If you want to know Mozart, you have to know Salzburg and Vienna. It's the only way to discover what made the man tick and why his music endures. When you walk in his footsteps, you'll understand more about him, the times that influenced his music and the two Austrian cities he called home.
This is an excellent time to discover - or rediscover - Mozart, as Austria celebrates the famed composer with a variety of events throughout the country.
But no matter where you go within Austria, you'll find one of the world's most user-friendly countries. There's an endless abundance of cows, plus barns with small, cozy houses attached to the front, narrow mountain roads, and plenty of picturesque towns and villages.
It's this sense of place and size that was instilled in Mozart at an early age - a view of the world that he couldn't have rejected in his own music even had he chosen to.
To understand why Mozart produced music that was so unpretentious, explore Salzburg, where he was born, and Vienna, where he produced his most important works.
Once the center of Europe's greatest power, the Austrian Empire, Vienna is now the world's largest and most charming museum. It's a city where there's a never-ending supply of the past. Visitors go to see where Beethoven, Schubert, the Strausses, Bruckner, and Brahms worked, and where Mahler conducted. Mozart is one of many important figures with roots in the city.
If you're tracing Mozart's 10 years in Vienna (1781-91), begin at St. Stephen's. The cathedral's 448-foot-high tower is a city landmark. After its completion in 1433, it became the center of the medieval city, and the square around it was the central trading place. The aristocracy and suppliers to the court took up residence between the cathedral and the court.
In 1782 Mozart married Constanze Weber in St. Stephen's, and later five of their six children were baptized there. Mozart earned a living there at times as assistant Kapellmeister(church master).
If you want to see the Vienna that Mozart saw, take the elevator to the observation platform in the north tower. Look down on the courtyards, the winding streets, and the shops in the old city. That was Mozart's town.
Behind St. Stephen's is Mozarthaus (formerly Figarohaus), the grandest of the 13 residences in which Mozart and his family lived.
In this apartment he composed 12 quintets, four quartets, three trios, two piano quartets, three sonatas for piano and another two for violin, 11 piano concertos, a horn concerto, the "Fantasy in C Minor," the cantata "Davidde penitente," and "The Marriage of Figaro."
In Salzburg, Mozart seems to be everywhere. A fairy tale city with a large castle looking down on the old town, it looks much the same as in Mozart's time.
Back then it was a commercial center, named for its salt mines. In the beginning, it started as a monastic settlement and was once a walled city impregnable to attack. All of these factors are still evident and combine to make Salzburg a city that's made for exploring.
Considering that Mozart disliked Salzburg - and after he left for Vienna returned as few times as possible - the city fathers have been downright forgiving.
Mozart's Geburtshaus (birthplace) dominates the inner city, and it's here, in the third-floor apartment, that the Mozart saga begins. Then, as now, the street was a narrow lane of shops. The apartment is a museum, of course, and undoubtedly the busiest place in town.
Both Wolfgang (christened Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus) and his sister Maria Anna, nicknamed "Nannerl," were born at the Getreidegasse apartment, though the family later moved across the Salzach River to a bigger place at Marktplatz 8.
Among the pictures, autographs, documents, and various relics in the Geburtshaus are Mozart's Hammerflügel and clavichord. The clavichord was given to the museum by Constanze in her will. Pasted in it is a note in her own hand that says: "On this instrument my husband Mozart composed within five months the Magic Flute, La Clemenza de Tito, the Requiem, and a new freemasons cantata. I, Mozart's widow and present wife of Councillor Nissen, confirm this."
For a taste of the way Mozart might have heard his own music, head for the Mirabell Palace where chamber concerts are held throughout the year in the ornate, intimate surroundings of the concert hall.
In this hall, Wolfgang, Nannerl, and Leopold, their father, gave concerts.
Almost every house, building, and street in Salzburg seems to have a colorful history. On the right bank is the house where Joseph Mohr was born.
That would have been the last the world ever heard of Mohr, except for the fact he later wrote a song called "Silent Night" in Oberndorf at the parish church of St. Nicola not far from Salzburg.
When compared to Vienna, life in Salzburg was almost innocent for Mozart. In Salzburg, he was a big fish in a small pond, and in Vienna a middle-size fish in a very big pond. Not the way we think of him today, but if you visit Austria, you'll find that he - and his times - come alive in an entirely new way.
At the Mozart 2006 Information Center beside the State Opera House on Kärntner Ring, find out about concerts, buy tickets, and pick up a map, guide, and a "Calling Mozart" phone for accessing the audio information at Mozart sites throughout Vienna. www.wienmozart2006.at. To learn more about the self-guided walking tour, see www.callingmozart.at.
Mozarthaus is at Domgasse 5 near Stephansplatz. Mozart lived with his family there at the height of his career. www.mozarthaus vienna.at. Phone: 011-43-1-512-1791.
The Albertina museum is featuring a special Mozart exhibit. Located at Albertinaplatz. www. albertina.at. Phone: 011-43-1-53483-0.
Schloss Schönbrunn offers a special Mozart package every evening: a tour of the palace, dinner in the Orangerie, and a concert. The Mirror Room is where young Wolfgang played for Empress Maria Theresa (see page 15). www.schoenbrunn.at. The Marionette Theater at Schönbrunn offers shows of "The Magic Flute" several times a week. www. marionettentheater.at. Phone: 011-43-01-81732-47.
Concerts by the Vienna Philharmonic will take place at the Musikverein at 011-43-1-50581-90 or visit www.musikverein.at/ konzerte/ spielplaene.asp. Located at Karlsplatz.
Mozart Operas will be performed at: the State Opera House on Kärntner Ring (www. wiener-staatsoper.at; phone: 011-43-1-51444-2250); Volksoper Wein, at Währingerstrasse 78 (www.volksoper.at; phone: 011-43-1-51444-3670); and Theater an der Wien, at Linke Wienzeile 6, (www.theater-wien.at. Phone: 011-43-1-588-30660).
a marble Mozart Walk into the Burggarten for a look at the marble Mozart statue sculpted in 1896 by Viktor Tilgner. Note the treble-shaped flower bed. On Opernring between the State Opera House and the Hofburg.
For additional information, stop by the Tourist Information Office at Albertinaplatz, near the Mozart Cafe.
- Nancy Humphrey Case
Mozart's Geburtshaus Getreidegasse 9, is where he and his sister were born. It's now a museum.
Mozartplatz In the center of Mozart Square is a statue of the famed composer and musician, which was unveiled in 1842, marking belated appreciation for him.
Mozart Wohnhaus Mozart lived here from 1773 to 1780, Makrtplatz 8. Phone: 011-43-0662-874227. Website: www.mozarteum.at.
Mirabell Palace's concert hall Mozart, his sister, and their father gave dinner concerts here. Off Makrtplatz. Phone: 011-43-0662-889-87-330.
Salzburg Museum (Neugebäude) was renovated for the 2006 celebration. In one wing of the Residenz Neubau, enjoy the "Viva! MOZART" exhibition. In another is housed the excellent collections of the former Carolino Augusteum Museum. Don't miss the original composition of "Silent Night." Mozartplatz 1. Phone: 011-43-0662-620808-200. Website: www. smca.at.
Dom St. Rupert (Salzburg's Cathedral) Mozart's parents were married in this cathedral, and he was baptized there. Domplatz. Phone: 011-43--0662-844189. Website: www.kirchen.net/ dommuseum.
St. Gilgen, the village where Mozart's mother was born The Konditorei Dallmann is the place to pick up a piece of the cake baked by his mother for him to take on his journeys. Mozartplatz 2a, St. Gilgen. Phone: 011-43 -6227 2208. Website: www.dallmann.at.
- Compiled by Judy Lowe
Once you've visited the Mozart sites, here are suggestions for getting more of the flavor of Salzburg.
Castle: It's impossible to miss the imposing Fortress Hohensalzburg, which dominates the Salzburg skyline. Built about 1077 and enlarged many times afterward, this medieval fortress is fascinating. It's also kid-friendly, with a marionette museum. (See page 14.) Mönchsberg 34; 011-43-0662-842430-11; www.salzburg- burgen.at.
While you can walk up the Festungsburg to the fortress, it's more fun to take the funicular (railway). Festungsgasse 4; 011-43-0662-842682; www.festungsbahn.at.
Food: You'll want to try the sweet marzipan balls, Salzburger Mozartkugeln (see page 14). Look for them at Konditorei Fürst, Brodgasse 13, at the Alter Markt (Old Market) on Mozartplatz (011-43-0662-843759-0) and Konditorei Schatz, Getreidegasse 3 (011-43-0662-842792). As you wander the city, try the wares at one of the many sausage stands. The city's signature dessert, found all over, is the meringue known as Salzburger Nockerln.
Exploring: Walking tours set out daily, usually at midday, from the tourist information center in Mozartplatz. If you want to wander on your own, pick up a map there. For a true feel of the city, don't miss the Old City and the Alter Markt with its colorful houses and businesses dating to the mid-1700s.
The famous glockenspiel (carillon) atop the Salzburg Museum plays music by Mozart, Haydn, and von Weber at 7 and 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Mozartplatz 1.
Garden: The extensive Mirabell Gardens are well worth a visit for flower lovers. Fans of "The Sound of Music" will want to head for the rose garden to see if they recognize a scene from the film. The gardens also offer a lovely view of the city. Off Marktplatz.
For more information: Auerspergstrasse 6, Salzburg; Phone: 011-43- 662-8898-70; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; or see www.salzburg.info.
- Compiled by Judy Lowe