The Mannheim Court

  • Eugene K. Wolf
Part of the Man & Music book series (MAMU)


These statements, by the eighteenth-century writer C. F. D. Schubart, the philosopher Friedrich Jacobi and the musician Leopold Mozart,1 might well be thought to describe such famous centres as Vienna, Berlin or Dresden; but in fact they all refer to the electoral court-city of Mannheim in south-western Germany. For reasons that will become obvious in the course of this chapter, Mannheim never achieved the lasting renown of a city like Vienna. For a brief period, however, it represented a kind of musical Elysium unrivalled in many respects by larger and better-known centres.


Instrumental Music Opera House Court Ritual Modern Edition Orchestral Music 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Sources for the above quotations are as follows: C. F. D. Schubart, Deutsche Chronik, i (Augsburg, 1774), i, 423;Google Scholar
  2. F. H. Jacobi, letter to C. M. Wieland of 8–11 June 1777, printed in Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi, Briefwechsel: Gesamtausgabe, 1st ser., ii: Briefwechsel 1775–1781, ed. P. Bachmaier and others (Stuttgart-Bad Cannstadt, 1983), 62;Google Scholar
  3. L. Mozart, letter of 13 Nov 1777, after the translation in The Letters of Mozart and his Family, ed. E. Anderson (London, 2/1966, 3/1985), 367.Google Scholar
  4. All translations in the present chapter are my own unless otherwise indicated. An earlier version of portions of this chapter appeared in E. K. Wolf, The Symphony at Mannheim, The Symphony 1720–1840, ed. B. S. Brook and others, C/iii (New York, 1984), pp. xiii–xx.Google Scholar
  5. 4.
    C. F. D. Schubart, Leben und Gesinnungen, i (Stuttgart, 1791), 200.Google Scholar
  6. The complete schedule of events from the Calender of 1749 is reprinted in F. Walter, ‘Die Hof- und Kirchenfeste am kurfürstlichen Hof zu Mannheim’, Mannheimer Geschichtsblätter, xiv (1913), 253–9.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Quoted in F. Walter, Geschichte des Theaters und der Musik am kurpfälzischen Hofe (Leipzig, 1898/R1968), 101.Google Scholar
  8. 12.
    L. A. Hunt, Politics, Culture, and Class in the French Revolution (Berkeley, 1984), 54;Google Scholar
  9. C. Geertz, ‘Centers, Kings, and Charisma: Reflections on the Symbolics of Power’, in Local Knowledge: Further Essays in Interpretive Anthropology (New York, 1983), 121–46 (with further citations).Google Scholar
  10. For a detailed consideration of this point as it relates to music, see A. Dunning, ‘Official Court Music: Means and Symbol of Might’, IMSCR, xiii Strasbourg 1982, 17–21. The symbolic aspects of ritual and ceremony have been the subject of numerous studies by anthropologists in recent decades, most notably Victor Turner and Geertz.Google Scholar
  11. 17.
    For a review of Verazi’s contributions see M. P. McClymonds, ‘Mattia Verazi and the Opera at Mannheim, Stuttgart, and Ludwigsburg’, Studies in Music from the University of Western Ontario, vii (1982), 99–136. Verazi was the librettist of Jommelli’s influential opera Ifigenia in Aulide (Rome, 1751), which was given at Mannheim later in 1751 and may have led to his eventual appointment there.Google Scholar
  12. 18.
    See D. Heartz, ‘The Genesis of Mozart’s Idomeneo’, MQ, lv (1969), 17–18.Google Scholar
  13. 27.
    Anon., Lustreise in die Rheingegenden, in Briefen an Fr. J. v. Pf (Frankfurt and Leipzig, 1791), 102ff (letter. of 11 May 1785)Google Scholar
  14. 28.
    See the discussion of programme content at Mannheim in E. K. Wolf, The Symphonies of Johann Stamitz (Utrecht, 1981), 15 (with further citations).Google Scholar
  15. 34.
    W. S. Newman, The Sonata in the Classic Era (Chapel Hill, 1963), 327. On pp.326–8 Newman provides a useful survey of the controversy over Riemann’s claims.Google Scholar
  16. 36.
    See E. K. Wolf, ‘On the Origins of the Mannheim Symphonic Style’, in Studies in Musicology in Honor of Otto E. Albrecht (Kassel, 1980), 197–239 (especially pp.206–16), and the slightly later treatment in Wolf, Stamitz, 231–9 and 298–302. Several articles in the volume Mannheim und Italien: zur Vorgeschichte der Mannheimer, ed. R. Wurtz (Mainz, 1984), treat the relationship between the Mannheim and Italian styles in the realm of dynamics.Google Scholar
  17. 37.
    J. F. Reichardt, Briefe eines aufmerksamen Reisenden die Musik betreffend, i (Frankfurt and Leipzig, 1774), 11n.Google Scholar
  18. 40.
    H. Riemann, ‘Der Stil und die Manieren der Mannheimer’, DTB, vii/2 (1906), pp. xv–xxv.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Granada Group and Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eugene K. Wolf

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations