If you are in Austria, you cannot miss visiting Salzburg and if you are in Salzburg, you cannot miss noticing the legendary figure of Mozart the 18th century musician. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg in 1756 and was a composer in the days of Viennese classicism.
Now Salzburg is a picture postcard scenic town of Austria evolved over centuries along the banks of Salzach river. The old town of Salzburg is preserved as a typical historic European town with cobbled streets and horse carriages being the way for transport. One enters the old city through the Mozart square with the Mozart statue standing tall in the centre of the square. The statue was erected in 1842 many decades after Mozart’s death. Mozart went on to write symphonies, operas, concertos, serenades and chamber music etc and became immortal along with the likes of Beethoven and Hayden.
Walking through the narrow alleys of Salzburg, one ends up at the famous Getreidegasse which is one of the oldest business streets lined with designer shops with standard wrought iron guild signs. A little down this street is Getreidegasse 9, a yellow colored four storey building, it was here Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in 1756 to a musician Leopold Mozart. The place is now owned by International Mozarteum Foundation and has been converted into a Museum displaying Mozart’s memorabilia including his child violin, concert violin, documents and portraits from his life time including an unfinished oil painting ‘Mozart at piano’.
Crossing one of the several bridges over river Salzach, one enters the other part of the town which is though less historic but equally vibrant. One cannot miss the Mozart residence in Market square. When Mozart grew up into a seventeen year old boy, the small house at Getreidegasse 9 became insufficient for a big family and the musician father was very particular that Mozart has his own space for writing and playing music. Hence in his teenage years, Mozart shifted to this relatively big house on the other side of the river where he would recieve other musicians and would compose one of the best musical arts this world would ever know.
After roaming around Mozart statue, his birth place and museum, Mozart’s domineering presence takes on you and so it was time to buy something that would remind me of Mozart for a long time.
The souvenir shop at Getreidegasse 9 displayed numerous different memorabilia and the options included ‘Mozartkugel’ chocolates, Amadeus DVDs, fridge magnets, pictures, mugs etc but my eyes got fixed on these neat tiny mechanical machines. The manager of the shop told me that these machines play different serenades and symphonies composed by Mozart, Beethoven and others.
These simple music machines are run manually to play the serenades and I literally played most of the compositions available. Realizing that the manager is looking suspicious whether I am there just to have free fun time, I selected two of the machines. One was ‘Kleine Nachtmusik’ serenade composed in 1787 by Mozart and the other was another classic ‘For Elise’ by Beethoven. These serenades when played in the silence of the night have that trance effect of taking you into eighteenth century Salzburg where people compose music, respect artists, watch operas and walk along Salzach river in the evenings.
Both of these tiny music machines are now part of my souvenirs display at home and are played at times with relish and nostalgia of bygone times.