Mozart family grand tour

TheMozart family grand tourwas a journey throughwestern Europe, undertaken byLeopold Mozart, his wifeAnna Maria, and their musically gifted childrenMaria Anna(Nannerl) andWolfgang Amadeusfrom 1763 to 1766. At the start of the tour the children were aged eleven and seven respectively. Their extraordinary skills had been demonstrated during a visit to Vienna in 1762, when they had played before the EmpressMaria Theresaat theImperial Court. Sensing the social and pecuniary opportunities that might accrue from a prolonged trip embracing the capitals and main cultural centres of Europe, Leopold obtained an extended leave of absence from his post as deputyKapellmeisterto thePrince-Archbishop of Salzburg. Throughout the subsequent tour, the childrensWunderkindstatus was confirmed as their precocious performances consistently amazed and gratified their audiences.

The family remained in Paris for two months. No concerts were given by them in this period although, according to Grimm, there were performances of Wolfgangs symphonies.66Grimm was effusive about the development of both children; Nannerl, he wrote, had the finest and most brilliant execution on the harpsichord, and: no-one but her brother can rob her of supremacy.67Of Wolfgang he quoted a Prince of Brunswick as saying that many Kapellmeisters at the peak of their art would die without knowing what the boy knew at the age of nine. If these children live, wrote Grimm, they will not remain in Salzburg. Monarchs will soon be disputing about who should have them.67

The family proceeded by riverboat toKoblenzBonnandCologne. Turning west they reachedAachen, where a performance was given beforePrincess Anna Amalia of Prussia, the sister ofFrederick the Great.14The princess tried to persuade Leopold to abandon his itinerary and go toBerlin, but Leopold resisted. She has no money, he wrote to Hagenauer, recounting that she had repaid the performance with kisses. Howbeit, neither mine host nor the postmaster are to be contented with kisses.30They proceeded into the Austrian Netherlands, an area corresponding roughly to present-dayBelgiumandLuxembourg,31where they arrived in the regional capital, Brussels, on 5 October. After several weeks waiting for the governor-general,Prince Charles of Lorraine, to summon them (His highness the prince does nothing but hunt, gobble and swill, wrote Leopold to Hagenauer),30the Mozarts gave a grand concert in the princes presence on 7 November. On the 15th the family departed for Paris.26

Homeward journey (AprilNovember 1766)

As the Mozarts began to be noticed by the Viennese aristocracy, they were often required to give several performances during a single day.11They were well rewarded for this activityat the end of their first hectic week in Vienna, Leopold was able to send home the equivalent of more than two years salary.13Their schedule was interrupted when Wolfgang fell ill withscarlet fever, and their former momentum was not regained. Nevertheless, the visit left Leopold eager to pursue further opportunities for social and financial success.13On their return to Salzburg, Wolfgang played the harpsichord and violin at a birthday concert for the Archbishop, to the evident astonishment of those present.14

The Mozart familys house, No. 9GetreidegasseSalzburg, photographed in 1998. The familys quarters were on the floor immediately above the sign Mozarts Geburtshaus.

The Netherlands (September 1765 April 1766)

On 25 October, at King Georges invitation, the children played at the celebrations marking the fourth anniversary of the kings accession.57Their next public appearance was a concert on 21 February 1765, before a moderate audiencethe date clashed with a Bach-Abel concert. Only one more London concert was given, on 13 May, but between April and June members of the public could go to the Mozarts lodgings where, for a fiveshillingfee, Wolfgang would perform his musical party pieces. During June both the young Prodigies58performed daily at the Swan and Harp Tavern inCornhill, the charge this time being a mere two shillings and sixpence. These were, as Sadie puts it, Leopolds last, desperate effort to extractguineasfrom the English public.59Hildesheimer likens this part of the tour to a travelling circus, comparing the Mozarts to a family of acrobats.17

, 1766, oil on canvas by Michel-Barthlmy Olivier (Muse National du Château,Versailles). The painting depicts Wolfgang Mozart entertaining thecourtofLouis François, Prince of Contiin the Four-Mirror Salon of thePalais du TempleLe Marais(Paris).

Early stages (JulyNovember 1763)

After arriving in The Hague, Nannerl developed a severe cold and was unable to participate in the initial concerts before the Princess during their first week, nor in a performance before the Prince a few days later.61Leopold was sufficiently confident of Nannerls recovery to announce the appearances of both prodigies at a concert to be given at the hall of the Oude Doelen on 30 September. The notice for this concert gives Wolfgangs age as eight (he was nine), but correctly gives Nannerls as fourteen. The advertisement concentrates on Wolfgang: All the overtures will be from the hands of this young composer […] Music-lovers may confront him with any music at will, and he will play it at sight.48It is not certain whether this concert in fact took placeSadie believes it may have been postponed.61If it did happen, Wolfgang appeared alone, for by this time Nannerls cold had turned intotyphoid fever. Her condition grew steadily worse, and on 21 October she was given thelast sacrament.61A visit from the royal physician turned the tide; he changed the treatment, and by the end of the month she was recovering. Then Wolfgang fell ill, and it was mid-December before he was on his feet again.61

The Mozart children were not alone as 18th-century music prodigies. Education writer Gary Spruce refers to hundreds of similar cases, and cites that ofWilliam CrotchofNorwichwho in 1778, at the age of three, was giving organ recitals.1British scholar Jane OConnor explains the 18th century fascination with prodigies as the realisation of the potential entertainment and fiscal value of an individual child who was in some way extraordinary.2Other childhood contemporaries of Mozart included the violinist and composerThomas Linley, born the same year as Wolfgang, and the organist prodigyJosef Siegmund Bachmann.34Mozart eventually became recognised among prodigies as the future standard for early success and promise.5

At times, the coffers were full; in April 1764, near the end of the Paris sojourn and after two successful concerts, Leopold announced he would shortly be depositing 2,200 florins with his bankers.76Two months later, after the initial London successes, Leopold banked a further 1,100 florins. However, in November of that year, after his illness and with uncertain earning prospects, he was worrying about the high costs of living in Londonhe informed Hagenauer that he had spent 1,870 florins in the four-month period since July.77The following summer, after little concert activity, Leopold resorted to increasingly desperate measures78to raise funds, including the childrens daily circus performances at the Swan and Harp Inn at prices described by Jane Glover as humiliating.78The insecurity

Map showing the Grand Tour, 176366. Black line shows outward journey toLondon, 176364. Red line shows homeward journey toSalzburg, 176566. Occluded line shows travel in each direction.

During Leopolds illness performances were impossible, so Wolfgang turned to composition. According to the writer and musicianJane Glover, Wolfgang was inspired to write symphonies after meeting Johann Christian Bach.46It is not clear when this meeting occurred, or when Wolfgang first heard J. C. Bachs symphonies, although he had played the older composers harpsichord works in his May 1764 royal recital.47Wolfgang soon completed hisSymphony No. 1 in E flat, K. 16, and started hisNo. 4 in D major, K. 19(which Zaslaw concludes was more likely composed, or at least completed, in The Hague).4849The D majorsymphonyhas, in Hildesheimers words, an originality of melody and modulation which goes beyond the routine methods of his [grown-up] contemporaries.50These are Wolfgangs first orchestral writings, although Zaslaw hypothesises a theoretical Symphony No. 0 from sketches in Wolfgangs musical notebook.51Three lost symphonies, identified in theKöchel catalogueof Mozarts works only by theirincipits(first few bars of music), may also have originated from the London period.34Other works composed by Wolfgang in London include several instrumentalsonatas, the jewel of which, according to Hildesheimer, is theC major sonata for piano, four hands, K. 19d.52Aset of violin sonatas, with extra flute and cello parts, was dedicated to Queen Charlotte at her request, and presented to her with an appropriate inscription in January 1765.53Wolfgang also wrote his first vocal works, themotetGod is our Refuge, K. 20, and the tenorariaVa, dal furor portata, K. 21.54At the end of September, with Leopolds recovery, the family moved back to central London, to lodgings in Thrift Street (later20 Frith Street),Soho. These lodgings were located conveniently close to several concert rooms, and to the residences of both J. C. Bach and Carl Friedrich Abel. Bach, a son ofJohann Sebastian Bach, soon became a family friend; Nannerl later recalled Bach and the eight-year-old Wolfgang playing a sonata together, taking turns to play a few bars individually, and that anyone not watching would have thought it was played by one person alone.55There is no record that the Mozarts met Abel, but Wolfgang knew his symphonies, perhaps through the medium of the annual Bach-Abel concert series, and was much influenced by them.56

The first stage of the tours itinerary took the family, via Munich andFrankfurt, toBrusselsand then on to Paris where they stayed for five months. They then departed for London, where during a stay of more than a year Wolfgang made the acquaintance of some of the leading musicians of the day, heard much music, and composed his firstsymphonies. The family then moved on to the Netherlands, where the schedule of performances was interrupted by the illnesses of both children, although Wolfgang continued to compose prolifically. The homeward phase incorporated a second stop in Paris and a trip through Switzerland, before the familys return toSalzburgin November 1766.

The party had survived major setbacks, including several prolonged illnesses which had curtailed their earning powers. Although Leopold did not reveal the full extent of the tours earnings, or its expenses,72the material benefits from the tour had evidently been considerablebut so had the costs. The librarian of St Peters Abbey, Salzburg, thought that the gifts (gewgaws) alone which they brought back were worth about 12,000 florins, but estimated the total costs of the enterprise at 20,000 florins.73The expenses were certainly high; in a letter to Hagenauer sent in September 1763, after ten weeks on the road, Leopold reported expenses to date as 1,068 florins, an amount covered by their concert earnings without, however, any significant surplus.74Leopold stated that there was nothing to be saved, because we have to travel in noble or courtly style for the preservation of our health and the reputation of my court.74He later recorded that on arrival in Paris in November 1763 that they had very little money.75

Cecil Court, the street in which the Mozart family found lodgings on arriving inLondon, April 1764 (2005 photograph).

There is no record of the children giving a formal concert at Versailles. In February 1764 they were given 50louis dor(about 550 florins) and a gold snuff-box by the royal entertainments office, presumably for entertaining the royal family privately, but no more details are available.32Further concerts were given in Paris on 10 March and on 9 April, at a private theatre in the rue et Porte St Honor.32At the same time Wolfgangs first published works were printed: two pairs of sonatas for harpsichord and violin, K. 6 and 7, and K. 8 and 9. These pairs became Opus 1 and Opus 2 in Leopolds private catalogue of his sons work.33The first pair was dedicated to the kings daughter,Madame Victoire de France, the second to theCountess of Tess. Mozart biographerStanley Sadiecomments that some aspects of these pieces are rather childish and naïve, but that nevertheless their technique is astonishingly sure, their line of thinking is clear and smooth, and their formal balance is beyond reproach.37

London (April 1764 July 1765)

The journeys beginning, on 9 July 1763, was inauspicious; on the first day a carriage wheel broke, requiring a 24-hour pause while repairs were carried out. Leopold turned this delay to advantage by taking Wolfgang to the nearby church atWasserburg, where according to Leopold the boy played on the organpedalboardas if he had been studying it for months.24In Munich, on successive evenings, the children played before Elector Maximilian III, earning from these engagements the equivalent of half of Leopolds annual salary of 354guldenorflorins.252627The next stop wasAugsburg, where Leopolds estranged mother refused to attend any of the three concerts given there.28The family then moved on toSchwetzingenand theMannheimcourt, where the childrens performance apparently amazedElector Palatine Karl Theodorand hisElectress.26

A decision was taken in Paris to go to London, perhaps on the advice of Leopolds musical and court acquaintances, who would probably have advised him that England was, in the words of the Mozart scholarNeal Zaslaw, known for the enthusiasm with which it received continental musicians and the extravagance with which it rewarded them.38On 10 April the family left forCalaisand after an unpleasant crossing toDoveron a hired boat, and some delays, arrived in London on 23 April.39

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Wolfgang prepared for the tour by perfecting himself on the violin, which he had learned to play apparently without any tuition whatsoever.21As for more general preparation, the children delighted in making music together, something they never lost.22On tour, even during the busiest travelling days they would fit in their daily practice, appearing to thrive on the hectic schedule.23Before the journey could begin, Leopold needed the consent of his employer, the prince-archbishop. Leopold had only been appointed deputy Kapellmeister in January 1763; nevertheless the archbishops consent to an extended leave of absence was granted, on the grounds that the Mozarts successes would bring glory to Salzburg, its ruler, and to God.15

The family left The Hague at the end of March, moving first toHaarlem, where the organist ofSt Bavos Churchinvited Wolfgang to play on the churchs organ, one of the largest in the country.61From there they traveled east and south, giving concerts along the way at Amsterdam andUtrechtat 21 April, before leaving the Netherlands and traveling through Brussels andValenciennes, to arrive in Paris on 10 May.61

Of seven children born to Leopold and Anna Maria Mozart, only the fourth, Maria Anna (Nannerl), born 31 July 1751, and the youngest, Wolfgang Amadeus, born 27 January 1756, survived infancy.6The children were educated at home, under Leopolds guidance, learning basic skills in reading, writing, drawing and arithmetic, together with some history and geography.7Their musical education was aided by exposure to the constant rehearsing and playing of Leopold and his fellow musicians.7When Nannerl was seven her father began to teach her to play theharpsichord, with Wolfgang looking on; according to Nannerls own account the boy immediately showed his extraordinary, God-given talent. He often spent long periods at the clavier, picking out thirds, and his pleasure showed that they sounded good to him… When he was five years old he was composing little pieces which he would play to his father who would write them down.8A family friend, the poetJohann Andreas Schachtner, recounted that at the age of four Wolfgang began to compose a recognisablepiano concerto, and was able to demonstrate a phenomenal sense of pitch.7

Both children were able to appear at the Oude Doelen on 22 January 1766, in a concert which may have included the first public performance of one of Wolfgangs London symphonies, K. 19, and possibly of a new symphony inB flat major K. 22, composed in the Netherlands.63Following this concert they spent time inAmsterdambefore returning to The Hague early in March.61The main reason for their return was the forthcoming public celebrations of the Prince of Oranges coming of age. Wolfgang had composed aquodlibet(song medley) for small orchestra and harpsichord, entitledGallimathias musicum, K. 32, which was played at a special concert to honour the Prince on 11 March.64This was one of several pieces composed for the occasion; Wolfgang also wrote arias for the Princess using words fromMetastasios librettoArtaserse(includingConservati fedele, K. 23), and keyboard variations on a Dutch songLaat ons juichen, Batavieren!K. 24. He wrote aset of keyboard and violin sonatasfor the Princess, as he had earlier for the French princess and for the Queen of Great Britain. Another symphony, K. 45a, commonly known asOld Lambachand once thought to have been written several years later, was also written in The Hague, possibly for the Princes coming-of-age concert.6165

The Netherlands (September 1765 April 1766)

On 24 December the family moved to Versailles for two weeks during which, through a court connection, they were able to attend a royal dinner, where Wolfgang was reportedly allowed to kiss the hand of the Queen.32At Versailles they also visited the famous courtesanMadame de Pompadour, then in the last months of her lifean extremely haughty woman who still ruled over everything, according to Leopold.35In Nannerls later recollections, Wolfgang was made to stand on a chair to be examined by the Madame, who would not allow him to kiss her.36

LeopoldWolfgang, andNannerl. Watercolour byCarmontelle, c. 176364.

On 18 November 1763 the Mozart family arrived in Paris, one of the most important musical centres of Europe, and also a city of great power, wealth, and intellectual activity.32Leopold hoped to be received by the court ofLouis XVat nearbyVersailles. However, a recent death in the royal family prevented any immediate invitation, so Leopold arranged other engagements.32One person who took particular note of the children was the German diplomatFriedrich Melchior von Grimm, whose journal records Wolfgangs feats in glowing terms: the most consummate Kapellmeister could not be more profound in the science of harmony and modulation.32Leopolds own assessment, written a few months later, was similarly effusive: My little girl, although only 12 years old, is one of the most skilful players in Europe and, in a word, my boy knows more in his eighth year than one would expect for a man of forty.3334

Willem V, Prince of Orange, painted byJohann Georg Ziesenis. The young prince met the Mozart family in 176566.

The material rewards of the tour, though reportedly substantial, did not transform the familys lifestyle, and Leopold continued in the Prince-Archbishops service. However, the journey enabled the children to experience to the full the cosmopolitan musical world, and gave them an outstanding education. In Wolfgangs case this would continue through further journeys in the following six years, prior to his appointment by the Prince-Archbishop as a court musician.

Early stages (JulyNovember 1763)

Leopold had been specific in letters to Hagenauer that the family would not visit theDutch Republic, but would go to Paris and then return home to Salzburg.48However, he was persuaded by an envoy of thePrincess Carolina of Orange-Nassau, sister of thePrince of Orange, to go instead toThe Hagueand to present the children to her, as official guests of the court.48After the partys landing atCalaisthere was a months delay atLille, as first Wolfgang fell sick withtonsillitis, then Leopold suffered prolonged dizziness attacks.61Early in September the family moved on toGhent, where Wolfgang played on the new organ at the Bernardines chapel; a few days later he played on the cathedral organ atAntwerp.62On 11 September the family finally reached The Hague.61

The journey through Switzerland continued, with concerts atLausanneandZurich. Since leaving the Netherlands, Wolfgang had composed little; a minor harpsichord piece,K. 33B, written for the Zrich concerts, and later some cello pieces (since lost) written for the Prince ofFrstenberg. The prince received the party on 20 October, on its arrival inDonaueschingenon the German border, for a stay of some 12 days.71Resuming their journey, they reached Munich on 8 November. They were delayed here for nearly two weeks after Wolfgang fell ill, but he was well enough to perform before the Elector, with Nannerl, on 22 November.71A few days later they set out for Salzburg, arriving at their home on theGetreidegas搜索引擎优化n 29 November 1766.71

Many of the nobility and gentry were leaving town for the summer, but Leopold reckoned that most would return for the kings birthday celebrations on 4 June, and accordingly organised a concert for the 5th.43This was deemed a success, and Leopold hastened to arrange for Wolfgang to appear at a benefit concert for a maternity hospital on 29 June, atRanelagh Pleasure Gardens. Leopold apparently saw this effort to support charitable works as a way to earn the love of this very special nation.43Wolfgang was advertised as the celebrated and astonishing Master Mozart, a Child of Seven Years of Age… (he was in fact eight), justly esteemed the most extraordinary Prodigy, and most amazing Genius, that has appeared in any Age.44On 8 July there was a private performance at theGrosvenor Squarehome of theEarl of Thanet, from which Leopold returned with an inflammation of the throat and other worrying symptoms.43Prepare your heart to hear one of the saddest events, he wrote to Hagenauer in anticipation of his own imminent demise.45He was ill for several weeks, and for the sake of his health the family moved from their Cecil Court lodgings to a house in the countryside, at180 Ebury Street, then considered part of the village ofChelsea.46

Leopold wanted to begin the tour as soon as possiblethe younger the children were, the more spectacular would be the demonstration of their gifts.15The route he intended to take included southern Germany, theAustrian Netherlands, Paris, Switzerland and possibly northern Italy. The London leg was only added after urgings during the Paris visit, and the eventual Dutch trip was an unplanned detour.1519The plan was to take in as many princely European courts as possible, as well as the great cultural capitalsLeopold was relying on his professional musical network and on his more recent social contacts to obtain invitations from the royal courts. Practical assistance came from Hagenauer, whose trading connections in the major cities would supply the Mozarts with what were effectively banking facilities.13These would enable them to obtain moneyen route, while waiting for the proceeds from their performances to accumulate.20

During the hiatus in Brussels, Wolfgang turned his attention briefly from performing to composing. On 14 October he finished anAllegrofor harpsichord, which would later be incorporated into theC major sonataK.6, which he completed in Paris.26

The only surviving music composed by Wolfgang during this Paris visit is hisKyriein F major, K. 33, his first attempt to write formal church music.68On 9 July, the family left Paris forDijon, following an invitation from thePrince of Conti. The children played in a concert there on 19 July, accompanied by a local orchestra, about whose players Leopold made disparaging comments:Trs mdiocre Un misrable italien dtestable Asini tutti Un racleur(a scratcher) Rotten.69They moved on toLyonwhere Wolfgang preluded for an hour and a quarter with the most capable master here, yielding nothing to him.70

The Mozarts left London for the continent on 24 July 1765. Before this, Leopold allowed Wolfgang to be subjected to a scientific examination, conducted by The Hon.Daines Barrington. A report, issued inPhilosophical Transactionsfor the year 1770, confirms the truth of Wolfgangs exceptional capabilities.60Practically the last act of the family in London was the gift to theBritish Museumof the manuscript copy of God is our Refuge.60

Nannerl herself was an apt pupil, no less quick to learn than her brother, and was playing the keyboard with striking virtuosity by the time she was eleven.9In that year, 1762, Leopold brought the children to Munich to play beforeMaximilian III Joseph, theElectorofBavaria.10Leopold then took the entire family to Vienna, on a trip that lasted for three months.11He had secured invitations from several noble patrons, and within three days of arriving the children were playing at the palace of Count Collalto. Among those present was the Viennese Treasury councillor and future prime ministerKarl von Zinzendorf, who noted in his diary that a little boy, said to be only five-and-a-half years old (Wolfgang was actually nearly seven) played the harpsichord.11After an appearance before the Imperial Vice-Chancellor, the Mozarts were invited to the royal court, where the EmpressMaria Theresatested Wolfgangs abilities by requiring him to play with the keyboard covered.11During this court visit Wolfgang met the Archduchess Maria Antonia, the future QueenMarie Antoinetteof France, who was two months his senior. Mozarts biographerEric Blomrecounts an anecdote of how the Archduchess helped Wolfgang when he slipped on the polished floor; she is supposed to have received a proposal of marriage in return.12

London (April 1764 July 1765)

The next extended stop was atMainz. The Elector was ill, but the Mozarts gave three concerts in the town, which brought in 200 gulden.29From Mainz the family took the market boat up the RiverMainto Frankfurt, where several public concerts were given. Among those present at the first of these was the fourteen-year-oldJohann Wolfgang von Goethe, who would many years later recall the little fellow with his wig and his sword.26An advertisement for these concerts announced that the girl would play the most difficult pieces by the greatest masters, while the boy would play a concerto on the violin and also repeat his Vienna trick of playing with the keyboard completely covered by a cloth. Finally he will improvise out of his head, not only on the fortepiano but also on the all the keys, even the most difficult, that he may be asked.26

A letter to Hagenauer dated 16 August indicated that Leopold wished to proceed toTurin, then across northern Italy toVenice, and home via theTyrol. Our own interest and love of travel should have induced us to follow our noses, he wrote, but added: …I have said I shall go [directly] home and I shall keep my word.71The family took a shorter route through Switzerland, arriving inGenevaon 20 August, where the children gave two concerts, and were received by the distinguished composerAndr-Ernest-Modeste Grtry. Many years later Grtry wrote of this encounter: I wrote for him [Wolfgang] an Allegro in E flat, difficult but without pretension; he played it, and everyone, except myself, thought it was a miracle. The child had never broken off, but following the modulations, he had substituted a number of passages for those I had written.71This claim, that Wolfgang improvised when faced with passages he could not play, appears to be the only adverse comment from all those called upon to test him.71

Homeward journey (AprilNovember 1766)

In a letter to his friend and landlord Lorenz Hagenauer (17121792), written after the tour, Leopold quotes the German diplomatFriedrich Melchior, Baron von Grimm, who after hearing the children play had said: Now for once in my life I have seen a miracle: this is the first.15Leopold believed that it was his duty to proclaim this miracle to the world, otherwise he would be the most ungrateful creature.15He was said to have describe Wolfgang as The miracle which God let be born in Salzburg.16Mozart biographerWolfgang Hildesheimerhas suggested that, at least in the case of Wolfgang, this venture was premature: Too soon, [the] father dragged [the] son all over Western Europe for years. This continual change of scene would have worn out even a robust child…17However, there is little evidence to suggest that Wolfgang was physically harmed or musically hindered by these childhood exertions; it seems that he felt equal to the challenge from the start.18

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozartin 1763, aged seven, at the start of the Grand Tour. He is wearingliverypresented by the EmpressMaria Theresathe previous winter.

Paris (November 1763 April 1764)

The Mozarts first London lodgings were above a barbers shop inCecil Court, nearSt Martin-in-the-Fields. Letters of introduction from Paris proved effective; on 27 April 1764, four days after their arrival, the children were playing beforeKing George IIIand his 19-year-old German queen,Charlotte Sophia.40A second royal engagement was fixed for 19 May,41at which Wolfgang was asked by the king to play pieces byHandelJohann Christian BachandCarl Friedrich Abel. He was allowed to accompany the queen as she sang anaria, and he later improvised on thebass partof a Handel aria from which, according to Leopold, he produced the most beautiful melody in such a manner that everyone was astonished.4042

Mozart family grand tour