23 April 1789

A name day concert in Vienna with Mozart’s “newest symphonies”

Auszug xi:406, Thu, 27 Apr 1789 (?Neuester Rapport von Wien, 11)

         f) Wien, vom 25. April. Der hiesige Kri=
minalsenat hat vorgestern, als am St. Georgens
Vorabende seinem Chef, Herrn Vizebürgermei=
ster Georg von Augusti, vor dessen Hotel am
hohen Markte eine prächtige Serenade gegeben.
— Das Orchester bestand aus 36 Personen, die
die neuesten Symphonien von Hayden, Pleyel,
und Mozzart recht meisterlich produzirten. —
Diese öffentliche Ehrenbezeigung ist ein laut re=
dender Beweis der Hochachtung und Liebe des
Senats gegen diesen, seiner so seltenen Eigen=
schaften wegen, allgemeinen geliebten und hoch=
geschätzten Mann.

Auszug, 1789-04-27


⁣         Vienna, April 25. The day before yesterday,
on the eve of St. George, the local Kriminalsenat
gave their leader, Vice-Mayor Herr Georg von
Augusti, a splendid serenade in front of his
residence on Hoher Markt.—The orchestra
comprised 36 members, which performed quite
masterfully the newest symphonies by Haydn,
Pleyel, and Mozart.—This public homage is
a resounding proof of the senate’s regard and
affection for him, on account of the rare qualities
of this universally loved and highly esteemed man.


In Oct 1787, Haydn wrote to Artaria concerning the theft of the Quartets Op. 50 by the copyist Lorenz Lausch: “My plan would be to make Herr Lausch appear before Herr von Augusti, the mayor, and make him confess from whom he received the Quartets. Herr von Augusti is an old friend of mine and will certainly help you in this matter, as he did once before in just such an affair.” (Bartha 1965, 179–80; on Lausch, see Edge 2001, 2075–88). Haydn’s “old friend,” Johann Georg von Augusti (1724–1800) was Vice-Mayor of Vienna, and Chief Justice of the Viennese Civil- und Kriminalsenat from 1787 until his death. One of the more charming musical traditions in the German-speaking lands was the serenading of distinguished figures to honor their name day, and Augusti enjoyed such a reception around 23 Apr 1789. The exact date of the serenade is not clear; the report is dated 25 Apr and “vorgestern” would imply 23 Apr. However, St George’s Day is normally celebrated on 23 Apr and the “Vorabend” would be 22 Apr.

Augusti lived on the second floor of the Brunnerhaus (Hoher Markt 486, demolished in the early nineteenth century), a free-standing building situated opposite Vienna’s courthouse (Schranne), close to the corner of Hoher Markt and Tuchlauben (see illustrations below). An orchestra of 36 is similar in size to the orchestra of the Burgtheater in Vienna, which had a string complement of 6-6-4-3-3 and the usual woodwinds and brass of the “late classical” orchestra (see Edge 1992). Haydn’s recent symphonies included the Paris set (Hob. I:82–87) and those for Johann Tost (88–89) and Comte d’Ogny (90–92), while Pleyel had written about 20 by this date (B. 121–41). While it would be unwise to take the description “newest symphonies” literally, the possibility remains open that one of Mozart’s last three, K. 543, 550, and 551, then a few months old, could have been performed for Augusti. The records of the Kriminalsenat are not extant until the 1790s, so no further details are known of the musicians or their repertoire.

Whatever the identity of the symphonies, this report offers welcome evidence of the reception of Mozart’s symphonies in Vienna in the composer’s late years (see also Jonášová 2011). Mozart himself could not have attended the serenade as he was then in northern Germany, but Constanze, staying with the Puchbergs a few doors down from Augusti, may well have heard the performances (Briefe, iv.82, 88).

The Auszug gives the Bayreuther Zeitung 46 as the source for this report. However, it is not to be found in issue 46 of 1789 (which is, in fact, the issue for 16 Apr, a week before the concert took place) or in adjacent issues in the copy of the Bayreuther Zeitung available from Google Books. It appears that this citation is a mistaken repeat of an earlier citation from the same issue, and the correct source, "Rap. v. Wien 11" is given in the following footnote, which is unattached to any item. Unfortunately, no copies of the first few months of the Neuester Rapport von Wien are known to survive, so the Auszug is at present the only known source for this report of Augusti’s serenade.

Hoher Markt looking east.

Hoher Markt looking east. Engraving by Carl Schütz, c. 1793. The Brunnerhaus is on the extreme left, the courthouse on the right (note the bars on the windows).

Huber Hoher Markt

Hoher Markt in Joseph Daniel Huber’s birdseye view of Vienna, 1769-73. Augusti’s house stands at the northeast corner.


We are grateful to Michael Lorenz for providing us with information on Augusti and the Brunnerhaus.


Bartha, Dénes. 1965. Joseph Haydn: Gesammelte Briefe und Aufzeichnungen. Kassel: Bärenreiter.

Benton, Rita. 1977. Ignace Pleyel: A Thematic Catalogue of His Compositions. New York: Pendragon Press.

Edge, Dexter. 1992. “Mozart’s Viennese Orchestras.” Early Music 20:64-88.

————. 2001. “Mozart’s Viennese Copyists.”  Ph.D diss., University of Southern California.

Jonášová, Milada. 2011. “Eine Aufführung der g-moll-Sinfonie KV 550 bei Baron van Swieten im Beisein Mozarts.” Mozart Studien, edited by Manfred Hermann Schmid, vol. 20,  253–68.

Credit: DB

Author: David Black

Search Term: N/A

Categories: Biography, Reception

First Published: Thu, 12 Jun 2014

Updated: Thu, 2 Feb 2023

Print Citation:

Black, David. 2014. “A name day concert in Vienna with Mozart’s “newest symphonies” (23 April 1789).” In: Mozart: New Documents, edited by Dexter Edge and David Black. First published 12 June 2014; updated 2 February 2023. https://www.mozartdocuments.org/documents/23-april-1789/

Web Citation:

Black, David. 2014. “A name day concert in Vienna with Mozart’s “newest symphonies” (23 April 1789).” In: Mozart: New Documents, edited by Dexter Edge and David Black. First published 12 June 2014; updated 2 February 2023. [direct link]