Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Mozart's Salzburg



Few cities are so irrevocably associated with a single person than Salzburg to Mozart, and vice-versa. The city is amazing in its own right, but those interested in the life of one of the world's greatest composers will be thoroughly delighted here.

Wolfgang Mozart was born in a burgher’s house on the busy Getreidegasse 9 on January 27, 1756, and lived here in the heart of the city for several years before moving across the river. It's location means that you'll at least pass by it, even if you're not looking for it. 

The house features several floors showcasing historic furniture, letters, memorabilia, and many of the portraits painted during his lifetime. It also displays his early instruments, including violins, his clavichord, and a harpsichord, as well as locks of the composer's hair. Some are fascinated by it, others find it touristy and not as authentic as they may have hoped.

The Mozart family moved across the Salzach river to the Tanzmeisterhaus, now known as Mozart's Wohnhaus. It's located just across from the birthplace of Christian Doppler of the 'Doppler Effect' fame, which not surprisingly doesn't draw much of an audience. 

This house was where Mozart lived the most in the city, when he wasn't off traveling through Europe. The museum has a large assortment of letters, music and overall a little more interesting exhibits, including a composite of what it is believed he really looked like (oddly similar to Nicholas Cage if you ask me).

But, there's more to Mozart's Salzburg than two houses. Much of the city, from its mighty fortress to winding alleys, were more or less the way as they were during Mozart's time.  
It's not hard to imagine what it might have been like when Mozart strolled these streets, particularly when the crowds of day tripping tourists have moved on and the old town is calm. 

You can enjoy coffee and pastries at Cafe Thomaselli, one of his favorite haunts. But, many might overlook the plaque at the side of the building noting that his widow, Konstanze, lived upstairs with her second husband for a period when she returned to the city. 

And then there's the St. Sebastian cemetery where both Konstanze and his father Leopold are buried. Mozart, or at least most of him, is buried in Vienna.