Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots is a “sacred singspiel” in three parts on a text by Ignaz Anton Weiser; the three parts were composed by three different composers and performed in Salzburg on three successive Thursdays in Lent 1767 (12, 19, and 26 Mar). The first part was composed by Mozart (K. 35), who was eleven at the time of the performance (not ten, as stated in the report); the second part was by Michael Haydn, and the third by Anton Cajetan Adlgasser (Haydn and Adlgasser's contributions are now lost). The performance of the first part on 12 Mar 1767 is documented in the Protokoll of the university secondary school (Gymnasium) in Salzburg, and in the diary of Father Beda Hübner, librarian and secretary to his uncle Beda Seeauer, the abbot of St. Peter’s monastery; both of these documents and the title page of the libretto give Mozart’s age incorrectly as ten. Mozart was awarded a gold medallion worth 12 ducats for his contribution (Dokumente, 68–69). The report transcribed here, with its moving depiction of young Mozart directing the performance, appeared in the Augspurgische Ordinari Postzeitung on 30 Mar 1767.
The Lenten market (Fastenmarkt) was an annual institution in Salzburg. As Franz Xaver Weilmeyr described it in his guide to Salzburg published in 1813:
Salzburg zählt zwey große Jahrmärkte
(Messen oder hier Dulden genannt). Der
Fastenmarkt, der am Fasching Sonntage be=
ginnt, und der Herbstmarkt, der am Mat=
thäus=Tage anfängt, dauern beyde vierzehn
Tage, und werden auf dem Residenz=,
Markt= und Universitäts=Plätze gehalten.
Sie sind beyde sehr bedeutend, und werden
von Kaufleuten des Innlandes, aus Oester=
reich, Italien, der Schweitz und den übri=
gen Bundesstaaten besucht.
[Weilmeyr 1813, 236]
Salzburg has two large annual markets
(“Messen,” or “Dulden” as they are called
here): the Lenten market, which begins on
Carnival Sunday, and the Autumn market,
which begins on St. Matthew’s Day. Both
last fourteen days, and are held on the
Residenzmarkt and Universitätsplatz.
Both are very important, and are
attended by merchants from the region,
from Austria, Italy, Switzerland, and the
other federated states.
“Faschingssonntag” (“Carnival Sunday”), still so-called today, is the last Sunday of Carnival, the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. In 1767 Ash Wednesday fell on 4 Mar and Faschingssonntag on 1 Mar (St. Matthew’s Day, the beginning of the Autumn market, is 21 Sep.) Thus the performance directed by Mozart took place near the end of the Lenten market, and it is likely that most of the visitors from out of town would have heard only Mozart’s portion of Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots, not the portions performed on 19 and 26 Mar.
The performance of Mozart’s portion of Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots is also mentioned in another document published on this site, from the Vossische Zeitung in Berlin (see our entry for 8 Apr 1767). The terms used in that report are strikingly similar to those in the Augspurgische Ordinari Postzeitung, which could well have been the Berlin paper’s source.
We are grateful to Cliff Eisen for his advice on this entry.