Giovenale Sacchi on the young Mozart in Milan; and Girbert orders “Entführung”

We have added three new documents to our site:

Giovenale Sacchi on Mozart the prodigy
Giovenale Sacchi on Mozart in Milan

In his 1770 book on the division of time in music, dance, and poetry, Giovenale Sacchi, a Barnabite monk, mathematician, and writer living in Milan, mentions Mozart and the violinist Franz LaMotte as two examples of extraordinary musical prodigies who had recently been heard in his city. Mozart first visited Milan from Jan to Mar 1770 and performed there several times; he returned to the city for the production of his opera Mitridate from Oct 1770 to Jan 1771, and then twice more over the following two years: from Aug to Dec 1771, for the production of Ascanio in Alba, and Oct 1772 to Mar 1773, for Lucio Silla. Sacchi referred to Mozart again (along with LaMotte and several other prodigies) in a book published in 1778 that defends music as an appropriate subject for the education of youth.

It seems likely that Sacchi met Mozart and heard him perform. A copy of Sacchi’s 1770 book in the University Library, Glasgow, carries the inscription “Mozart m[pi]a” on its title page; it remains uncertain whether the inscription is in Wolfgang or Leopold’s hand, but it does suggest the possibility that they received the copy from Sacchi personally.

Christoph Heinrich Girbert orders Entführung from Breitkopf

This letter from keyboard player and music teacher Christoph Heinrich Girbert to Leipzig music publisher Johann Gottlob Immanuel Breitkopf includes an order for a keyboard-vocal score of Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail (probably Starck’s arrangement published by Schott in 1785/86). Girbert spent most of his career in Bayreuth, but for a short period in 1784–1785 he was music director for the theater company of Ludwig Schmidt, just at the time Schmidt’s company was introducing Entführung to audiences in Ansbach, Erlangen, Nuremberg, Salzburg, and Passau.

We have also made updates to many existing pages on our site. The commentaries for 28 Nov 1785 (“A report on the Viennese premiere of La villanella rapita”) and 5 Oct 1791 (“Mozart is awarded the third receipts from Die Zauberflöte”) have been substantially revised, and English translations have been added for several documents that did not previously have them:

1760. Leopold Mozart as guide to Paracelsus
9 Nov 1763. The Mozart family gives a concert in Brussels
1780. Leopold and Wolfgang Mozart mentioned in a survey of institutions of higher learning
1780. Mozart listed among prominent keyboard players
5 Nov 1784. Box-office receipts from Die Entführung aus dem Serail in the Kärntnertortheater
3 May 1786. A report on the premiere of Le nozze di Figaro
12 Jan 1788. A Masonic musical academy in Vienna
26 Feb 1788. Anton Grams advertises Don Giovanni
1788. A four-hand piano sonata by Mozart in a story by Musäus
1 Oct 1791. The earliest published report on the premiere of Die Zauberflöte
8 Oct 1791. An early report on Die Zauberflöte (addendum)

Three new translations of items from Gazzetta universale are by guest contributor Matteo Magarotto:

28 Nov 1785. A report on the Viennese premiere of La villanella rapita
12 Jan 1786. La villanella rapita in Vienna
7 May 1786. A report on the premiere of Le nozze di Figaro

We are also in the process of adding model citations for all entries and are gradually introducing an improved system of categories: Biography, Reception, Publication & Advertisement, Mozart in Literature, and Addenda.

We anticipate moving our site from Google Sites to a new webhost at some point in 2018. A redesigned version of the site is already well advanced in the testing phase, but converting all existing pages to the new version will take several months. Because we receive no institutional support or funding for this site, and the site at its new webhost has ongoing expenses (server space, a domain name registration that must be renewed annually, and the expenses incurred in the development of the site), we would be grateful for contributions to help defray these expenses. All donors will be invited to visit and comment on the new site in progress, and all donors (unless they wish to remain anonymous) will be thanked on the Acknowledgments pages for both the existing and the new site. 

If you would like to contribute, please contact Dexter Edge at; or if you have a PayPal account, you can send a contribution directly to the account linked to that e-mail address. Thanks!

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