 13 October 1762

Oil painting by Eduard Ender (1822–1883) 1869 (International Mozarteum Foundation, Salzburg) Source: Division of Rare & Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library
Hieronymus Count Collorodo, the last Prince Archbishop of Salzburg

Hieronymus Count Collorodo, the last Prince Archbishop of Salzburg

Oil painting (Salzburg Museum) End of 18th century Source: Wikimedia

During their travels through Italy, the Mozarts were extremely successful. Back in Salzburg, it was time for Wolfgang to gain a foothold at the court of the prince-archbishop. Unfortunately, nobody here was eagerly awaiting the young, possibly slightly over-confident Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who had turned out to be a rather short young man, not really blessed with handsomeness.

A new prince-archbishop, Hieronymus Count Colloredo, ruled Salzburg and valued economy above all else. After the sixteen-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had composed “Il Sogno di Scipione” for him, he raised Mozart to the position of prince-archiepiscopal concertmaster with an annual salary of 150 guilders. This was not a large sum, so the young Mozart was more than open to new opportunities. Unfortunately, a further journey to Milan, where Mozart was commissioned to compose the opera “Lucio Silla”, did not gain him the employment he desired in his beloved Italy.

The Search for Mozart’s Own Distinct Musical Style

A stay in Vienna proved to be a further disappointment regarding gainful employment, but Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart underwent tremendous personal and musical development during this time. He became acquainted with the works of Antonio Salieri and Joseph Haydn. In Vienna, he wrote his first piano concerto among other works. At the age of twenty he could already look back on more than 300 original compositions and the opera “La finta giardiniera”, which he had written for the elector of Bavaria. Still, he was stuck as a badly paid employee of Prince-Archbishop Colloredo in Salzburg.

However, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was too confident in his own talent to put up with this situation indefinitely. After a conflict with his employer, he was laid off by Colloredo in 1777. At twenty-one years of age, he set out on a journey again, this time with his mother…