Mozart in a musical almanac (addendum)

Musikalischer Almanach auf das Jahr 1782. “Alethinopel”

       Tage                      Meister                 Wissenschaft u.

12 Mittwoch         Schwane[n]berger         Cembalisten
13 Donnerstag            Schubart                       ———
14 Freytag                    Mozart                           ———
15 Samstag                   Kayser                           ———
16 Sonntag            3 Trinitatis


Musikalischer Almanach 1782, June-400


       einer kleinen, ausgesuchten                                           
      musikalischen Bibliothek.


Musikalischer Almanach 1782, 109



               fürs Clavier.
Sterkel.               Schobert.
Mozart.               Schröter.
Riegel.                Schumann.                                                   


Musikalischer Almanach 1782, 112



This anonymous musical almanac from 1782 contains two references to Mozart. The second—Mozart in a list of composers of keyboard “duos”—is included in Neue Folge (102; also NMD, 96–97), but the first is not. Mozart’s name also occurs in the calendar for 1782, in the first major section of the almanac, where it is associated with the date Fri, 14 Jun. In the calendar as a whole, every day of the week except Sunday is associated with a musician’s name (no musician’s name is associated with Christmas, which fell on Wednesday in 1782). The author of the almanac makes no attempt to pair musicians’ names with dates in any biographically meaningful way: 14 Jun is neither Mozart’s birthday (27 Jan) nor his name day (31 Oct, the Feast of St. Wolfgang of Regensburg). This lack of meaningful pairing is true throughout the calendar: for example, the name associated with 1 Jan is Paisiello, whose birthday was 9 May. Instead, names are grouped by musical specialty within each month under the column heading “Wissenschaft und Kunstwerkzeuge” (Discipline and Artistic Tools), beginning with composers (“Contrapunctisten”), followed by singers, keyboardists (“Cembalisten”), and other musicians grouped by instrument. The other “Cembalisten” named with Mozart in the calendar for June 1782 are “Schwane[n]berger” (Johann Gottfried Schwanberger), “Schubart” (presumably Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart), and “Kayser (probably Philipp Christoph Kayser).

The almanac was published in 1782, the same year as the first of Johann Nikolaus Forkel’s musical almanacs. The coincidence of year and the similarity of title—Musikalischer Almanach auf das Jahr 1782 compared with Forkel’s Musikalischer Almanach für Deutschland auf das Jahr 1782—has occasionally led to confusion: in NMD, for example, the anonymous almanac under discussion here is incorrectly attributed to Forkel, although this mistake is corrected in Neue Folge.

The anonymous almanac of 1782 is widely attributed to Carl Ludwig Junker (or Juncker, 1748–1797), although Robert Eitner attributed it to Johann Friedrich Reichardt (Eitner 1880; Eitner gives the title incorrectly as Musikalisches Handbuch auf das Jahr 1782). However, the case for Junker is much stronger (on the attribution, see principally Wates 1965, 39ff). The place of publication, “Alethinopel”, is fictional. In Greek mythology Aletheia (ἀλήθεια) was the personification of truth, and the preface to the 1782 almanac states the author’s intention to publish “reine Wahrheit” (pure truth). The author claims to take inspiration from the Kirchen= und Ketzer=Almanach aufs Jahr 1781 (Church and Heretic-Almanac for 1781) by theologian and writer Karl Friedrich Bahrdt. In that almanac, following the monthly calendar, Bahrdt continues with a series of sometimes caustic vignettes of other theologians. According to the author of the Musikalischer Almanach, Bahrdt’s volume had been banned.

The Musikalischer Almanach was probably published in Winterthur, near Zürich. Its successor, the Musikalischer Almanach auf das Jahr 1783, evidently by the same author, invites potential subscribers to apply either to Herr Junker or to Herr Steiner in Winterthur (Wates 1965, 38); Heinrich Steiner had published Junker’s Einige des vornehmsten Pflichten eines Kapellmeisters oder Musikdirektors in Winterthur in 1782.

The frontispiece of the Musikalischer Almanach for 1782 is a satirical engraving of a domestic musical performance, depicting a male singer accompanied by a violinist (still in his dressing gown), a keyboardist, a contrabassist playing very high on the fingerboard, and a small yapping dog. The engraving is signed “Schellenberg,” probably Johann Rudolph Schellenberg (1740–1806), a Swiss artist who spent most of his life in Winterthur, and is best known today for his engravings of insects.

Musikalischer Almanach 1782, frontispiece

Musikalischer Almanach auf das Jahr 1782, frontispiece
Johann Rudolph Schellenberg

The author of the almanac provides an amusing explication of the engraving (“Erklärung des Titelkupfers”) immediately following the preface. This is followed by an “Unvollständiges Verzeichniß nur der uns bekannten musikalishen Erdengötter” (An incomplete list only of those musical gods on Earth who are known to us), listing fourteen royalty and members of the high aristocracy who play musical instruments, beginning with the emperor (Joseph II): “Der Kaiser, spielt das Clavier und das Violoncello.”
Following the monthly calendar, the Musikalischer Almanach, mimicking Bahrdt’s format, continues with vignettes of 68 musicians (Mozart not among them), nearly all from German-speaking lands. In content, style, and opinion these vignettes are strikingly similar to those in Junker’s Zwanzig Componisten (1776), and this similarity is central to the argument for the attribution of the almanac to Junker. The almanac continues with essays on “Künstlerstolz” (artist’s pride) and the aesthetic evaluation of musical instruments; then follow several musical anecdotes and a report on recent musical inventions, including Benjamin Franklin’s glass harmonica. Pages 109–112 of the Almanach contain an “Entwurf einer kleinen, ausgesuchten musikalischen Bibliothek” (Outline of a small, select musical library). It is here, under “duos” for “keyboard” that Mozart’s name appears for the second time. Neue Folge is almost certainly correct in stating that “duos” is meant to refer to sonatas for keyboard and a melody instrument, not to works for two keyboards or for keyboard four hands. The other composers in the category are (as identified in Neue Folge):

Johann Franz Xaver Sterkel (1750–1817)
Henri-Joseph Rigel (1741–1799, or perhaps his brother, Anton Riegel)
Johann Schobert (? –1767)
Johann Samuel Schroeter (1753–1788)
?Frederic Theodor Schumann (active in London, ca. 1760–1780)

“Schmidt” has not been identified.

It seems likely that the author of the Musikalischer Almanach included Mozart in this category because of his Six Sonatas for Violin and Keyboard, K. 301–306, published by Sieber in Paris in 1778; the author may also by this time have run across the newer set of six (K. 296 and K. 376–380) published by Artaria in Vienna in 1781.


The exemplar of the Musikalischer Almanach used for the scan on Google Books is from BSB, which has a color scan of the volume on its site. A color scan of an exemplar in the library of Duke University can be found on the Internet Archive.

Subsequent musical almanacs in the same general format and evidently by the same author appeared for 1783 and 1784. The almanac for 1783 seems not yet to be available online (on this almanac, see Wates 1965, 38); that for 1784 is available on Google Books, likewise based on an exemplar in BSB.


Eitner, Robert. 1880. “Allerlei alte Neuigkeiten.” Monatshefte für Musik-Geschichte 12/9: 144–49.

Wates, Roye E. 1965. “Karl Ludwig Junker (1748–1797): Sentimental Music Critic.” Ph.D. diss., Yale University.

Credit: DE

Author: Dexter Edge

Search Term: mozart

Categories: Reception, Addenda

First Published: Tue, 3 Apr 2018

Print Citation:

Edge, Dexter. 2018. “Mozart in a musical almanac (addendum) (1782).” In: Mozart: New Documents, edited by Dexter Edge and David Black. First published 3 April 2018. https://www.mozartdocuments.org/documents/1782-almanach/

Web Citation:

Edge, Dexter. 2018. “Mozart in a musical almanac (addendum) (1782).” In: Mozart: New Documents, edited by Dexter Edge and David Black. First published 3 April 2018. [direct link]