•  / Haus der Musik

    Mozart in Private: Fun, Music, and Games

    Evening was approaching and the day’s work was done. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart ventured into the streets of Vienna. Via the Stubentor, he reached the Glacis, which was then a popular recreation area between the city walls and the suburbs. Near the Botanical Garden, he entered a house. He left it again late at night and in high spirits.

    Relaxation and Inspiration

    We don’t know all the details of Mozart’s life, but as far as we can guess, this is what might have happened during these evenings: Over the span of several years, the musical genius spent almost every Wednesday evening as a guest of Nikolaus Joseph von Jacquin. The botanist, chemist and doctor was one of the most important scholars of his time and many scientists and artists frequented his salon. Mozart taught composition to his son Gottfried von Jacquin and piano to his daughter Franziska.

    The evenings at the Jacquins always lasted long into the night. While the older generations discussed scientific theories, the younger ones - which Mozart was a part of - amused themselves with music and games. With Mozart’s workload, these evenings were especially welcome. The easy-going atmosphere allowed him to relax and occasionally he even found inspiration for new music.

    Musical Game NAmadeus

    In 1787 Mozart came up with the idea for a musical game (KV 516f.), which he dedicated to Franziska Jacquin. Judging by the sheet music, it was likely that Mozart intended to turn the name "Francisca" into a melody. His piano student Caroline Pichler recounted in her "Denkwürdigkeiten aus meinem Leben" (Memorable events of my life): "Franziska played the piano exceedingly well, she was one of Mozart’s best students, she also sang very prettily, and he wrote the Trio with Clarinet for her. So it happened that on Wednesday evenings, [...], at her father’s salon, scholarly topics were discussed and the young people chatted, joked, played music, enjoyed little games and entertained themselves splendidly."

    Mozart wrote two bars of music for each letter of the alphabet, as well as two additional ones each as alternatives. One could combine them according to a complicated set of rules. At the Haus der Musik in Vienna, this musical game has been recreated as an interactive computer programme called „NAmadeus“. Somehow we have the feeling that if Mozart were alive today, he would have enjoyed spending time at the Haus der Musik amusing himself with this computer game.

    A walk through Vienna with Mozart

    Duration: 40 Min

    Distance: 3,1 km (1.9 miles)

    • House of Music facade
    • Mozarthaus Vienna
    • k. k. Hof- und Staatsdruckerei Wien (Fotograf), Stadtbefestigung: Stubentor von außen, 1857–1858
    • Pond in the Vienna City Park "Stadtpark"
    • Monument of Mozart
    • Botanical Garden Belvedere Vienna
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    • The starting point is the Haus der Musik, where you can have a go at Mozart’s musical game NAmadeus. It is located only a ten-minute walk away from the Mozarthaus. To get from his apartment in the Domgasse to Jacquin’s house, Mozart had to cross the Glacis, an open area between the city walls that encircled Vienna, and the suburbs. This esplanade was used as a recreational area and featured many trees, meadows, ponds and pretty lantern-lined promenades used by people and horse-drawn carriages.

      Mozart’s favourite path to the Glacis led through the Stubentor. Today you can still see remnants of the old city wall around it. It also borders the Stadtpark, a large park on the

    • grounds of the former Wasserglacis. Perhaps Mozart really crossed the Wasserglacis daily to get to Rennweg 14, the address of the Jacquins. During the day, he would have watched as children played and vendors praised their goat milk, pretzels, waffles and other delights. In the evenings, there was a coffee tent, which also featured Turkish music. Mozart was surely delighted with this, as the Orient featured prominently in some of his work. Right by the Botanical Garden, the Mozart Platane is a magnificent plane tree from Mozart’s time that is now a natural monument. Be sure to explore the Botanical Garden and stroll through the Jacquin-Hain (Group 21) which commemorates the garden directors, Jacquin father and son.

    Mozarthaus Vienna

    The Mozarthaus in the Domgasse

    The Domgasse is a small street close to Vienna's St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his family lived at Domgasse 5 from 1784 to 1787. Here, he composed his famous opera „Le Nozze di Figaro,“ as well as three of his „Haydn-Quartets.” The apartment there was the largest and most expensive one he ever lived in and it is the only one that is still intact today.

    The exhibitions at the Mozarthaus show visitors not only much about Mozart himself, his personal life and his position in society, they also do a great job showing what the city of Vienna was like during Mozart’s time and how he might have experienced it. Back then, Vienna had a bit more than 50,000 inhabitants living within the city walls, which is roughly the same area as today’s first district.

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