Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is born on January 27, 1756, the son of Leopold Mozart, a prince-bishop chamber musician from Augsburg, and his wife Anna Maria in a three-room apartment in Salzburg's Getreidegasse. His father recognizes his children's extraordinary musical talent early on and teaches Wolferl, who is only four years old, and his sister Nannerl, who is five years older, piano, violin and composition.
In December 1761, Wolfgang began composing at the age of six, and his first performances followed as early as 1762. One of the first concert tours took the siblings to Schwetzingen, where the seven-year-old boy wonder delighted the court in the electoral summer residence in July 1763. Afterwards, the family also visits Mannheim and stays in an inn in Quadrat B 2, 8. It is not until the end of November 1766 that they return from the three and a half year tour to Salzburg.
At the age of 21, Mozart returned to Mannheim on October 30, 1777, accompanied by his mother, and stayed at the "Pfälzischer Hof" on Paradeplatz. At the time of the music-loving Elector Carl-Theodor , the residential city is one of the most important musical metropolises in Europe. Wolfgang wants to get to know the famous court orchestra of the "Mannheim School" and its musicians, so much admired by him and his father, and hopes for a position at court. In Salzburg he sees no possibility for further development.
The very day after his arrival, he listens to a rehearsal of the court orchestra to Handel's "Messiah". The following morning, he attends the All Saints' Day service in the palace church and also on November 4, the elector's name day, to experience the music of the court chapel, the best orchestra of its time. Mozart is deeply impressed by the performance of the first German opera "Günter von Schwarzburg" by Ignaz Holzbauer on November 5, which is later reflected in his Magic Flute.
Many musicians of the court orchestra still remember Mozart's first visit and receive him joyfully. Ignaz Holzbauer introduces him to Count Savioli, the director of the Court Opera. Thereuponmay Mozart is allowed to perform on November 6 at the "Gala Academy" before the Elector and the court society in the Knights' Hall and receives great applause for his piano playing.
Carl Theodor praises Mozart with the words "He plays incomparably" and receives him the next day through the mediation of the Kapellmeister Christian Cannabich. On this occasion, Mozart expresses to the Elector his wish to be employed at court as court composer and to be allowed to write an opera for the electoral stage. The Elector answers ambiguously "that can easily happen" and invites Mozart to play the piano for his four children and their mother, the dancer, later Countess Heydeck, and to give them lessons in the meantime at the Bretzenheim Palace.
On November 9, Mozart himself plays the organ in the Schlosskirche and reports in one of his numerous letters to his father: "Last Sunday I played the organ in the chapel for fun. After only a few weeks in Mannheim, Mozart was friends with many musicians. A close friendship connects him with Ignaz Holzbauer, Ignaz Fränzl and especially the flautist Johann Baptist Wendling and also with Christian Cannabich, who always stands up for him. Mozart feels very comfortable and understood in Mannheim.
Mozart knows that the Elector is particularly fond of the flute and dedicates his later famous flute concerto to him. With it he hopes for the desired position at court. He also composes for the children of the Elector and teaches the young Count Bretzenheim and his sister. Finally, November passes, and Mozart is still without the longed-for position. The time for this, however, is conceivably unfavorable, for the Elector expects that he will soon have to accept the inheritance of the sick Bavarian regent and then move to Munich with his court.
In a letter dated November 29, Wolfgang tells his impatient father how often he has asked Count Saviola and that he now has the opportunity to speak to the Elector himself at . The Elector thinks a lot of him. The latter thinks a lot of him and knows what he can do . Therefore, he still wanted to spend the winter in Mannheim. Mozart holds on to this hope until he finally learns in December that the Elector will not offer him a position.
Wendling wants to take Mozart along with other musicians of the court orchestra on a trip to Paris planned for February 1778 . Until then, it is believed, there is a possibility that the Elector will offer him a position after all.
But life in Mannheim is expensive, and Mozart consumes more money than he earns . Therefore, his friends in Mannheim often invite him and his mother to dinner. The accommodation in the "Pfälzischer Hof" also becomes too expensive. In mid-December, Wendling gets Mozart a room in the house of the court chamber councillor Serrarius in F 3, 5. In return, he teaches his fifteen-year-old stepdaughter Therese and dedicates a piano violin sonata to her. In this cold, small room Mozart writes most of his Mannheim works.
During the solemn New Year's Eve service in the palace church , Carl Theodor learns that his cousin, the Elector Maximilian III, has died and leaves immediately for Munich to accept the inheritance. Thus Leopold Mozart no longer sees a future for his son in Mannheim and urges him to leave for Paris as soon as possible. Wolfgang, however, wants to stay in Mannheim, because he met the sixteen-year-old singer Aloysia Weber in January 1778 during a trip to Kirchheimbolanden to visit the Princess of Orange-Nassau and fell madly in love with her. He writes to his father enthusiastically "she sings quite excellently and has a beautiful pure voice". Aloysia is one of the four daughters of the prompter, music copyist and singer Fridolin Weber, an uncle of the composer Carl Maria von Weber.
Amadé, as Mozart likes to call himself, is henceforth a frequent guest of the Weber family, who live in modest circumstances in M 1, 10. His work with Aloysia is more important to him than anything else. He dedicates his most beautiful arias to her, such as the famous love aria "Non sò d'onde viene" (KV 294). Mozart withdraws from his friends, does not even teach the piano students and also neglects the work on a lucrative commission that Wendling had provided him with. Mozart dreams of going on a concert tour to Italy with the Weber family. Wendling travels to Paris without him in mid-February.
After lengthy correspondence and futile rebellion, Mozart complies with his father's wishes. On March 14, 1778, Amadé takes leave of Aloysia and his friends with a heavy heart and travels with his mother to Paris, where he arrives nine days later. Only a few months later, the mother dies.
When Mozart returns to Mannheim on November 6 on his way back to Salzburg, he finds his old friends again, but Aloysia has moved to Munich, where she has found an engagement at the Electoral Opera. Mozart lives with the Cannabich family and continues piano lessons for their gifted daughter Rose, to whom he dedicates the Piano Sonata in C major (KV 309). He writes a double concerto for piano and violin for Ignaz Fränzl's newly founded "Academie des amateurs", which still exists today in the form of the Academy Concerts. He reports to his father on November 12, "I arrived here happily on the 6th. Praise and thanks to God that I am back in my beloved Mannheim. As long as I am here, I have not yet eaten at home, because there is a lot of trouble around me; in a word, as I love Mannheim, so Mannheim loves me.
On November 16, Mozart visits the observatory built for the court astronomer Christian Mayer in 1774 and signs the guest book as "Mâitre de chapelle". Mozart realizes during his time in Mannheim that his vocation is not that of a music teacher or musician, but that composing is his only joy and passion. "I am a composer," he says in a letter to his father. Again, it is he who urges the son to continue his journey, as he has no expectations of a further stay in Mannheim. Wolfgang leaves on December 9.
Since the summer of 1778, it was clear that the residence - and with it the court orchestra - would be moved to Munich. As a small compensation, Carl Theodor left the National Theater to the people of Mannheim and appointed Baron von Dalberg as its director. He forms a small orchestra with the few remaining musicians in Mannheim. Ignaz Fränzl becomes music director.
On August 4, 1782, Mozart marries the twenty-year-old Constanze, Aloysia's younger sister, in St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna. Of their six children, only Carl Thomas (1784-1858) and Franz Xaver Wolfgang (1791-1844) live to adulthood.
On April 18, 1784, Mozart's "Abduction from the Seraglio" is performed at the National Theater, where Schiller's "Robbers" had caused a sensation two years earlier, followed by "Don Giovanni" on September 27, 1789.
A year before his death, Mozart took part in the coronation festivities for Leopold II in Frankfurt as part of the imperial entourage, and on his return journey to Vienna, he came for the last time for a few days to Mannheim, where he had once felt so at home. On October 24, 1790, he conducts the Mannheim premiere of his "Figaro" at the National Theater.
At the premiere of The Magic Flute in Vienna on September 30, 1791, Josepha, the eldest of the Weber sisters, sings the "Queen of the Night". Only a few weeks later Mozart falls ill and dies on December 5 at the age of only 36.
Mannheim was one of the most important stations in Mozart's life, both musically and personally. His encounter with the music of the "Mannheim School" influenced his entire musical oeuvre. Although none of his operas and symphonies were written in Mannheim , some of his most beautiful concert arias and sonatas were written there.