Mozart Violin Sonatas

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Violin Sonatas at the Old Residence in Salzburg is the perfect combination for concertgoers seeking both a historical and a musical experience. It was at the Old Residence that Mozart, as young as six, gave the first of many performances to the Salzburg court. To add more authenticity still, the violinist at each concert will be accompanied on a copy of a 1769 Pascal Taskin double manual harpsichord.

The Old Residence, up until the early nineteenth century, was home to the city’s prince archbishops, the heads of state of Salzburg when it was a principality in the Holy Roman Empire. Count Hieronymus von Colloredo, who appointed Mozart as court organist, was the last of the city’s ecclesiastical rulers, sent into exile after Salzburg fell to Napoleon's armies. Documents trace the Old Residence’s origins to 1120. However, the magnificent buildings and squares visitors can enjoy today were built under the orders of Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau, prince archbishop from 1587 to 1612.

Mozart wrote thirty-six sonatas for the violin split into two distinct periods. Those he wrote between 1763 and 1766 he composed when he was still very much a prodigy (he would have been barely ten years old when he finished the last of these works). The so-called mature sonatas were written much later, between 1778 and 1788 when Mozart was in his twenties and early thirties.

While the childhood sonatas astonish the listener - how could anyone so young create such accomplished pieces of music? - it is the latter group of sonatas that pleases the ear. Not a single note is wasted in these wonderful compositions. The harpsichord is not subordinate to the violin; rather, both instruments seem to be engaged in a perfect musical dialogue. To hear them played in the splendid setting of the Old Residence is a match made in heaven.


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