“On Tour” to the Noble Courts of Europe

A Musical Triumphal Procession – the Seven-Year-Old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Wins the Hearts and Purses of Europe

Mozart's concert at the court of Louis François I. de Bourbon, Prince de Conti, in the Palais du Temple in Paris in summer 1766 (detail)

Oil painting by Michel Barthélemy Ollivier (1712–1784) 1766 (Musée National du Château, Versailles) Source: Wikimedia
Mozart stayed in London from April 1764 until July 1765

Mozart stayed in London from April 1764 until July 1765

Engraving in the article "Account of a Very Remarkable Young Musician" by Daines Barrington London 1781 Source: Division of Rare & Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library

Wolfgang Mozart’s father Leopold Mozart was without doubt the driving force behind the journeys of the Mozart family. He crammed the family into rickety carriages to conquer Europe by storm. With a trusty travel piano as a constant companion, the carriages rattled over hill and dale. In every town Leopold Mozart tried to procure a much coveted invitation to the noble courts, placed advertisements in the local newspapers and tried to acquire contacts. In other words: he became a successful agent.

It may lie on the tip of the tongue to accuse Leopold Mozart of forcing his children into child labour. On the other hand, Wolfgang Mozart not only immensely enjoyed his performances, but his musical genius compelled him to perform. For the benefit of his son, Leopold Mozart abdicated advancing his own career. Of course money was an important consideration. Travelling was expensive and the livelihood of the family had to be ensured.

France, England, Holland – a Veritable Hype about the Nascent Godfather of Classical Music

Wolfgang Mozart performed for the French king Louis XV and Madame Pompadour, then for the English royal family, where he was taught by Johann Christian Bach, son of the great Johann Sebastian Bach – his first teacher next to his father. At nine years of age, Wolfgang Mozart wrote his first symphony and more than 40 further works in England.

And on went the journey. At this point, Wolfgang Mozart was widely regarded as a sensation and many gold coins jingled in the family purse. The Mozarts went to Amsterdam, Salzburg and Vienna, where Wolfgang composed his first Italian comical opera “La Finta Semplice”. The work was far from perfect, but Wolfgang Mozart was only twelve years old - an impressive feat.

Wolfgang Mozart's second grand tour ended in 1768. Soon he would be travelling again, this time heading south…