Michael Lorenz

Mozart's Apartment on the Alsergrund[1]


Mozart's two sojourns in the Viennese suburbs Landstraße and Alsergrund in 1787 and 1788-89 respectively have always been regarded as a result of the composer's immediate financial problems. This may have been caused by the reaction of Leopold Mozart, who, when he learned of his son's move to the outskirts, on 11 May 1787, wrote to his daughter: "Your brother is now living at Landstraße No. 224. He doesn't write me any reason for this. Absolutely nothing! Unfortunately I can guess why."[2] For a number of reasons a revaluation of Mozart's situation in 1787 yields a slightly different picture: 1) in Mozart's time it was certainly not a sign of financial straits to spend the summer on the outskirts of town, and 2) Constanze's pregnancy might have been a good reason to get away from the inner city[3] 3) although it is thought that Mozart's paid 150 Gulden rent per year on the Landstraße, the 1787 tax register suggests that he actually rented the biggest apartment in the house on the second floor for 200 Gulden.[4] Mozart's landlord on the Landstraße was Joseph Urban Weber, a "government and market commissioner" of the Vienna Magistrate.[5] The quarters on the Landstraße were of course relatively modest compared to the exceptionally luxurious apartment in the Camesinahaus (Stadt 846), where for an annual rent of 450 Gulden the Mozart family could dispose of four rooms, two closets, a kitchen, a cellar, an attic and two vaults for storing firewood.[6]

Mozart's apartment in Stadt 846

Mozart's apartment in the Camesinahaus Stadt No. 846, rented by Countess Starhemberg in 1788 (A-Wsa, Steueramt, B34/4, fol. 289)

        Erster Stock

4/ Vier Zimer 2 Kabinet, Küche Boden

    Keller, 2 Holzgewölber, Grafinn

    v Stahrenberg[sic]                            450

We have to keep in mind that a rent of 200 Gulden was extremely high in a suburban area like the Landstraße where most of the apartments consisted of only one room and kitchen, for which the average rent was about 30 Gulden. Furthermore it seems very likely that Mozart did not cancel his rental contract when he moved back to the city in December 1787. The regular deadline for giving notice (Michaelmas) had already passed, Constanze was well advanced in pregnancy and having just been appointed k.k. Kammercompositeur on 7 December 1787, he was in a position to keep his rural abode until April 1788. Mozart's confession in his letter to Puchberg on 17 June 1788 that he still owed his former landlord on the Landstraße part of the rent also supports this hypothesis. It could very well be that in his elation over his appointment Mozart for a short while had overestimated his financial powers. Mozart's move to Stadt No. 281 "Zum Mohren" (at the corner of Tuchlauben and Schultergasse) may have been related to the fact that in 1787 the future owner of the house Landstraße 224 Jacob Schosulan lived in this house.[7]

Landstraße No. 224
The yard of the house Landstraße No. 224 seen from north-east towards the entrance; the third floor was added in 1833 (A-Wn, ST 2595F)

After a half year's stay in Stadt No. 281, where on 27 December 1787 Constanze Mozart gave birth to her first daughter Theresia[8], the Mozart family moved to to the house Alsergrund 135.

The (previously unpublished) original baptismal entry of Theresia Mozart on 27 December 1787. Note Mozart being named 'Wolfgangus Amadeus Mozart KK Hof=Kapellen=Meister' and Constanze being an 'Amtmans[sic] Tochter aus Freyburg[sic]' (A-Wstm, St. Peter, Taufbuch (original copy), Tom. 2, fol. 123).

This change of address again has universally been interpreted as a symptom of the composer's being in dire straits. What other reason could there have been for moving from the city to a suburb where the costs of living were supposed to be much cheaper? This assumption has also been endorsed by the fact that exactly at that time, in June 1788 Mozart began writing a series of heart-rending begging letters to his friend Puchberg. On 17 June 1788 Mozart described his problematical situation as follows:


I have just opened my heart to completely in a matter that is very important to me; therefore I acted as a true brother – but only with a true brother can one be perfectly frank. – Now I eagerly look forward to a reply, but really – a favorable reply; – and I don't know; – I know you as a man who, if he can do so, like myself will certainly help his friend, his brother, his true brother. – In case you couldn't part with such a sum [one or two thousand Gulden] at the moment, I beg you to lend me at least a couple of hundred Gulden until tomorrow, because my landlord on the Landstraße was so importunate that (to avoid every inconvenience) I had to pay him on the spot, which put me in a messy situation! Tonight we will sleep in our new quarters for the first time, where we will stay both summer and winter; – on the whole I don't mind this, I even find it preferable; I haven't much to do in the city anyway and because I'm not exposed to so many visitors, I will have more time for work; – if I have to go into the city on business, which will not often be the case anyway, any fiacre will take me there for ten Kreuzer, moreover the apartment is cheaper and more pleasant during the spring, summer and autumn, because I also have a garden. The address is Waringergasse, bey den 3 Sterrnen [at The Three Stars] N° 135.[9]


The house Alsergrund No. 135 was built in the first half of the 18th century. It consisted of two main parts: one with three floors towards the Währingergasse and the other with two floors facing the garden. These two units were connected by two wings that were six meters wide and surrounded the courtyard between the main units of the building. In addition to rooms they also contained stables and sheds for carriages. As can be seen on Joseph Daniel von Huber's famous plan of Vienna[10], in about 1770 the garden of No. 135 extended all the way north-eastwards to a building in the Drei Mohren Gasse (today Liechtensteinstraße, the so-called Quergasse [today Wasagasse] did not exist yet):

Huber's plan
Alsergrund No. 135 (in the center) on Joseph Daniel von Huber's map


Messner's map
Alsergrund No. 275 (in the center) on the cartographer Robert Messner's map in correct point of compass orientation; all surviving buildings from earlier than 1846 in red color; the Schwarzspanierhaus is at the bottom left

According to the printed inscription on the first page of the 32 volumes of the Josephinische Steuerfassion (Formular II)[11] these tax registers (drawn up by the "Magistratischer Stellvertreter in Häusersteuerregulierungs-Geschäften" Joseph Rötzer) cover a one year-period-beginning on 23 April 1787: "Verzeichniß der fatierten Zinserträge der Häuser, für das verflossene ganze Jahr von Georgi 1787 bis Georgi 1788 nach den einzelnen Angaben, mit den hierüber erfolgten ämtlichen Berichtigungen / Nach dem Patentsformular Nro. II". But this does not mean that these records really cover exactly this period of time. Actually they represent the rental status of the following year and some of the entries even refer to the year 1790. Therefore Mozart is not registered in the Steuerfassion under Landstraße 224, but in the volume that contains his address for the following year, i.e. the tax register of the "Gemeinde Alster= und Währingergasse" (Alsergrund).[12]


Steuerfassion B34/27

A-Wsa, Steueramt, B34/27

Here, in the house that since 1735 had been in the possession of the family von Schickh[13], we find Mozart as tenant of his 'certainly modest suburb apartment'[14], where (according to the Austrian historian Robert Franz Müller) "for the master, who wrote his last three symphonies there, poverty increased beyond measure".[15] Following his proven habit Mozart rented the biggest apartment in the house, the spacious Gartenwohnung:

Mozart's apartment in Alsergrund 135
Mozart's apartment on the Alsergrund in the Josephinische Steuerfassion of 1788 (A-Wsa, Steueramt, B34/27, fol. 218)

                 Zu ebener Erde. […]


5:/ Die Gartenwohnung mit 7 Zimer,

1 Küche, Keller, und Holzgewölb, nebst Stal-

lung auf 2 Pferde, 1 Wagenschupfe[n], und

den Garten des H:[err]n v: Mozart               p:[er] . 250 –[16]



No. 5) The garden apartment with 7 rooms

a kitchen, cellar, a firewood vault, a stable

for two horses, one carriage shed and

the garden of Herr von Mozart                    for 250 Gulden



It turns out that by moving away from the inner city of Vienna Mozart had certainly not reduced his expenses (as claimed in his letter to Puchberg), but merely increased the housing space at his disposal. For the apartment that he seems to have rented at his former address Stadt 281 he had paid exactly same amount of 250 Gulden. It is very revealing to look at the other apartments in the house Alsergrund 135 and the annual rent their tenants had to pay for them:


First floor

1) Peter Dußl                                 28 fl

2) Christoph Dopler[17]                35 fl

3) Andreas Kur[z]mayer[18]            80 fl

4) Anton Passak                             40 fl

5) Mozart (the garden apartment)   250 fl

6) the janitor's apartment                free


Second floor

7) Pater Leander[19]                      50 fl

8) Joseph Gortmann[20]                 60 fl

9) Mathias Finkh                            38 fl

10) Michael Thurn                         70 fl


Third floor

11) Bernhard Weissenecker             50 fl

12) Elisabet Reyberger[21]              50 fl

13) Rosalia Hrdlicka[22]                  36 fl

14) Philipp Ernest                           70 fl


            First floor in the back

15) Theresia Döbler                        38 fl

16) Mathias Bernhard                     38 fl


Second floor in the back

17) Johann Merkl                           38 fl

18) Richard Wittmann                     36 fl

19) Frau von Pöck[23] [a cellar]      16 fl


The porcelain painter Christoph Doppler's signature with his address in a church register of St. Peter's (1784)

Mozart obviously resided in the part of the building that the aristocratic former owners of the house (Johann Herwaldt Füllgraf von Schöndorff, Johann Georg von Buol-Schauenstein or Bernhard Franz von Schickh) had projected for their own use. What were the exact dimensions of the house Alsergrund 135 and how big was Mozart's seven-room-apartment? After the reforms of Joseph II in 1783, every modification of a building in Vienna had to be applied for at the "Unterkammeramt” together with the submission of a plan of the changes that were to be made. A search for plans in the holdings of this department shows that of the six applications submitted between 1799 and 1842 only one survives and this file turns out to be an archival piece of luck: on 13 May 1836 Theresia Bock, who at that time was the owner of the house, submitted an application to the magistrate to get permission to erect a number of new walls in the 'rear wing of her house Alservorstadt N 275”[24]. The plan drawn by the master builder Andreas Lechner shows Mozart's former apartment and provides us with exact measurements of this historic lodging:

Baukonsens from 1836
A projected modification of Mozart's former apartment in 1836 (A-Wsa, Unterkammeramt, Baukonsens Fasz. 3-1942/1836)


The calculations as to how much space Mozart had at his disposal in his Gartenwohnung yield interesting results and one realizes that these quarters were really not that expensive, as they were very spacious.[25] The net floor space of Mozart's apartment amounted to about 198m2 (189m2 without the additional two rooms on the left). The main room alone of this apartment (which was to be divided into two rooms in 1836) in the center of the garden wing covered about 60m2. All kinds of speculations come to mind as to why for Mozart needed this huge amount of space. Did he organize rehearsals of his last three symphonies in this room? It seems rather unlikely that Mozart rented such a big apartment to sublet part of it. The report in Preisler's Journal from 1789[26], the only eyewitness account that we have of Mozart's life on the Alsergrund, makes no mention of such minor matters as servants or any cohabitants. There are two other notable details in Mozart's tax register entry: the fact that his quarters included a stable and a shed for a carriage make it seem likely that he already owned a horse. It might well have been the nag that he sold on 7 October 1791 for fourteen ducats.[27] The other detail is Mozart's being addressed as "von Mozart", i.e. with a predicate of nobility. It is true that the employee of the Steueramt who drew up the list of tenants distributed quite a number of undeserved titles in his list, but the fact that he added one to Mozart's name is very telling as far as the composer's social status is concerned. It was Mozart's appearance and the size of his apartment that might have been reason enough for the revenue officer to be careful not to deny a well deserved status. After all, being a recipient of the first grade of the Papal Order of the Golden Spur, Mozart had more right to consider himself a nobleman than his colleague Gluck, who had only received the third grade of that order. Two sources related to the death of Mozart's daughter Theresia on 29 June 1788 in the house on the Alsergrund suggest that during his stay in the suburb Mozart indeed passed himself off as a nobleman.[28]

Mozart as 'v[on] Mozart' in the baptismal entry of his first child in June 1783 (A-Wstm, Am Hof, Taufen Tom. 1, fol. 3)

Mozart given as 'Wolfgang von Mozart K.K. Käpelmeister' on the occasion of the death of his daughter Anna on 16 November 1789 (A-Wstm, Am Hof, Totenbuch Tom. 1, fol. 48)

The (previously unpublished) entry concerning the 2nd class burial of Mozart's daughter Anna: "v:[on] Mozart / Rub:[rica] 4ta / 2te Class / Pfarr / am / Hofe. / 1 f 50x / Dem Tit[ulo] Herrn Wolfgang v:[on] / Mozart K:K: Kapellmeister sein / frauget.[auftes] Mädchen, am Juden= / platz bei St. Nickolai Nro 245. / an d[er] Frais von Mutterleib be= / =schaut, alt / Im Freÿdhof A:[ußer] Mazlstorf / Bezahlt p [Partheÿen] 1.20. - [Kirche] 30") on 17 November 1789 (A-Wd, Bahrleihbuch 1789, fol. 377r)

In January 1789, probably earlier than he had planned originally, Mozart moved back to the city into the house Stadt No. 245, which at that time belonged to Count Heinrich von Heißenstamm.[29] We do not know the reason for Mozart's return within the city walls, but we can estimate the immediate effect that this change of address had on his finances. The house "Zum St. Nikolaus" (today Judenplatz 4) consisted of five stories. Based on the information given in the Steuerfassion we come to the following conclusions regarding Mozart's new quarters: the former cellar (now turned into a store) was rented to a gardener; the first floor housed a hardware shop ("Herrn Straßers Eisler Gewölb") and a chamber for the janitor. Each one of the three following upper floors consisted of only one apartment with six rooms and a kitchen. The rents of these apartments were 345, 400 and 300 Gulden respectively. The fifth story of the building was divided into four separate one-room-apartments at 100, 55, 80 and 50 Gulden. There can be no doubt that in 1789 Mozart rented one of the six-room apartments, thus increasing his rental expenses at least by twenty percent.[30]

Three apartments in Stadt 245
The three apartments in Stadt No. 245, one of which Mozart rented in 1789 (A-Wsa, Steueramt, B34/1, fol. 350)

Mozart's apartment in Stadt 970
Mozart's last apartment in Stadt No. 970, the 'Kleines Kaiserhaus', rented in 1788 by David Herzel Kuh (1752-1797), again the most expensive apartment in the house (A-Wsa, Steueramt, B34/4, fol. 412)
Mozart's stable in Stadt 970
The stable in the first floor of Stadt 970 probably rented by Mozart between 1789 and 1791


Mozart's annual rents between 1787 and 1791:


Until May 1787 (Stadt 846):


May 1787 - December 1787 (Landstraße 224):


December 1787 - June 1788 (Stadt 281):


June 1788 - January 1789 (Alsergrund 135):


January 1789 - September 1790 (Stadt 245):


September 1790 - December 1791 (Stadt 970):

450 fl


200 fl


230 fl (or 250 fl)


250 fl


300 fl (or 400 fl)


>330 fl (or >420 fl including the stable)


Währingerstraße 26

The house Währingerstraße 26 today

Mozart memorial plaque

The house where Mozart had lived on the Alsergrund was torn down in 1891. Although the people involved in the destruction of the old building must have known of the house's history – after all a prominent memorial plaque with a decorative frame was put on the façade right above the  entrance – there seem to have been no efforts at all to preserve the old house on a photograph. On 26 November 1887 an anonymous author ('W') published a short feature on Mozart's Viennese lodgings in the newspaper Neue Freie Presse. This article contains the only description of the old garden wing of Alsergrund 135, only a few years before its destruction:

Vergebens haben wir in der Währingerstraße nach einem Nr. 135 gesucht. Das heutige Nr. 26 (alt 275) dieser Straße führte einst das Schild "Zu den 3 Sternen"; im Hintergrunde des Hofes steht, von kaufmännischen Zubauten verklebt und verunstaltet, ein einstöckiges Gebäude, eine Art Gartenpavillon aus dem vorigen Jahrhundert; im Nebenhause kann man noch ein Stück Garten sehen, vor dem Hause selbst einen schief gewachsenen, kümmerlichen Baumkrüppel. [...] Haben wir uns hier im vorstädtischen Straßenlärm, unter dem Rollen und Rasseln des modernen Geschäftes eines jener Mozarthäuser zu denken, wo in ländlicher Weltflucht einige der erstaunlichsten Kunstwerke das Licht der Welt erblickten? Wahrscheinlich ist dieser Pavillon, der wie ein altes Möbelstück unter neuerem Hausrath verschwindet, das Così-fan-tutte-Haus; aber auch hier lohnte es sich der Mühe, Klarheit zu schaffen.[31]


We searched in vain for a number 135 in the Währingerstraße. Today's No. 26 (formerly 275) once bore the sign 'At the Three Stars'; in the background of the yard, garbled and overpasted by commercial annexes, there is a two story building, a kind of garden pavillon from the last century; in the adjacent house we can still see a piece of the garden, in front of the house there is a scrubby and crippled tree.[...] Here among the suburban street noise, the rattle and roll of modern business, should we imagine one of those Mozart houses, where in rural seclusion some of the most astounding works of art saw the light of the day? This pavillon which like an old piece of furniture disappears among the new household goods may well be the Così fan tutte house; it would also be worth the effort to establish clarity in that matter.

I have so far been unable to locate a picture of the old building. The legendary photographer August Stauda came too late when he took pictures of houses on this side of the Währingerstraße in 1901.[32] Only one picture related to this lost Mozart site survived in the estate of the local historian Robert Franz Müller (1864-1933). It shows a part of the garden that had once belonged to Mozart's lodgings.

Mozart's garden
A photograph of Mozart's garden (A-Wn, F56, Müller 86/1)


On the back of the photograph Müller wrote: "Remains of the garden that in 1788 belonged to Mozart's apartment (today Währingerstraße 26). There Mozart wrote the opera Così fan tutte and the three grand symphonies in G minor, C major and E flat major. He lived there from 17 June 1788 until Michaelmas 1790 [sic] struggling against abject poverty. From there he moved to the apartment in the Rauhensteingasse [sic] where he died on 5 December 1791. The sculptured stone right beside the tree is said to originate from Mozart's times. The picture was taken by Hans Saitz who had a studio there."[33]

Müller's note
Müller's note on the backside of the above photograph

What conclusion can be drawn from the archival sources related to Mozart's apartment in 1788? It seems that Mozart's main reason for moving to the outskirts of Vienna was not to reduce his costs, but to take advantage of the better living conditions in more spacious environs. Not unlike Beethoven he seems at certain times to have needed a proximity to nature to enhance his creativity. Owing to the sheer size of his apartment and the high cost of the rent on the Alsergrund, Mozart's move to this suburb in June 1788 did not lead to a real cutback of his expenses. It rather led to a (possibly unaffordable) improvement of Mozart's quality of life. The circumstances of his choice of lodgings show him as a man of the world, who in spite of being faced with a major decline in income is unable to reduce the living standards to which he has become accustomed.


The next installment of this projected series will be dedicated to yet another lost Mozart site: Joseph Leutgeb's house in Altlerchenfeld, where (contrary to a very widespread misconception) this legendary horn player never sold an ounce of cheese.

Leutgeb's house

[1] My research for this Mozart trifle was prompted by Gunther G. Bauer's article 'Mozarts hohe Licht- und Heizkosten 1781-1792', Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft für Salzburger Landeskunde, (Salzburg 2008), 147-86 (recently published in a translation on www.aproposmozart.com), where Bauer tried to shed more light on Mozart's expenses during the final ten years of his life. Unfortunately Bauer's article contains a number of errors and misunderstandings, caused by ignorance of relevant sources and an almost enviable trust in the secondary literature. Some of the eighteenth-century archival sources, on which my research is based (i.e. the Josephinische Steuerfassion and the Baukonsense of the Unterkammeramt) are already dealt with in my article 'New and Old Documents Concerning Mozart's Students Barbara Ployer and Josepha Auernhammer”, Eighteenth-Century Music, vol. 3, No. 2, September 2006 (Cambridge University Press 2006), 311-22 (based on a lecture given at Cornell University in March 2003). My first work with these pivotal sources dates back to 1999, when I did research for Dexter Edge. See Dexter Edge, Mozart's Viennese Copyists, (PhD diss., University of Southern California, 2001), 488 and 1306. The Steuerfassion as a possible source for Mozart's lodgings was already referred to in 1956. See O. E. Deutsch, 'Mozarts letztes Quartier', Österreichische Musikzeitschrift, vol. 4 (1956), 129.

[2] MBA IV, 44. Because most of the published translations of Mozart's letters are fraught with inaccuracies, I use my own. In 1786 Mozart had already rented a garden on the Landstraße where he used to play skittles and gave lessons to his pupil Freystädtler: '[...] so zu Beispiel erzählte er öfters, daß Mozart auf der Landstraße einen kleinen Garten gemiethet hatte, in welchem er sich mit einigen Freunden sehr gerne mit Kegelspiel unterhielt. Freystädter hatte seine Unterrichtsstunden meistens zur Zeit, wo Mozart mit diesem Spiele beschäftigt war, und erhielt, an einem Seitentischchen sitzend, bei solchen Gelegenheiten nur von Zeit zu Zeit einen flüchtigen Blick in seine musikalischen Ausarbeitungen oder ein kurzes belehrendes Wort.' Anton Hackel, 'Erinnerungen I. Franz Freystädter', Allgemeine Wiener Musik=Zeitung 121/1842 (8 October 1842), 489.

[3] We must keep in mind that all the cooking in eighteenth-century Vienna was done with log fires. The dry horse manure that added to the dust exposure in the summer lets us imagine the environmental situation in the city.

[4] The erroneous assumption that Mozart lived in apartment No. 7 on the first floor originated with  Walther Brauneis and Helmut Kretschmer. See Brauneis, 'Quartiere während der Wien-Aufenthalte 1762, 1767/68, 1773 und 1781, Wohnungen in Wien 1781-1791', Mozart. Bilder und Klänge. Salzburger Landesausstellung Schloß Kleßheim 1991, (Salzburg: Salzburger Landesausstellungen, 1991), 326 (henceforth Brauneis 1991), and Helmut Kretschmer, Mozarts Spuren in Wien, (Vienna: Jugend & Volk Edition, 1990), 86 (henceforth Kretschmer 1990). The relatively small apartment on the first floor of Landstraße 224 (consisting of one room, a closet [Kabinet], a Salettl [a garden pavillon] and a pantry) was used by the landlord. See A-Wsa, Steueramt, B34/9, fol. 224. Mozart would not have had enough space there to keep his billiard table and provide lodging for the domestic staff and the young Johann Nepomuk Hummel. A detailed description of Mozart's dwelling on the Landstraße will be presented in a future publication.

[5] Contrary to information given by Brauneis (Brauneis 1991, 326, obviously copied from a 1956 article by Heinz Schöny) Mozart's fellow freemason, the privy counselor Jacob Schosulan was not Mozart's landlord on the Landstraße. He bought the house No. 224 but on 10 September 1788 after Mozart had already moved to the city. A-Wsa, Grundbuch 23/10, fol. 43v.

[6] A-Wsa, Steueramt, B34/4, fol. 289. The '480 fl Hauszünß' mentioned by Leopold Mozart in his letter to his daughter on 16 February 1785 may have included the rent for a stable. MBA III, 372. Based on Deutsch's and Schöny's research Julia Moore gives an incorrect number of rooms for two of Mozart's Viennese apartments. Julia Moore, 'Mozart in the Market-Place', Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 114 (1989), 37. It's interesting to compare Mozart's rental expenses with that of other members of his circle: Count Franz Joseph Thun - apart from having the Ulfeld palace at the Minoritenplatz at his disposal - rented the entire first and second floor of Stadt 18 (today's Palais Wilczek at Herrengasse 5 - a hitherto undiscovered important Mozart site) at the amount of 1,870 fl. A-Wsa, Steueramt, B34/1, fol. 21. The  court agent Johann von Droßdik, a subscriber of Mozart's Trattnerhof concerts (whose wife was the godmother of Nancy Storaces daughter) lived on the second floor of Stadt 1109 at the Neuer Markt, where he paid 1,000 fl for five big and eight small rooms, two chambers, a kitchen, an attic, two storage vaults for wood, a stable for four horses and a garage for two carriages. Ibid., B34/5, fol. 99. The court agent Gottfried Ignaz von Ployer (Barbara Ployer's uncle and also one of Mozart's subscribers) had an office and an apartment in the house Stadt 756, where he paid 350 fl for the office plus 710 fl for eight rooms, two chambers, a pantry, a kitchen and a stable. Ibid., B34/4, fol. 122. The actor and playwright Gottlieb Stephanie the younger was able to afford a 10-room apartment at Stadt 1170 for 700 fl (ibid. B34/5, fol. 207), while the singer Valentin Adamberger (Mozart's first Belmonte) was more in Mozart's category with a 6-room apartment on the 5th floor of Stadt 1067 at 300 fl. Ibid. B34/5, fol. 29. The singer Francesco Bussani (Mozart's first Don Alfonso) could afford to pay 450 fl for seven rooms at Stadt 208 (ibid. B34/1, fol. 295), and Vincenzo Calvesi (Mozart's first Ferrando) had a 5-room apartment at 370 fl. Ibid., B34/1, fol. 187. Lorenzo Da Ponte, whose landlord was the Viennese Archbishop at Heidenschuß No. 316, needed no space for a family and contented himself with 3 rooms and a kitchen for 200 fl.  Ibid., B34/1, fol. 470. Surprisingly modest was the apartment of actor Joseph Lange and his wife Aloysia, née Weber who lived on the third floor of Stadt 884 (Grünangergasse) in three rooms, a cabinet and a kitchen for only 270 fl. Ibid. B34/4, fol. 361. Lange's frugality (in spite of the fact that his wife enjoyed an income at the opera) may have been caused by his debts which in 1794 were to amount to 4,978 fl and already in 1791 caused a distraint of half of his wife's salary. A-Whh, Kabinettsprotokolle der Kabinettskanzlei, vol. 78c, No. 721. On the other hand we have to keep in mind that all of Lange's children lived with foster parents in the house Mariahilf 51.

[7] Hof- und Staats-Schematismus der Haupt- und Residenzstadt Wien, 1788, 74 and 196. Regarding Mozart's apartment at Stadt 281 Günther Bauer writes 'Über die Größe der Wohnung ist nichts bekannt, ebenso wenig über die Höhe der Miete.' ('Nothing is known about the size of the apartment and the amount of rent.'). Günther G. Bauer, Mozart. Geld, Ruhm und Ehre, (Bad Honnef: Verlag K. H. Bock, 2009), 81. At Stadt 281 Mozart either rented apartment No. 6 on the 3rd floor (three rooms, attic and kitchen at 230 fl.) or No. 8 on the 4th (four rooms and kitchen at 250 fl.). The other apartments either were too small, or were rented by the pharmacist of the 'Mohrenapotheke' Regina Hasel. A-Wsa, Steueramt, B34/1, fol. 414-15. The house Stadt 281 'Zum Mohren' at that time belonged to the k.k. Hauptmann Joseph Maurer von Kronegg. An entry in the St. Stephen's burial register concerning the death of one of Maurer's children reads: 'Dem Tit[ulo] Herrn Joseph Maurer v: Kronegg, K:K: Hauptmann sein Frln M: Anna; untern Tuchlauben in der Mohrenapotheke N° 281'. A-Wd, Bahrleiherbuch  1783, fol. 285v. For a detailed history of the pharmacy 'Zum Mohren' see Felix Czeike, Geschichte der Wiener Apotheken. Die Apotheken im heutigen ersten Wiener Gemeindebezirk, (Forschungen und Beiträge zur Wiener Stadtgeschichte 50), ed. Helga Czeike, Sabine Nikolay, Susanne Claudine Pils (Innsbruck/Vienna/Bozen: StudienVerlag), forthcoming.

[8] The original baptismal records of St. Peter's - hitherto neglected by Mozart scholarship - show that this child was baptized at Mozart's home: 'Im Hause ge= / tauft. wider die Ver / ordnung; wegen angeblicher Schwach / heit des Kindes.' ('Baptized at home. Against the regulation; owing to alleged weakness of the child'), the parish priest Joseph Petz wrote into the register. A-Wstm, St. Peter, Taufbuch (original copy), Tom. 2, fol. 123. Deutsch's claim that the baptism took place at St. Peter's is false. MDL, 271.

[9] MBA IV, 66.

[10] Wien Museum, I.N. 19.524.

[11] The Josephinische Steuerfassion of 1787-89 consists of five series of registers: B31 (25 volumes, an inventory from 1787 of the parcels of land in topographic order regardless of the houses in the suburbs), B32 (a copy of B31), B33 Formular I (29 volumes, 'Description of the houses according to the decree of 1 September 1788 including an inventory of the houses and rented gardens, if they are taxable and if not, for what reason they must be exempt.', the tenants are only registered in case of a change), B34 Formular II (32 volumes, a register of the rent earnings in all taxable houses in Vienna), B35 Formular I from 1788/89 (31 volumes, a list of conscription numbers, the house owners and the taxabilty of the houses). In Vienna the rents had to be paid twice a year in advance: on Georgi (24 April) and Michaeli (29 September). In his play 'Kampl' Nestroy describes it very nicely: 'Michäli und ich hab' keinen Zins! [...] Muß das Jahr 365 Täg hab'n? wär's nicht genug mit 363? Hinaus mit Georgi und Michäli aus der Zeitrechnung; diese unchristlichen Tage, gehören in keinen christlichen Kalender!' ('Michaelmas and I have no rent! Must the year have 365 days, would not 363 be enough? Away from the calender with St George's Day and Michaelmas, these ungodly dates do not belong into a Christian calender!').  Johann Nestroy, Stücke, vol. 31, ed. Hugo Aust, (Vienna: Jugend und Volk, 1992), 38.

[12] A-Wsa, Steueramt, B34/27.

[13] A-Wsa, Grundbuch B29/12, fol. 151r. In 1788 the house was owned by the widow Maria Anna von Schickh (c.1721 - 2 May 1805). Schickh (widow of the court counselor Franz Wilderich von Menschengen) had married Leopold von Schickh (12 May 1705 - 20 July 1766), counselor of the Lower Austrian government and imperial seneschal on 17 June 1740 in Dornbach. A-Ws, Trauungsbuch Tom. 27, fol. 37r, and A-Wsa, Biographische Sammlung, Nachlass Fraus. On 14 July 1773 Maria Anna von Schickh bought the house from her brothers for 11,820 fl and on 27 August 1801 sold it for 19,500 fl to Jakob von Menninger (d. 10 January 1807) and his wife Barbara. A-Wsa, Grundbuch 29/34a, fol. 169r, and 29/34b, fol. 327v.

[14] Kretschmer 1990, 99.

[15] Robert Franz Müller, 'Franz Wolfgang Mozart', A-Wn, F56, Müller 37.

[16] A-Wsa, Steueramt, B34/27, fol. 218. The gross rental earnings for the house Alsergrund 135 were 1.026 fl. From this amount 10% taxes and  6 fl 33 3/4 x extra taxes for Mozart's garden had to be deducted. The net profit per annum amounted to 960 fl 50 1/4 x. No corrections of the recorded rents of Alsergrund 135 were entered in the Formular I of the Fassion. A-Wsa, Steueramt, B33/1, fol. 41. The Mozart entry was overlooked in 1991 by Walther Brauneis, who writes: 'Dies wird auch durch die alle Namen von Wohnungsmietern in sämtlichen Häusern in und vor der Stadt enthaltenden Hausbeschreibungslisten der Josephinischen Steuerfassion bestätigt, in denen Mozart zum Stichtag 24. April 1788 in keiner[!] der in Frage kommenden Wohnungen aufscheint.' ('This is confirmed by the [...] Josephinische Steuerfassion, where on the key date 24 April 1788 Mozart's name appears in none of the apartments in question.'). Brauneis 1991, 325.

[17] Dopler was a 'Türkenbechermaler' (painter of Turkish cups) in the porcelain factory in the Rossau.

[18] Kurmayer ran a pub in the house No. 135.

[19] This difficult-to-identify cleric may have been a member of the Schotten convent.

[20] Estimator of furniture and effects of the Vienna Magistrate (1734-1795).

[21] (1751-1804), daughter of the state official Johann Lorenz Reyberger, who on 3 May 1785 died at Alsergrund 135. See A-Wsa, Mag. Zivilgericht, A2, Fasz. 2-1028/1785.

[22] Daughter of a captain of the King's life guard (1715-1794).

[23] Maybe the wife of Johann Jordan Freiherr von Pöck (1734-1803).

[24] A-Wsa, Unterkammeramt, Baukonsens Fasz. 3-1942/1836. The house had four different numbers: No. 135 from 1771 until 1795, No. 242 until 1821, 275 from then on and 1105 at the time it was torn down.

[25] The overall width of the house was 11, 5 Klafter (i.e. 21,7m). The Wiener Klafter is taken as 189,4 centimeters. Bauer's statement 'This eleventh apartment of the Mozarts was in a suburban building, surely not large [...]' is a very typical misjudgment concerning the size of these quarters. In his letter to Puchberg on 27 June 1788 Mozart himself describes his apartment as being 'pleasurable, comfortable and cheap.'

[26] MDL, 285.

[27] MBA IV, 157. Did Mozart already own a carriage of his own in 1788? Did he hide this fact from Puchberg, when he wrote him that he had to rent a fiacre? From 1789 until 1791 Mozart may also have rented the stable in the first floor of the 'Kleines Kaiserhaus' Stadt 970, a detail overlooked by Angermüller. There seems to have been yet another, hitherto unknown quarter of Mozart's near Schönbrunn, where he stayed in 1791 for a certain time to write parts of his opera 'Die Zauberflöte'. Details will follow.

[28] The entry in the death register of the Vienna Magistrate reads: 'von[!] Mozart, Wohledlgebohrner[!] Herr Wolfgang von[!] Mozart, kais: königl. Kapellmeister, sein Kind Theresia, ist bei den 3 gold: Stern Nr. 135 in der Währingergasse, an der Gedärmfrais versch.[ieden] alt 1/2 Jr.' A-Wsa, TBP 89, lit. M, fol. 30r, (for unknown reasons this entry does not appear in the Wiener Zeitung). The entry in the parish register reads: 'd[en] 29 Abends 7 Uhr Wahringergasse N 135 des Hrn von[!] Mozart Wolfgang, K.K. Kapellmeister, Kind Theresia 6 Mon[at] Gedärmfrais. Ib[idem] den 30ten Idem (P. Ludovicus M. Birnbaum Coop[erator]) sep[ultat]'. Pfarre Rossau, Sterbebuch Tom. 1, fol. 108. As a matter of fact the 'von Mozart' also appears in other Mozart documents, for example in the baptismal entry of Mozart's first child Raymund Leopold. A-Wstm, Am Hof, Taufbuch Tom. 1, fol. 3; the entries related to the death of Mozart's daughter Anna on 16 November 1789. A-Wstm, Am Hof, Sterbebuch Tom. 1, fol. 48r, and A-Wd, Bahrleiherbuch 1789, fol. 377r.

[29] Bauer (see fn 1) mixes up the houses No. 244 and 245 on Judenplatz and erroneously assumes that in 1789 the Mozarts moved into the house where they had already lived in 1783. Owing to an error copied from Brauneis (who in 1991 gave two different houses with the same name) Bauer is also unaware of this house's sign 'St. Nikolaus'. Mozart's rent at Stadt 244 as presumed by Bauer ('225 bis 250 Gulden') is much too low. Bauer, Mozart. Geld, Ruhm und Ehre, 83.

[30] It is less likely that Mozart rented apartment No. 4, because in 1788 the revenue officer noted: 'Welche Wohnung der Hauseigenthümer itzt besitzt' ['This apartment is now used by the house owner']. Heißenstamm may have kept the apartment. A-Wsa, Steueramt, B34/1, fol. 350-51. Regarding Stadt 245 Helmut Kretschmer boldly presumes: 'Those quarters were very modest.' Kretschmer 1990, 104.

[31] 'Wiens Mozarthäuser', Neue Freie Presse. Morgenblatt, No. 8352, (1887), 3. The author of this article was slightly puzzled by Otto Jahn's misreading of the address given in Mozart's letter to Puchberg as 'bei den 5[sic] Sternen'.

[32] A-Wn, ST 2316F, ST 593F and ST 592F.

[33] A-Wn, F56, Müller 86/1. I'm grateful to David Black for pointing me to this photograph.


The research for this article was generously funded by the Music & Letters Trust.



Postscript (June 2013)


In his article "Mozart: In und vor der Stadt" in the journal Wiener Geschichtsblätter (2/2012) the Viennese amateur historian Walther Brauneis plagiarized parts of this article and presented a number of supposedly unknown Mozart sources that I had already published more than three years earlier. Among those sources were the documents presented above which Brauneis simply copied from the above illustrations. Because Brauneis could not cope with the fact that in 2009 I had published within two weeks what was to take him three and a half years, he staged a childish "revenge", taking advantage of the gross negligence of the Verein für Geschichte der Stadt Wien whose editor was not willing to invest ten minutes into reading my article. On the other hand, what else is to be expected from a historical society whose general secretary in 2012 distinguished herself with the inane statement: "Who is interested in Mozart anyway?" In 2013 Brauneis repeated his theft of intellectual property by republishing his article in In Signo Wolfgang Amadé Mozart, the journal of the "Mozart-Gesellschaft Zürich", whose editor did not realize the scam.


© Dr. Michael Lorenz 2009. All rights reserved. Published on 8 June 2009 (last updated 30/09/11).         Website counter              Upwards