The forgotten Mozart, who extended his stay in Ljubljana

The forgotten Mozart, who extended his stay in Ljubljana

It’s been more than 200 years since Austrian musician Franz Xaver Mozart performed a piano concert in the middle of Ljubljana. But many Ljubljana residents thought it was his father – famous Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (already deceased at the time), who was coming to town …

Of the six children born to great Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his wife Constanze, only Franz Xaver (left) and his older brother Carl Thomas survived into adulthood.

Invitation by the prominent Ljubljana families

In order to save the Ljubljana Philharmonic Society from collapse (after the departure of the French), some members of the most prominent Ljubljana families thought that bringing someone famous to Ljubljana would help the cause.

And really, in July 1820 they couldn’t catch a “bigger fish” than ‘a Mozart’. Even though it was famous Austrian composer’s youngest son in question, the moment of euphoria spread quickly around Ljubljana and its surroundings.

The ‘not so genius Mozart

Born months before his famous father Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died in 1791, Franz Xaver spent his life trying — and failing — to step out of his genius father’s shadow. We can often read that he was considered a gifted musician and composer, ‘but that last spark of genius was missing in him’.

It is also known that he would sign all his works with “Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, son”. When he passed away in 1844, history has sort of forgotten him.

Travelling to “boring” Ljubljana

Mozart Jr. travelled to Ljubljana from Graz on July 10th 1820. The day before the trip, he wrote in his diary: “Tomorrow I am going to boring Ljubljana and only now am I aware of how much I enjoyed Graz. …

He had his first rehearsal with the Ljubljana Philharmonic Society Orchestra on July 14th. Just before the concert, a hearty and very VIP dinner was prepared in his honour.

Later in the evening, count Vincenc Gaisruck from Šentjur invited all the guests up to Ljubljana castle – “from where there is a surprisingly beautiful view” – Mozart Jr. wrote.

My concert is happily over

When on a beautiful Ljubljana summer night he finally sat down at the piano and played the Trio for piano, clarinet and viola, the crowd listened breathlessly.

“When it was over, I was awarded the Diploma of Honorary Member. I was planning to leave, but I decided to stay another day, as my hosts arranged a ride on the Ljubljanica river for me. Such a ride is the only really interesting entertainment for the people of Ljubljana”, he wrote.

On his way to Italy, where he was supposed to have a tour (but all his concerts were later cancelled), he also visited the Postojna Cave.

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