When Mozart visited Sessa Aurunca and Capua

by Federico Quagliuolo

One of the greatest geniuses in the history of music between the streets of two cities in the province of Caserta. What was Mozart doing in Sessa Aurunca?

It was the11 May 1770 and a fourteen year old Wolgang Amadeus Mozart arrived in the ancient Suessae and then in Capua for rest in two stages during the trip to Naples. It was in Sessa that he also composed a part of Symphony number 11.

Mozart a Sessa Aurunca
The plaque commemorating Mozart's passage to Sessa Aurunca

How did Mozart get to Sessa Aurunca and Capua?

The transfer from Rome to Naples was one of the milestones of the first trip to Italy by the very young Mozart, who at the time was already considered a extraordinary prodigy.

His parents were enchanted by the gifts of the child, which a five years he already had one extraordinary memory, he was able to composing concert melodies and recognized in an instant the pitch of the sounds. It was for this reason that the family devoted every resource to to be able to bring out the talent of the genius from Salzburg. It can be said that all efforts they were more than paid off.

During the transfer from Rome to Naples, the family decided to stop for a night in the small Sessa Aurunca. In the eighteenth century the trips to the capital of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies ran long rough and rough roads, often even remnants of the very ancient ones Roman consular roads that after more than a millennium they continued to do their job.

During the stop in Sessa, the Austrian artist was hosted in convent of the Augustinian Fathers and in the night, in full creative moment, he managed to compose part of Symphony Number 11 K84. Not all scholars of the artist agree with this statement: some believe that the symphony was not created by him.

On the morning of May 12 left for Capua, where it was again hosted by the Augustinian Fathers, before finally arrive in Naples on 13 May.

The city of 300 masters

Italy has always been the point of departure and arrival of all artists of all times and this the Mozart family knew well: after taking the young Wolfgang on a tour of all of Northern Europe, in 1770 they began a real study trip to show the "child prodigy" in front of everyone the greatest masters of classical music, from Milan to Naples, passing through Rome. The little boy got applause everywhere.
Naples was at the time one of the capitals of music, with its schools run by the greatest masters of the century and the San Carlo theater, which was the most desired stage by every artist.
The young composer found the welcome and honors of the house made by an elder Bernardo Tanucci, who was still taking the young man's place son of Charles of Bourbon. The secretary of state had in fact received the recommendation of Cardinal Pallavicini to "treat well" the young person.

A small disappointment came fromcold reception of the king of Naples and of the city in general. At the time Ferdinand IV was just eighteen years old and he did not want to receive his "contemporary prodigy" officially (as it was denied the audience before the Pope) to Royal Palace. A few days later the very young king thought better of it and decided not to compliment him for extraordinary gifts, but it happened in a informal meeting in the Royal Palace of Portici.

Mozart a Napoli
Mozart in Naples, by Pietro Fabris

The trip to Naples lasted six weeks: he visited Caserta, Pompeii, Herculaneum, Baia and Pozzuoli and, between one trip and another between wonderful views, was brought before the top authors of the school Neapolitan, like Giovanni Paisiello.

The young Austrian composer he called Naples "city of the 300 masters“. And it is precisely for this reason that he decided to abandon it after having learned the virtuosity of the Neapolitan school: in a letter he wrote that "there was no chance for a young man to emerge"In a market saturated with masters in the midst of their artistic success.
AND a paradoxical problem in a world like the modern one, where young people do not find a working future for absence of opportunity.

-Federico Quagliuolo

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