Sep 26, 2020

Upcoming Posts

  • The Chess Master Karl Hamppe: a short Biography
  • About Arthur Kaufmann 
  • At the Grave of Adolf Schwarz
  • A Concert Report in the Diary of Carl Ludwig Costenoble
  • The Death of Chess Master Julius Perlis
  • The Will of Carl Ferdinand Pohl 
  • The Original Will of Natalie Bauer-Lechner
  • The Marriage Documents of George Szell
  • A Donizetti Discovery
  • The Rediscovery of Carl Czerny's original Will
  • The Cellist Wenzel Himmelbauer and his Genealogical Background
  • Two Seals of Joseph Haydn
  • An unknown Letter by Aloisia Lange 
  • The Seal of Emanuel Schikaneder

This list is not complete. For obvious reasons some topics of research cannot be revealed in advance.

Updated: 2 September 2020

Some readers have expressed concern regarding the decrease of the frequency of my posts during the last two years. As I explained in June 2015, my research is very time-consuming and I'm not getting paid for my writing on this blog. If readers are not willing to support my work with donations, this blog will have to be discontinued. I would also like to state that questions and inquiries submitted via e-mail cost time to be answered. And since time is not free, requests can only be answered if they come with a donation.

Owing to several copyright infringements, I call attention to the fact that all digital copies of historical documents on this blog  (unless otherwise indicated) are first publications. The unauthorized use of these files, whose creation is based on a great amount of personal work, represents a violation of copyright. While most archival documents are in public domain, their digital copies are not.

Sep 8, 2020

The Mozarts' Viennese Lodgings in 1762 and the House Zum rothen Säbel

The article with the above title, which I co-authored with Dexter Edge, has just been published online in the journal "Eighteenth-Century Music".


It is generally believed that when the Mozart family arrived in Vienna on 6 October 1762 they initially may have spent a night or two in the inn 'Zum weißen Ochsen' on Fleischmarkt, then moved for the remainder of their stay to lodgings on Tiefer Graben, either in a house belonging to Johann Heinrich Ditscher (Otto Erich Deutsch, 1961) or one belonging to Gottlieb Friedrich Fischer (Walther Brauneis, 1991). All modern Mozart biographies transmit either Deutsch's claim or Brauneis's, and many continue to state that the Mozarts stayed at 'Zum weißen Ochsen'. We have been able to show that none of these claims has any merit, and no primary evidence supports them. The notion that the Mozarts stayed at 'Zum weißen Ochsen' can be traced back to an article published in 1860, where it is asserted without evidence; the idea was then popularized in a children’s story about Wolfgang. The claim that the Mozarts lodged on Tiefer Graben is based on a fanciful interpretation of a mistranscribed street name in Schiedermair's 1914 edition of Leopold Mozart's letter of 19 October 1762. Leopold actually wrote that the family lodged in 'Fierberggaßl'. We argue that this refers to the still-existing Färbergasse, and that the Mozarts may have stayed in a house on that street (today the site of Färbergasse 3), with a long narrow wing fitting Leopold's description of their cramped quarters. We present other new details about this episode in Wolfgang's early life, including the identity of a customs official to whom he played a minuet on the violin, and the literary source of Leopold’s remark that their lodgings were '1000 Schritt lang und 1. Schritt breit'. We also discuss the history of the house name ‘Zum rothen Säbel’, which is used incorrectly in the Mozart literature; at the time of the Mozarts' visit in 1762, it referred to the house on Färbergasse in which – we argue – they actually stayed.

The article can be accessed on the journal's website.

A plan of the house Zum Rothen Säbel from 1802 showing its long wing that is (as Leopold Mozart put it) "one thousand paces long and one pace wide" (A-Wsa, Unterkammeramt, alte Baukonsense 5618/1802).

© Dr. Michael Lorenz 2020. All rights reserved.

Jul 1, 2020

To whom it may concern

In the course of almost eight years I published 93 "posts" on this blog. The time and work I invested into these publications, which are based on top quality original research, equal an investment of about 100,000 Euros (112,500 USD). Because I lack the time and means to further pursue this rather expensive hobby, I cordially invite everybody who is interested in the continuation of this enterprise – which is not a blog, but a scholarly journal –  to make a donation to keep this blog alive. Any amount, be it ever so small, will be gratefully accepted.
Dr. Michael Lorenz
IBAN: AT18 1200 0007 9903 1141

"Meine Geduld setzt den Hut auf, und ich seh's' völlig nach'n Stock greifen, mir scheint, sie geht aus." (Johann Nestroy: Der Unbedeutende)

May 17, 2020

Unknown Stadler Documents (Part 1)

Harald Strebel's book about the legendary clarinetist brothers Anton and Johann Stadler, which, after a very long delay, was published in 2016 by the Hollitzer Wissenschaftsverlag, is one of those works that defy any useful review. Because of its total volume of about 1400 pages, and its numerous and extensive thematic digressions (the author obviously wanted to include every bit of his life's Mozart research), the number of mistakes in this book that any serious review would have to address, would amount to a seperate small book. This kind of procedure – albeit beneficial for interested readers – would yield no reviewer any merit. The damage that the shortcomings of Strebel's book may cause is lessened, however, by the fact that its readership will be very  small indeed. And even if somebody should be willing to dive into two bulky tomes, owing to their completely unsystematic and repetitive contentual structure, he will always have a hard time finding the information he is looking for.

Volume 1 of Harald Strebel's book about Anton Stadler. The silhouette on the cover is a well-known forgery by Josef Kuderna (1886–1952) whose authorship is proved by the inscription below the silhouette in Kuderna's typical fake-historicizing handwriting. Tme and again the Hollitzer Wissenschaftsverlag has shown itself to be so short of material that it will publish almost anything and without any serious proofreading process.

Unfortunately Strebel lacks all necessary expertise related to eighteenth-century handwritten sources, an expertise that can only be acquired through decades of archival research. This lack of experience causes a gross ignorance of the historical vocabulary which is indispensible for the understanding and transcription of archival sources. Unhelpful in dealing with these documents, is Strebel's mercilessly Swiss renunciation of the German letter ß, and his complete ignorance of Latin which leads to a huge number of grammatically wrong transcriptions, such as "quodam decem anni", "a Dominus", "et suae Barbara legitima filiae", "auliae", "ejus loci" (instead of "ejus loco"), "pro tempore" (instead of "pleno titulo"), and "Expeditium" (instead of "expeditum") (Strebel 2016/2, 38, 41, 264, 754). Many of Strebel's flawed transcriptions are extremely entertaining, but there is no use in listing them at this point. This is the author who in 2010 wrote the following in an e-mail: "It is downright depressing how carelessly certain authors deal with the sources". While going through Strebel's hundreds of transcriptions of Stadler documents, I have not yet found a single one that is free of errors. It is not the first time that one is wondering why an author was unable to at least seek the assistance of an expert who would have guided him to unknown sources and cleared his book from a plethora of errors and mistranscriptions. Already in 2006, and again in August of 2010, I offered Strebel my help with his research. But after I had given him a lot of genealogical data and sent him 23 pictures of unknown Stadler sources, at some point his jealous secretiveness and unfounded fear of being exploited got the better of him and he cut off our correspondence. This of course could not keep him from shamelessly using some of my photographs in his book – for example the one of Maria Anna Stadler's 1743 baptismal entry, (Strebel 2016/2, 41) – without giving me credit. Not surprisingly, he also mistranscribed the content of the pictures that he used without permission.

The photograph, taken on 9 September 2010, of the entry concerning the previously unknown baptism of Anton Stadler's sister Maria Anna Stadler on 17 August 1743 in the Vienna court chapel (Hofburg, Tom. BB, 156) which, on 10 September 2010, I sent to Harald Strebel.

The same photograph as it appears in Strebel's book (Strebel 2016/2, 41), published without my permisson and without giving me credit. The theft of the picture is proved by the identical increase of blurring of the script at the very left. The date of this child's death given in the caption is false, because it already died before 1771. Not only had Strebel the impertinence to present this as a "first publication", he also gravely botched the transcription and translation of this Latin entry, turning, for example, the name of the priest Joseph Teilsamb into "Trilsamb".

To avoid a possible misunderstanding: I do not think that every Stadler document is worth publishing. Many of the documents are redundant and of minor relevance. But since Harald Strebel considered every stroke of a pen related to the Stadler families earth-shatteringly relevant, I decided to take this approach ad absurdum in order to show that even the most ambitious claim to completeness in a collection of sources is bound to fail.

Johann Stadler's birth in Bruck an der Leitha

In 1971, in the Mitteilungen der Internationalen Stiftung Mozarteum, the German Kapellmeister Karl Maria Pisarowitz (1901–1979) published a pioneering article about the Stadler brothers. Applying his custom method of research by mail (which is pretty much also Strebel's favorite way of doing research), Pisarowitz was able to examine the entry in the records of Vienna's Piarist Church concerning Anton Stadler's wedding on 12 October 1780. This source, which gives the groom's place of birth as "Pruck an d Leyta", allowed Pisarowitz to locate Anton Stadler's 1753 baptismal entry in the church records of Bruck an der Leitha.

The left half of the entry concerning Anton Stadler's wedding on 12 October 1780 (Maria Treu, Tom. 3, fol. 82). Strebel's transcription of this entry (Strebel 2016/2, 44) contains several mistakes of which only the funniest shall be named. The letters "d. E. W.", which appear twice after the names of the groom's and the bride's mothers, mean "dessen Ehe Wirthin". Strebel nonsensically resolves them as "des Erblichenen Witwe". In his book Strebel plagiarized countless pieces of information from my 2011 article in Acta Mozartiana, including the sources related to Sophia Stadler's midwife exams and her delivery office in Mariahilf.

In his 1971 article Pisarowitz stated that "after 1745, for unknown reasons, the Stadler family moved to Bruck an der Leitha where on 28 June 1753 Anton Paul Stadler was born" (Pisarowitz 1971, 30). In 2011, in my article "Mozart's Patenkind", I was able to show that the Stadlers must have moved to Bruck already in 1749, because another son, Anton Joseph, was born there on 14 December 1749. This child already died on 23 December 1749 (Lorenz 2011, 62). Concerning Joseph Stadler's possible motives for relocating his family to the country before December 1749, I described  the situation as quite obvious: Joseph Stadler certainly could not expect to make a better living as a shoemaker in the province. Instead, it is clear that he changed his profession and entered the service of Count Ernst Guido von Harrach as a musician (Lorenz 2011, 62).

That for decades it was thought that Johann Stadler was born in Vienna, had three reasons: 1) Pisarowitz mistook the entry concerning the publications of the banns in May 1783 in the records of the groom's home parish (Schotten 35, fol. 191r) for Johann Stadler's actual marriage entry. Not only is Johann Stadler erroneously addressed in this entry as "Franz Stadler" (which made Pisarowitz claim that Johann "was just called Franz"), his place of birth is also not given. 2) The entry in the minutes of the Tonkünstler-Sozietät concerning Johann Stadler's acceptance into the society on 16 May 1783 only gives his date, but not his place of birth.

The entry in the minutes of the Tonkünstler-Sozietät concerning Johann Stadler's request, presented on 7 May 1783, to join the society (A-Wsa, Private Institutionen, Haydn-Verein, A2/1). This document was written by Karl Friberth. On 30 November 1798 Johann Stadler was expelled from the society for not paying his membership fees.

3) The entry concerning Johann Stadler's death on 2 May 1804 in the municipal death register gives the deceased as "von Wienn gebürtig" ("born in Vienna"), an error that was obviously caused by the fact that Johann Stadler died in Vienna's General Hospital where nobody knew anything about his origin and background.

The entry in the municipal Totenbeschauprotokoll concerning Johann Stadler's death on 2 May 1804 (A-Wsa, Totenbeschreibamt 117/II, S, fol. 39v)

In 2011, I was the first to publish the fact that Johann Nepomuk Stadler was not born in Vienna, but, like his more prominent brother Anton, in the town of Bruck an der Leitha (Lorenz 2011, 62). Since the quality of the picture of Johann Stadler's baptismal entry in Strebel's book – like many other of his illustrations – is very poor, I take the opportunity to publish a high-quality picture of this document.

The entry concerning Johann Nepomuk Stadler's baptism (son of "Josephus Städler Incola") on 6 May 1755 in the parish church of Bruck an der Leitha (Bruck an der Leitha, Tom. F, Taufen fol. 101r). The next baptism was Anna Christina Platzer's on 17 May 1755 ("Erste Pfing[s]ttauf"), a daughter of Johann Stadler's godfather Anton Platzer.

In his book Strebel ignores the fact that I published Johann Stadler's place of birth five years before he did, and, to bolster his fictitious priority, he claims in a footnote that "he already found Johann Stadler's baptismal entry in 2008" (Strebel 2016/1, 31). This, however, is utterly irrelevant because it took Strebel another eight years to publish this information.

The godparents of five (or more) of Joseph Stadler's children, who were born in Bruck an der Leitha, were the local merchant Anton Platzer and his wife Barbara. Strebel completely disregards these two individuals of whom the first, after all, became Anton Stadler's name giver. Anton Platzer and Barbara Gruber got married on 29 February 1740 in Bruck an der Leitha.

The entry concerning Anton Platzer's and Barbara Gruber's wedding on 29 February 1740 (Bruck an der Leitha, Tom. 6, fol. 110v)

In 1773 Anton Platzer's business was declared bankrupt which on 24 July 1773 was announced in the Wiener Zeitung. The legal procedures concerning this bankruptcy lasted until September 1774 (Wiener Zeitung, 7 September 1774). Anton Platzer died on 18 April 1783, at the age of seventy, in Bruck an der Leitha.

The entry concerning Anton Platzer's death on 18 April 1783 (Bruck an der Leitha, Tom. 9, fol. 28)

In the genealogical chapter of his book Strebel claims that between 1743 and 1763 Joseph and Sophia Stadler had ten children (Strebel 2016/2, 41-44). This number is false. Because Strebel was unable to locate Joseph Stadler's 1771 probate file and only conducted very cursory research in the Bruck an der Leitha church records, he overlooked the existence of two more Stadler children, namely Joseph and Johann Georg Stadler, who seem to have been twins, and were born in 1747 in a still unknown place where their parents seem to have lived between 1745 and 1749. The first of these two children, Joseph Stadler, died in Bruck an der Leitha on 14 March 1752 at the age of five years (Bruck an der Leitha 6, fol. 189r). The second one, Johann Georg Stadler, joined the military which, eventually, he was only able to quit with the financial support of his mother. He was one of Joseph Stadler's four sons (Leopold, Johann Georg, Anton, and Johann) who were still alive at the time of their father's death in 1771. The still unknown Sperrs-Relation of Joseph Stadler will be published in a future installment of this Stadler Documents series.

Johann Stadler's unknown first marriage entry

There are two known sources related to Johann Stadler's wedding in 1783: first, the entry concerning the three publications of the banns on May 11th, 18th, and 25th, 1783, in which the groom is falsely addressed as "Franz Stadler" (Schotten, Tom. 35, fol. 191r), and second, the entry concerning the actual wedding which took place on June 1st, 1783 in the old church of St. Joseph ob der Laimgrube (St. Josef ob der Laimgrube, Tom. 1, 5). These two documents – albeit with flawed transcriptions, such as "bevormundt" instead of "befreundt" – are published in Strebel's book (Strebel 2016/2, 55f.). There is, however, a third source related to this wedding which so far has remained unknown. It is the entry in the earliest marriage register of the Laimgrube parish, the so-called Einschreibbuch der Brautleute von der Pfarrei zum H. Joseph ob der Laimgrube für das Jahr 1783 vom 20ten April bis zum letzten Xber 783.

An unknown source such as this, which has never been digitized, cannot be discovered by corresponding with Viennese parishes via e-mail. The text in this register is the very first version of Johann Stadler's marriage entry in the records of this parish.

The entry in the earliest marriage register of St. Joseph ob der Laimgrube concerning Johann Stadler's wedding (Einschreibbuch der Brautleute von der Pfarrei zum H. Joseph ob der Laimgrube für das Jahr 1783 vom 20ten April bis zum letzten Xber 783, 18).

Der Ehr Wohl edle H. Johan Stadler K.K. Kamer=
musikus, leedig, gebürtig von Bruck an der
Leutha, des Joseph Stadler eines Schuma=
chers lebend sel[ig] und der Sophia ux. einer gebor=
nen Altmanin conditio non constat,
Tochter[sic], ehliger Sohn.

|                      |                  |
11. Maÿ      18 Maÿ         25 Maÿ
Test[imonium] denunc[iationis]
a Scottis in urbe

Großjährig♀ Testim[onium] bapt[ismi] ferat kath.
kein Soldat, wohnhaft in der Stadt
N 1248. über 2 Jahre. laut Zeugniß

♀ 6ta Maji An[no]
1755 baptisatus

Mit der tug[endsamen] Jungf[er] Elisabeth Grittnerin,
gebürtig hier, des Franz Grittner bürgl: Weißger=
bers und der Maria Ana ux[oris] einer ge=
bornen Schecksin einer Schmidstochter, seligg.
ehlige Tochter. Minoren. Sed con=
sensit præs[ens] pater, kathol. nicht befreündt.
wohnhaft an der Wien Nro 42.

Testis. Sponsæ Johann Trost Stadt=
       richter in der Neustadt.
Sponsi Joh. Kilian Strack K. Kamer=
       diener wohnhaft im der+ +Stadt Nro 585.

Copulati sunt
1ma Junij a me
parocho vespere
obteata[sic] dispens[ati]one Rev[erendissimi] Con=
[Page No.] 18
The well noble Mr. Johann Stadler, I. & R. chamber musician, unmarried, a native of Bruck an der Leitha, legitimate son of Joseph Stadler, a deceased shoemaker, and his wife Sophia, née Altmann whose condition is unknown, daughter[sic].

[The three publications of the banns took place on]
May 11th, 18 May 18th, and May 25th
[The groom] produced a certificate of proclamation from the Schotten parish in the City.

[The groom is] of legal age.♀ He brought a birth certificate, Catholic
not a soldier, he has been living in the City at No. 1248 for more than 2 years, according to the certificate

♀He was baptised on May 6th, 1755.

With the virtuous maiden Elisabeth Grittner, born here, legitimate daughter of Franz Grittner, a civil tawer, and his wife Maria Anna, née Schecks, already deceased. Underage, but the father is present and consents, Catholic, not related to the groom by blood or marriage. Residing at Laimgrube No. 42.

Witness of the bride: Johann Trost, municipal judge in Wiener Neustadt.
Witness of the groom: Johann Kilian Strack, Imperial chamberlain residing in the City at No. 585.

They were united on June 1st, by me, the parish priest, in the evening after producing a dispense from the most venerable consistory.

The next installment of this Stadler Documents series will deal with Johann Stadler's grandchildren and great-grandchildren whose existence – you guessed it – remained completely unknown to Mr. Strebel.

Lorenz, Michael. 2011. "Mozarts Patenkind". Acta Mozartiana, 58, vol. 1, (June 2011), 57-70.
Pisarowitz, Karl Maria. 1971. „»Müaßt ma nix in übel aufnehma …« Beitragsversuche zu einer Gebrüder-Stadler-Biographie“. Mitteilungen der Internationalen Stiftung Mozarteum 29 (1971), Heft 1-2, 29-33.
Strebel, Harald. 2016. Anton Stadler: Wirken und Lebensumfeld des "Mozart-Klarinettisten". Fakten, Daten und Hypothesen zu seiner Biographie. Vienna: Hollitzer Wissenschaftsverlag.

© Dr. Michael Lorenz 2020. All rights reserved.

Apr 30, 2020

An Unknown Photograph of Franz Grillparzer

The file "Fotografien, Dokumente und Schriftstücke aus dem Nachlass von Guido Peters bzw. Paula Artner" in the music collection of the Austrian National Library, which came from the family of the Austrian composer Guido Peters, contains the following, previously unknown photograph of Franz Grillparzer.

Samuel Volkmann, portrait of Franz Grillparzer (A-Wn, Musiksammlung, Misc.31/IV). For esthetic reasons the ugly ball pen note on the photograph has been removed.

This photograph in the carte de visite format, which was made during the 1860s, either in Graz or in  Marburg, by the Austrian photographer Samuel Volkmann, is the only existing close-up bust portrait of Franz Grillparzer. The back of the photograph shows the ARTIS AMICA NOSTRAE logo of Samuel Volkmann who, at that time, ran Photographie parisienne studios in Graz and Marburg.

The back side of the above photograph with Samuel Volkmann's business stamp. The handwriting is that of Friederike Artner, the last private owner of the photograph.

None of the known photographs of Grillparzer from the same era, taken by Johann Bauer and Ludwig Angerer in Vienna, can compare in detail and true-to-life effect with Volkmann's slightly angled high-resolution portrait. The Viennese studio photographers, whose customers mostly belonged to the social upper class, used to put their models into a discreet distance.

Johann Bauer, portrait of Grillparzer from 1861 (A-Wn, Pf 429 E2). Johann Bauer, an Austrian pioneer of photography of eminent significance, has until now not been the object of biographical research. Bauer was born on 24 November 1810 in Mondsee, son of a local watchmaker. After having worked as a schoolteacher, in 1838 he went to Vienna where he attended the Academy of Fine Arts. In 1857 he established a studio on the Mölkerbastei. His second wife Amalia (1823–1870) was a sister of Ludwig Angerer. In 1868 Bauer moved to Mondsee and later to Gmunden where he lived in the home of his daughter Louise Eberstaller. Bauer died on 3 December 1901 in Gmunden.

Ludwig Angerer, portrait of Grillparzer from 1861 (Albertina, FotoGLV2000/4815). A similar photograph from this session (A-Wn, Bildarchiv Pf 429 B10) could be the one which, on 25 August 1862, Grillparzer referred to in a letter to Wilhelm Schaefer: "You sent me your photograph and asked for mine. I didn't have a good one, or rather none at that time. Since then, one has been made. It isn't t good either, since it doesn't show the eyes, and the face only expresses the displeasure about sitting and being photographed. Nevertheless I enclose it here." The Vienna Theatermuseum holds a third photograph from this session (A-Wtm, FS_PV262434alt) which shows Grillparzer on a different chair on the right side of the table.

Only the Viennese photographer Franz Schultz (1813–1865), whose studio was located at Auerspergstraße 19, dared to portray Grillparzer from a slightly closer distance.

Portrait of Grillparzer by Franz Schultz from around 1860 (Raccolte Grafiche e Fotografiche del Castello Sforzesco. Civico Archivio Fotografico, Milano, fondo Lamberto Vitali, LV 13/95)

Schultz's photograph is inspired by Friedrich von Amerling's oil painting from 1856.

Friedrich von Amerling, Franz Grillparzer (Wien Museum, Inv. Nr. 27.496). Similar to Amerling's painting is the portrait, presumably a work of  Daniel Penther, of which the gallerists Miethke & Wawra produced a postcard (A-Wtm, FS_PV262435alt).

The history of the photograph

Research concerning the history of this photograph must deal with the following three questions.
  1. When was this photograph taken?
  2. To whom was it given by Grillparzer?
  3. How did the photograph end up in the Austrian National Library among material related to Guido Peters?

The dating of the photograph

The photograph was presumably taken in spring of 1864 in Graz, when Grillparzer was on his way to his annual spa sojourn in Römerbad in lower Styria (today Rimske Toplice in Slovenia). Although Grillparzer's regular visits to Graz already began many years earlier – Grillparzer's friend Karl von Holtei lived in Graz from 1850 to 1860 – the timespan in which the photograph was taken can be limited to 1864, because the recipient of the photograph Carl Peters was appointed professor in Graz only on 28 February 1864. Grillparzer's previous stays in Graz can be ruled out, because from 1856 to 1864 Peters was living in Pest. Grillparzer had already stayed in Römerbad in the summer of 1863, where on 16 June 1863, he had suffered a fall which resulted in a concussion that impaired his hearing for the rest of his life. The photograph in question shows the stare of a man whose senses appear to be already impaired. On 30 December 1863, Grillparzer, in a letter to Luise Schönfeld-Neumann, described his state as follows: "Deaf on one ear, I can hardly hear half with the other, my head is confused and stupid."

A pre-war view of the kurhaus of the Römerbad spa in Rimske Toplice in Slovenia. Visible in the foreground are the stairs which, on 16 June 1863, Franz Grillparzer accidentally fell down. Grillparzer suffered a cerebral concussion together with a hearing loss from which he never recovered. These stairs can be identified with the help of Grillparzer's letter of 2 June 1864. Today this area is a parking lot.

In 1864 Grillparzer for the last time took the waters in southern Styria. In 1865 he went to Teplitz, in 1866 he stayed in Hall, and in 1867 and 1869 in Baden bei Wien. On his way home in June 1864, Grillparzer had no time to make a stop in Graz. In his letter to Katharina Fröhlich of 20 June 1864, Grillparzer announced his departure from Römerbad on 25 June and his arrival in Vienna on 26 June 1864, a schedule that left no time for a stopover in Graz. Therefore the most likely scenario is that Grillparzer had the photograph already made on his way to Römerbad. Of course, any later, previously unknown stay in Graz after 1864 could have been an occasion to have the photo taken.

The sideburns that Grillparzer wears on the photograph are new to modern eyes. There is no other photo of the poet that documents this particular beard fashion which is obviously the result of a summery fashion whimsy. Grillparzer's somewhat perplexed gaze, his stare into space ("das Narrenkastel" as he would have put it), is the most moving quality of the photo. This stare is intensified by the pupils that were enhanced by the photographer's retouching. It is interesting to compare Grillparzer's facial features to those of his two uncles Ignaz and Leopold Sonnleithner.

To put Grillparzer's somehow desperate gaze into the right perspective, we must consider that, concerning his summerly health trips, he made the following written statements: "I go about my stay in the country almost like a business that you should try to shake off as soon as possible." (to Katharina Fröhlich, 15 July 1857). "To hell with all the cures, they are as bad as the diseases." (to K. F., 12 June 1858). "Otherwise everything is the same here; the food bad, the coffee I just drank, disgusting." (to K. F. from Römerbad, 11 June 1861). "How unbearable the stay here was, can hardly be described. Constant rain, cold as in wintertime." (to K. F. from Römerbad, 30 June 1862). "The hour of redemption has finally come." (to K. F., before his departure from Teplitz, 3 July 1864)."I will remember this spa trip with shivers for the next 29 years." (to K. F., after a 29-day stay in Teplitz, 3 July 1864). "Finally the end of the most horrible time I have ever experienced is approaching." (to K. F. from Hall, 9 July 1866).

The photograph shows Grillparzer dressed in a rustic vacation attire which can be described as "noble Styrian". The vest, which is obviously green, has rustic ornaments and the jacket is made of the kind of rough material that a k.k. Hofrat would only wear during a summer vacation.

A close-up view of Grillparzer's rustic attire

The original recipient

Grillparzer presumably had the photograph made as a keepsake for his friend Carl Ferdinand Peters who, as of February 1864, held a chair for mineralogy and geology at the University of Graz. The fact that the photograph of Grillparzer's came to the ONB from the estate of Guido Peters's half-sister Selma Artner, née Peters (1847–1913), suggests that Grillparzer had the photo taken in Graz to present it to Guido Peters's father.

The physician, geologist, and mineralogist Dr. Carl Ferdinand Peters (1825–1881), father of the composer Guido Peters (photograph from 1856, published in Hubmann, 2001). Peters was a grandnephew of Beethoven's friend Karl Peters 1782–1849) and a nephew of the mineralogist August Emanuel von Reuss. For a later photograph of Carl Ferdinand Peters see the Peters entry in the catalog of the Vienna University Archive.

Grillparzer had been acquainted with Carl Ferdinand Peters since 1848, when they first met in Vienna. At that time, Carl Peters was in love with Maria Anna Kurzrock (b. 28 April 1828) whose mother Anna Kurzrock, née Schlauka (1801–1877), on 15 April 1834, appears in Grillparzer's diary under the pseudonym "Jessika". During the 1820s, Johann Baptist Kurzrock (1792–1862) and his wife were members of the closer circle of  friends around Franz Schubert. Kurzrock, who at that time was employed with the I. & R. court chamber, had made Schubert's acquaintance through his close friends Franz and Fritz von Hartmann whom he had known since his employment in the early 1820s in Salzburg. The godparents of Kurzrock's children were three of Schubert's best friends: Karl Enderes, Anton Ottenwalt, and Franz Derffel (Lorenz 2001, 53). In 1850, Carl Peters's former flame Marie Kurzrock, the "gentle Marie with her forget-me-not blue eyes" (as Eduard von Bauernfeld described her), married Peters's uncle, the military officer Hermann Peters von Pitersen (1812–1897).

The provenance of the photograph

To find out more about the history of photograph and how it came into the Austrian National Library, one needs to look more closely at the genealogy of the Peters and Artner families. Grillparzer's friend Carl Ferdinand Peters, the first owner of the photograph, was married twice. On 15 May 1856, in the Graz Cathedral, he married Marianna von Blumfeld (Graz, Dom 1058, fol. 753). At the time of his wedding, Peters was professor of mineralogy at the University of Budapest, a position that he held until 1861, when he joined the faculty of the University of Vienna. With his first wife Carl Ferdinand Peters had the following five children: Selma (b. 1 Jun 1857, d. 20 Mar 1913), Otto (b. 5 Jul 1858, d. 11 Nov 1908), Hubert (b. 23 Sep 1859, d. 24 Oct 1934), Martha (b. 7 Nov 1860, d. after 1913), and Theodor (b. 18 Jun 1863, d. 26 Nov 1909). Marianna Peters, née von Blumfeld died on 21 November 1864 in Graz at the age of 32. On 5 November 1865, in Graz, Carl Ferdinand Peters married his first wife's younger sister Leopoldine von Blumfeld (1839–1892) (Graz, Dom 1073, fol. 84). With her he had two more children: Guido (b. 29 Nov 1866, d. 11 Jan 1937), and Erwin (b. 16 Jul 1868, d. 23 Jul 1868).

A picture of the painter Otto Peters and his half-brother Guido taken in June 1907 in the Atelier Veritas in Munich (A-Wn, Musiksammlung, Misc.31/IV). Otto Peters's last main residence was Glonn near Munich. In November 1908, during a stay in Vienna, he committed suicide by hanging in the apartment of his brother, the gynecologist Dr. Hubert Peters.

Carl Ferdinand Peters died on 7 November 1881 in Graz. The fact that the collection named "Dokumente aus dem Nachlass von Guido Peters" contains three different pictures of his daughter Selma Peters and her husband, proves that it was her who in 1881 inherited the Grillparzer photograph. Selma Peters is the key person for further tracking the provenance of the photo.

A photograph of Selma Peters taken in 1898 by James Russell and Sons in London (A-Wn, Musiksammlung, Misc.31/IV)

On 28 October 1908, in St. Stephen's in Vienna, Selma Peters married Dr. Franz Xaver Artner (b. 10 Oct 1880), professor of Latin and history at Vienna's Theresian Academy, who was 23 years her junior (A-Wd, Tom. 96, fol. 393). In the marriage records Selma Peters is described as "lady companion of Countess von Stubenberg" (most likely Mathilde von Stubenberg, nèe Baroness Tinti).

Franz Xaver Artner (1880–1948), Selma Peters's husband and Guido Peters's brother-in-law (A-Wn, Musiksammlung, Misc.31/IV). The note "Schw[a]ger des Guido Peters u.s.w." was written by Franz Artner's granddaughter Friederike Artner.

Selma Artner, who had obviously inherited her mother's heart condition, died on 20 March 1913 in Vienna (St. Elisabeth 26, fol. 40). With the exception of her mother's wedding jewelry (which she bequeathed to her niece Elisabeth Peters) her husband Franz Artner inherited all her belongings.

Selma Artner, née Peters (A-Wn, Musiksammlung, Misc.31/IV)

Two pages from Selma Artner's 1908 marriage contract which was valid as her will (A-Wsa, BG V, 1A, 121/13)

Franz Artner's second wife was Wilhelmine von Dabrowska (b. 17 Nov 1890, d. 2 Nov 1972) whom he married on 25 June 1916 in Raach am Hochgebirge in Lower Austria (Raach, Tom 4, fol. 27). At the time of his wedding Artner was a volunteer cadet with the I. & R. artillery regiment No. 7 and his bride was working as a voluntary Red Cross nurse in Vienna. Interestingly enough, during the Nazi era, Wilhelmine Artner was to become one of Austria's more prominent resistance fighters. From 1938 until 1943 she was incarcerated in Ravensbrück, and in 1944 was arrested a second time (Korotin 2016, 140). In 1946 and 1949 she played a major role as witness in the first trial against Hermine Braunsteiner (Mailänder Koslov 2005, 145ff.).

The photos from Wilhelmine Artner's Gestapo file (DÖW, database of Gestapo victims)

Franz and Wilhelmine Artner had a son, Friedrich, who was born on 23 September 1917 in Vienna. Their other two children, Elisabeth and Dolores, died in early infancy in 1919 and 1921 (St. Elisabeth 32, fol. 50, and 34, fol. 29). Wilhelmine Artner's years of imprisonment seem to have led to an estrangement of the couple, because at the time of Franz Artner's death on 30 January 1948 (A-Wsa, BG I, 12A, 92/48), Artner shared his apartment at Viktorgasse 20 with his housekeeper Magdalena Krainer, while his wife was living with their son at Reichsbrückenstraße 14 (today Lassallestraße 14). Because Franz Artner had left no will, three quarters of his estate went to his son Dr. Friedrich Artner, and one quarter to his widow. The legal procedures only came to a close after the Artner family had reached a settlement with the housekeeper who had made all sorts of claims to her deceased employer's movables.

A page from Franz Artner's probate file concerning the distribution of his estate (A-Wsa, BG I, 12A, 92/48)

On 2 February 1945 (St. Elisabeth, Tom. 31, fol. 70), Dr. Friedrich Artner, a physician, had married the lawyer Dr. Paula Karner (1920–2013). The couple had one child, Friederike Artner, born 2 November 1945, who is now living in a retirement home in Lower Austria. It was Friederike Artner who, probably after the death of her mother in 2013, gave the documents related to the Peters and Artner families to the Austrian National Library. The current civil status law and the data protection makes further research into the Artner family impossible. Fortunatlely the headstone of the Artner family grave in Vienna's Central Cemetery provides several genealogical data that are missing in the online database of the Friedhöfe Wien GmbH. The inscription not only provides the previously unknown date of death of Wilhelmine Artner (who according to the database seems to have been exhumed from another cemetery in 2008), but also the date of birth of the last member of the family, Friedrich Artner's daughter Friederike. It is notable that at the bottom of the stone the family members are commemorated who were buried in now lost graves, with Selma Peters among them. The von Fürstenrecht family members were relatives of Wilhelmine Artner whose mother had been a Baroness von Fürstenrecht. Louise Steciuk was Wilhelmine Artner's aunt.

The headstone of the Artner family grave in Vienna's Zentralfriedhof (84/2/11) which is a source for several previously unknown biographical dates.

Beside the photo of Grillparzer, the Peters collection in the ONB contains two more unique photographic items: 1) An unknown portrait of the poet Marie von Ebner Eschenbach, taken in Stefanie Ludwig's Atelier Veritas in Munich, and 2) a postcard of what must be the earliest surviving photograph of the Austrian poet Robert Hamerling. This is the portrait that served as model for the engraving which in 1878 was distributed by the German publisher Spamer.

The photographer Samuel Volkmann

Very little is known about Samuel Volkmann so far. A quick Google search leads to the following biographical note (based on Starl 2005, 493) on a blog about photography history:
Around 1860 Samuel Volkmann arrives in Graz  to open a photographic studio. It operates under the name »Photographie Parisienne«, and photographers such as Louis Fragney, Charles Corand and Anna Volkmann work for S. Volkmann. The first address is Graz, Mur-Quai 444, or Strassoldo Quai 444, or Neuthorgasse 444, then Graz, Fischmarkt 3, finally Graz, Hafnerplatz 4. Branches are kept in Marburg and Leoben.
It is time to shed some light on the life of a still underrated pioneer of Austrian photography. Samuel Ignaz Volkmann was born on 8 May 1828 in the Viennese suburb of Gumpendorf, son of the master weaver Ignaz Volkmann and his wife Anna, née Bauer (Gumpendorf 19, fol. 289). Ignaz Volkmann (1798–1854), who had married on 8 May 1825 (St. Josef zu Margareten, Tom. 7, fol. 18), was the eldest of three brothers, Ignaz, Franz and Peter Volkmann, who, between 1824 and 1837, came to Vienna from the village of Mährisch Rothwasser (today Červená Voda). Samuel Volkmann was the first of his parents' twelve children who were born between 1828 and 1846. His place of birth was the house Hirschengasse 305 (last No. 382, today Hirschengasse 24). Volkmann did not follow the artisanal path that was prevalent in his family, but became a bookkeeper in the trading firm Höslin & Tischler. On 14 May 1854, in the Gumpendorf parish church (Gumpendorf, Tom. 23, fol. 86), he married his cousin Anna Bauer (b. 23 Jul 1835), the daughter of a weaver from Gumpendorf.

Samuel Volkmann's and Anna Bauer's application to the archepiscopal ordinariate to be permitted to have their wedding take place in the evening of 14 May 1854 (A-Wsa, Serie, 95/1854)

Because the couple had a common grandfather (the master weaver Paul Bauer), Volkmann needed an archepiscopal dispensation to be able to get married.

Samuel Volkmann's and Anna Bauer's marriage permit issued by Vienna's archbishop Joseph Otmar Rauscher (A-Wsa, Serie, 95/1854)

Volkmann seems to have been very successful in his job, because he was able to spend his honeymoon in Bad Ischl (Ischler Fremden-Blatt, 1 June 1854).

The entry concerning Samuel Volkmann's wedding on 14 May 1854 in the Gumpendorf parish church (Gumpendorf, Tom 23, fol. 36). On the far right is the note concerning the "Dispens v. päpstlichen Stuhle wegen der Verwandschaft".

After his wedding Volkmann moved from his father's house Gumpendorf 67 (today Marchettigasse 5) to Laimgrube 77 (today Linke Wienzeile 44) which is documented by the entry concerning the baptism of their first child Franz August on 14 March 1855 (St. Josef ob der Laimgrube 28, fol. 179) and Samuel Volkmann's signature as witness to the wedding of his brother Ignaz on 12 April 1856 (Gumpendorf 25, fol. 46).

Samuel Volkmann's signature in the 1856 marriage entry of his brother Ignaz Volkmann (Gumpendorf, Tom 25, fol. 46)

In May 1857 Volkmann moved to Graz (Grazer Tagespost, 30 May 1857), where, together with the bookseller Karl Tendler (1825–1904) he acquired the so-called Ferstl'sche Buchhandlung (Ferstl's bookshop) at Herrengasse 223. Tendler and Volkmann not only established a book and art dealer's shop, but also a sheet music rental that was to become the largest institution of this kind in Styria. The business opened on 12 September 1858 which two days later was reported in the local press (Tagespost [Graz], 14 September 1858).

A newspaper ad for Karl Tendler's and Samuel Volkmann's sheet music rental in Graz (Grazer Zeitung, 3 November 1858, 1898)

How Volkmann was able to finance this business enterprise is not clear. Apart from investments of silent partners, he seems to have also used his share of the inheritance of his father Ignaz Volkmann who, on 6 November 1854 (Gumpendorf 22, fol. 112), had died a very successful owner of a house and a linen factory. Samuel Volkmann's addresses in Graz can be traced on the basis of his children's baptismal entries in the Graz parish records. During their stay in Graz (in addition to their first two Vienna-born children Franz and August), Samuel and Anna Volkmann had the following six children.
  1. Aloisia, b. 10 May 1858, Salzamtsgasse 26 (Dom 6, 1373)
  2. Carolina Maria, b. 3 Sep 1859, Salzamtsgasse 31 (Dom 6, 1394)
  3. Maria Anna, b. 8 Sep 1861, Salzamtsgasse 31 (Dom 6, 1431), d. 7 Oct 1861 (Dom 3, 537)
  4. Maria Anna, b. 11 Dec 1863, Salzamtsgasse 31 (Dom 6, 1482), d. 1 Jan 1864 (Dom 3, 6)
  5. Anna Maria, b. 20 Feb 1866, Neuthorgasse 444, (Mariae Himmelfahrt 7, fol. 106
  6. Heinrich b. 5 Sep 1869, Neuthorgasse 444, (Mariae Himmelfahrt 7, fol. 157)
On 24 March 1862 (Grazer Zeitung, 8 May 1862, 102 [the  date "12. Jänner 1850" is a typo for 1858]), Karl Tendler applied for the termination of the business relationship with Volkmann and the joint business was ended. While Tendler continued to run the book and art store (which he eventually sold in May 1873), Volkmann founded a Photographie Parisienne studio which proved to be very successful. Soon Volkmann was able to open branches in Marburg and Leoben. The many photos that Volkmann took in Gleichenberg and Rohitsch Sauerbrunn were taken during his spa stays which he needed to relieve increasing symptoms of tuberculosis. During one of these spa sojourns, on 27 June 1874 at 1 p.m., he collapsed and died in the bathhouse in Gleichenberg (Trautmannsdorf 7, 290). He was transferred to Graz to his apartment at Fischplatz 3 (today Andreas-Hofer-Platz 3) and on 30 June 1874 at 3 p.m., was buried in the St. Peter's cemetery (Mariae Himmelfahrt 5, fol. 131). Volkmann's death notice, which was published on 28 June 1874 in the Tagespost, shows that he was survived by five of his eight children.

Samuel Volkmann's death notice (Tagespost Graz, 28 June 1874)

Anna Volkmann continued to run her husband's photo studio until her death on 27 June 1879 (Mariae Himmelfahrt 5, fol. 185).

The studio insignia of Anna Volkmann in 1877. The profiles of Niepce, Daguerre, and Talbot had already graced the backside of her husband's photographs (© Bildarchiv

Bianchi, Johanna. 1980. "Vier unveröffentlichte Briefe von Leopold von Sonnleithner", in: Studien zur Musikwissenschaft 31, 49-66, Tutzing: Schneider.
Glossy, Carl. 1891. "Aus dem Grillparzer-Archiv. Briefe von und an Grillparzer", in: Jahrbuch der Grillparzer-Gesellschaft. Erster Jahrgang 1890. Wien: Verlag von Carl Konegen.
Grillparzer, Franz. (no year). Briefe und Tagebücher. Eine Ergänzung zu seinen Werken. Gesammelt und mit Anmerkungen herausgegeben von Carl Glossy und August Auer. Erster Band: Briefe.
Hubmann, Bernhard. 2000. "Eine glückliche Vereinigung von scharfsinniger Beobachtungsgabe mit schwungvoller Phantasie: Eine biographische  Skizze zum 175. Geburtstag von Carl Ferdinand Peters ", in: Berichte des Institutes für Geologie und Paläontologie der Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz, 1, 2000, 4-17.
–––––. 2001. "Carl Ferdinand Peters (1825-1881). Beitrag zu seiner Biographie". in: Berichte der Geologischen Bundesanstalt, Band 53, Vienna.
Korotin, Ilse. 2016. biografiA. Lexikon österreichischer Frauen, Volume 1, Wien Köln Weimar: Böhlau Verlag
Lorenz, Michael. 2001. Studien zum Schubert-Kreis, Ph. Diss., University of Vienna.
Mailänder Koslov, Elissa. 2005. "Weil es einer Wienerin gar nicht liegt, so brutal zu sein ..." Frauenbilder im Wiener Volksgerichtsverfahren gegen eine österreichische KZ-Aufseherin (1946-1949). Zeitgeschichte 3, Innsbruck: Studienverlag, 128-150. 
Starl, Timm. 2005. Lexikon zur Fotografie in Österreich 1839 bis 1945. Vienna: Album Verlag.
Wurzbach, Constant von. 1870. "Peters, Karl Ferdinand", Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich, 22. Theil, 78-89, Wien: k.k. Hof- und Staatsdruckerei.

© Dr. Michael Lorenz 2020. All rights reserved.

Updated: 26 July 2020


On the occasion of a newspaper report about the above discovery, which on 8 June 2020 was published by the Austrian daily Der Standard, some uninformed and jealous onlookers claimed that the above discovery "cannot have been a discovery, because the photograph was found in a library and therefore must have been catalogued already". This presumption is completely mistaken. The above photograph does not appear in the online catalog of the Austrian National Library, and it is not listed there as part of the collection "Fotografien, Dokumente und Schriftstücke aus dem Nachlass von Guido Peters bzw. Paula Artner" (A-Wn, Musiksammlung, Misc.31/IV). Even the ONB's staff themselves would not be able to find it if they tried. The photograph could only be discovered by chance and from inside the library.

Feb 16, 2020

A Mozart Forgery

In the April 1956 issue of the Österreichische Musikzeitschrift (11. Jahrgang, Heft 4, 146f.), Erich Hermann Mueller von Asow published a short article, entitled "Mozart als Zeuge" ('Mozart as witness'). The article presented a document from 1789, held by the Musik- och teaterbiblioteket in Stockholm. It is a receipt, signed by a certain Elisabeth Rothmann, which allegedly bears Mozart's signature. Mueller von Asow's article begins with the following short introduction.
In its collection of autographs, the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in Stockholm holds a document signed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as a witness, concerning a payment made by Martin Rothmann to his sister-in-law Elisabeth Rothmann, widowed Born. The document, of which the librarian Ph. Lic. Gösta Morin has kindly given us a photocopy, reads as follows.

Mueller von Asow sent a research request to the Vienna Municipal Archives (whose original could not be found in the holdings of the Magistratsabteilung 438). His commentary (Österreichische Musikzeitschrift, 1956, 147) reads as follows.

Nothing can be found about Elisabeth Rothmann (Rottmann?) in the Municipal Archives of Vienna, despite reviewing the probate files of the Schotten and the Vienna magistrate from between 1791 and 1820 (For the arduous search, the author gives thanks to the head of the archive Dr. Geyer, and Dr. Kratochwill).
According to the Hof- und Staats-Schematismus der Residenzstadt Wien from 1791, the following people can be documented: Philipp Rottman, living at Rauhensteingasse 1352 (a new building designed by the civil master mason Franz Jäger), who was an accessist at the department of clerical foundations which was a part of the Royal Hungarian and Transylvanian accounting department, and the council protocolist Ignaz von Rottmann who resided at Preßgasse 464, a house which belonged to a certain Joseph von Weinbrenner. He was born around 1768 in Pilsen, later became privy councilor and president of the Landrechte Court in Lemberg, and died on 26 April 1815 in Venice, leaving behind a daughter Therese who had been born around 1811 (Monatsblatt Adler, vol. XII, 1935, p. 108). It couldn't be cleared up yet if these aforementioned persons had any family relations to Elisabeth Rothmann. The address in Rauhensteingasse could point to a relation to Mozart. On the other hand, that Elisabeth Rothmann signed as "widowed J. A. Born", might suggest that the witnesses von Kunnersdorff and von Spaugk were members of the same Masonic Lodge as Mozart and the well-known geologist and mineralogist Ignaz von Born (1742-1791).
It is to be hoped that the local Viennese historians will be able to uncover more details about the persons that appear in the document and to clarify the reasons for the payment.
Because this receipt was included in the Dokumente (Deutsch, 1961, 304f.), a translation of the document was published in the English edition of Mozart documents (Deutsch, 1965, 348).

Like those of many other documents in Deutsch's Documentary Biography, the above translation is flawed. For unknown reasons Mozart's name is turned into "Mozard", "Spaugk" became "Spaug", and the abbreviation "K." (meaning "Imperial") is mistranslated as "R." ("Royal"). Furthermore, the "mp." (manu propria) after Mozart's name is missing.

When about 20 years ago, I first became aware of Mueller von Asow's article and read the ominous receipt, it made a strange impression on me right away. What particularly aroused my suspicion back then, were the names "von Kunnersorff" and "von Spaugk". Noble families by these names never existed. Apart from the lack of clarity in the text of this supposedly significant receipt, several inaccuracies in Mueller von Asow's commentary also caught my attention. First, his research request to the Vienna City Archives had been incomplete. He should have asked the archivists to find documentary traces of the demise of Elisabeth Rothmann's "much-loved" brother-in-law Martin Rothmann who – according to the receipt – must have died in 1789. Mueller von Asow seems not to have realized this crucial circumstance. Second, it is not clear why Geyer and Kratochwill limited their search for Elisabeth Rothmann in the indexes of the registers to 1791–1820. Such a search must always start with the date of the last known sign of life which, in this case, is the date of the receipt. Mueller von Asow's guesses about Mrs. Rothmann's possible family relation to Philipp Rottmann and Ignaz von Rottmann added no relevant information at all.

When in September 2019, at a flea market, I bought the original issue of the 1956 Österreichische Musikzeitschrift (which contains the first publication of the 1789 receipt), my interest was awakened again. I asked the library of the Musik- och teaterbiblioteket in Stockholm to send me a scan of the original document. What I received from Sweden exceeded my wildest expectations.

Elisabeth Rothmann's receipt, allegedly signed by Mozart (S-Skma, Brev B8:14)

Almost nothing about this document makes any sense. The issue at hand is not whether this receipt is a forgery. It is the question who in God's name would have the audacity to produce such a clumsy piece of work, and how it was ever possible to make anybody believe that this is a genuine Mozart document. The written text – in character as well as in content – is rife with ahistorical (or rather pseudohistorical) details that have no place in a handwritten document from Mozart's time. Some details are reminiscent of the legendary forger Josef Kuderna (1886-1952) whose written forgeries were so clumsy that at one of his trials the prosecutor expressed pity with the defendant. With the exception of Mozart, none of the persons appearing in this document ever existed. With the help of archival registers and catalogs, as well as today's vast digital databases, such as genteam, anno, and matricula, it is actually possible to determine if a person lived in 18th-century Vienna. "Kunnersdorf" and "Cunersdorf" are names of several European towns and villages, but not of a noble family. The same goes for the name "von Spaugk" (or, according to a later transcription, "Spaugh") which is completely fictitious. The two Rottmanns, whom Mueller von Asow introduced in his commentary, had no provable relation to any Elisabeth Rothmann. The first one, the state official Philipp Rottmann, was born in 1758 in Wiener Neustadt, son of the merchant Philipp Rottmann. On 8 May 1787 at the Franziskanerpfarre, he married Maria Anna Melzer (1768-1819) with whom he had three children (of whom only one was still alive in 1819). The couple separated in 1796, when Maria Rottmann began a lifelong relationship with the writer Joseph Schreyvogel with whom she had an illegitimate daughter named Carolina Wölf (1797-1866). Maria Rottmann could afford to leave her husband, because she had inherited a share of the house Stadt 186 from her wealthy father. Her daughter from her marriage, Theresia Rottmann (1788-1855), on 23 September 1810 became the wife of the publisher and art dealer Pietro Mechetti. As witness to the wedding officiated Joseph Schreyvogel whose signature appears in Mechetti's marriage contract (A-Wsa, Serie 2.3.2.A3, Fasz. 3, 1. Reihe, M 104). At the time of his estranged wife's death, Philipp Rottmann was living in St. Pölten (A-Wsa, Mag. ZG, A2, 2781/1819). A Magdalena Rottman living in St. Pölten is listed as heir of a 50 fl annuity in the 1853 will of Theresia Mechetti, née Rottmann (A-Wsa, Handelsgericht, A51, 36/1856). The second Rottmann, brought up by Mueller von Asow, the president of the Lemberg Landrechte court, Ignaz von Rottmann also had no provable relation to an Elisabeth Rothmann. His first wife, whom he married in Kraków, was Barbara Haller (1767-1805). On 21 July 1810, in Vienna (A-Wd, Tom 82a, fol. 260), Rottmann married again. His second wife was Theresia von Rainer (b. 18 June 1786 in Vienna) who on 5 September 1812, in Lemberg (Slezak, 67), gave birth to a daughter Therese (whom Mueller von Asow mentions in his commentary). Therese von Rottmann married a Count Bobrowski von Bobrówka and died in 1888. Ignaz von Rottmann's probate file (AT-OeStA/AVA Inneres NÖLR Allgemein A 54.5) is currently not accessible due to damage from the 1927 fire at the Vienna palace of justice. Ignaz's brother Vinzenz von Rottmann had died a bachelor on 29 May 1792 in Vienna. The name of their only sister was Josepha (A-Wsa, Akt 3.3.10.FA.791, Haansche Regesten).

Let us consider the legal scenario that is presented in the receipt. A certain Mr. Martin Rothmann has died and (as will be shown below) has left his sister-in-law Elisabeth Rothmann 6,000 gulden, which are being paid out by the executors of his will in three installments of 2,000 gulden. Since Mrs. Rothmann must be the wife of Martin Rothmann's brother, it is not clear why she signs as "widowed J. A Born". After all, since she is the widow of a Mr. J. A Born (not "von" Born!), she cannot legally sign as Elisabeth Rothmann. Equally unclear is why her husband – Martin Rothmann's brother – who should be his brother's main heir, does not take over the inherited money from the civil court. Or has he died as well? No Martin Rothmann is documented to have died in Vienna between 1785 and 1789. That the alleged executors of Martin Rothmann's will paid out the money to his sister-in-law, is highly unusual. The law demanded that such high amounts of money should remain in the safekeeping of the court. It was far too risky to leave such assets in the hands of private individuals. The use of three witnesses is also at odds with the customary legal practice at the time. Mrs. Rothmann was the legal heir of her brother-in-law's bequest. The simple process of receiving this bequest did not require three witnesses. Multiple witnesses were only needed for contracts that contained important legal agreements, such as business, purchase, and wedding contracts.

It comes as no surprise that there is also no member of the Born family that could serve as a candidate of Elisabeth Rothmann's allegedly deceased husband. Ignaz von Born, the famous mineralogist, died but in 1791. His widow, whose maiden name had been Magdalena von Montag, died on 3 April 1818. Ignaz's younger brother Franz Xaver von Born died on 2 April 1821 at the age of 77. The name of his wife, whom he had married in 1768, was Josepha von Bolza. She died on 9 December 1825. The third Born sibling, a captain in the infantry regiment No. 56 of the I. & R. Austrian Army, on 22 August 1767, in Brunn am Gebirge, married Antonia von Rieger, daughter of an I. & R. court councilor. No relation can be established between the von Born family and a person named Elisabeth Rothmann. It is quite obvious that the name "Born" was only put on the receipt to add a touch of Mozart's social environment.

Several passages in the document show a gross ignorance of basic historical and genealogical facts. The use of a single "K." before the names, instead of the usual "K.K." (meaning "Kaiserlich Königlich") is highly unusual. The amount of money in a receipt was always written in numbers, and, if necessary, in additional words. Never in words alone. The term "Floriner harten Geldes" ("Florins in hard cash") did not exist in Mozart's Vienna, because at that time there was no gulden coin. In 1789 Vienna hard cash consisted of Spezies- and Konventionstaler, various types of ducats, and kreuzer whose silver twenty coin was the most frequently used piece of currency. A sum of two thousand gulden would most likely have been paid out in ducats. The word "gegeben" before the date of a document was not used in Vienna; at least I have never seen it being used this way in any of the thousands of historical documents that I have scrutinized.

The constant inclination of the letters, together with the very characteristic and desperately made to look old-fashioned letter "g" are telltale signs that the whole document was written by one single person. The descriptive line "Madame Rothmannins quittierung [...]" at the top, with the ludicrously fake-historical word "fyr" (which actually reads "fgr") already shows the hand of the person that signed as Mrs. Rothmann, and also produced all the signatures of the alleged three witnesses. The letter "g" in "Ignatz" gives away the scribe. The "Mozart" signature was done with a stronger effort of disguise, but to no avail. Not only had the forger obviously never seen a genuine Mozart signature, he also had no idea what the "mp" (manu propria) sign after a signature was supposed to look like. Hence he produced the following curiosity, with an "mp" that looks like a capital "A" enclosed in a "C". The hook of the "z" and the inclination of the letters again give away the same hand.

To illustrate the absurdity of the above forgery, let us look at a genuine Mozart signature from Mozart's letter to Sebastian Winter from 30 September 1786: the "mp" is only a zigzag line below the name, the "ca" at the end of the signature is Mozart's characteristic shortening of the attribute Cavaliere.

Mozart's closing formula in his letter to Sebastian Winter (D-KA, Don Mus. Autogr. 45)

During the 1770s, Mozart's typical "Ca" token was much more distinct. Here is another example, at the end of his signature in the letter of 3 July 1778 to Abbé Bullinger.

Mozart's return address and closing formula in his letter of 3 July 1778 from Paris to Abbé Bullinger in Salzburg (current owner unknown)

The signatures of the witnesses Johann Carl Cetto von Kronstorff, Franz Gilowsky De Urazowa, and Johann Thorwart on Mozart's 1782 marriage contract nicely show how genuine "mp" signs were supposed to look like.

The seals and signatures on Mozart's marriage contract (GB-Lbl, Zweig MS 69). This document once was an integral part of Mozart's Sperrs-Relation (probate file) where it had the legal function (vis testamenti) of Mozart's will. At some time between 1856, when the Landesgerichts-Directionsadjunkt Joseph Laimegger (1814-1895) made a copy for Otto Jahn, and the death of its first private owner Franz Hauser in 1870, the contract must have been stolen from the archive of the Vienna Landesgericht. That the text and the location of the contract on 19 December 1857 were published in the newspaper Die Presse, certainly did not increase the safety of the document. To disguise the origin of the contract, already in the catalog of the 1905 auction, the sellers created the narrative of "two different versions of the contract, one for Mozart and one for the bride" (Boerner, 1905, 17). Such discrepancies, however, would have been against the law. The note in Mozart's Sperrs-Relation proves that there was only one copy of the contract. The dissimilarities between Jahn's edition and the original were based on Laimegger's transcription errors. In 1905 the contract was bought by Edward Speyer from whose collection, in 1935, it went to Stefan Zweig.

When in 1991 Cliff Eisen's collection New Mozart Documents: A Supplement to O.E. Deutsch's Documentary Biography was published, it became known that there is another copy of Elisabeth Rothmann's receipt. Sven Hansson, a Swedish collector, to whom Eisen gave thanks in his preface (Eisen, 1991, XVI), owns the receipt for payment No. 3 to Elisabeth Rothmann, dated 10 August 1789. Eisen's edition of this receipt shows two differences from Müller von Asow's transcription: "Spaugk" is now spelled "Spaugh" and the "mp" after Mozart's name is again missing. The fact that one month later Frau Rothmann had exactly the same three witnesses at hand is yet another quite suspicious circumstance.

The first publication of Sven Hansson's copy of Mrs. Rothmann's receipt (Eisen, 1991, 62)

Curiously enough, the German edition of the privately held receipt, which was published in 1997, shows even more discrepancies from Eisen's English edition and the previously published earlier copy of the receipt. "Kunnersdorf" is now again "Kunnersdorff", the name Ignatz is abbreviated to "Ign.", the names Mozart and Spaugh have an "mp" again, and the "J. A." before the name Born is missing. The most significant difference appears in the phrase "a sum of two thousand florins hard cash" which is now "eine summe von zweÿtausend florinern baares[sic] geld", a wording that is also at odds with the text of the receipt published in 1956. Given that meticulous accuracy can be expected from a scholarly edition of primary sources, these discrepancies are astonishing.

The first publication of the original text of Sven Hansson's copy of the receipt (Eisen, 1997, 63)

Since this receipt is marked "N° 3", and the one from July 1789 bears the number 2, it can be presumed that there must be a third copy which confirms the first payment of 2,000 gulden in June 1789. This copy, if it exists, has yet to surface.

Since Mueller von Asow had a photocopy of the original receipt and undoubtedly knew what real Mozart signatures look like, he bears the main responsibility for the erroneous attribution of these two documents. The whole matter, as curious as it appears today, should serve as a reminder that we must always remain suspicious. Who knows how many Mozart documents, that have been published in print, also have nothing to do with Mozart?

Boerner, C.G. (ed.). 1905. Katalog der Bibliothek Hauser Karlsruhe, Leipzig.
Deutsch, Otto Erich. 1961. Mozart Die Dokumente seines Lebens. Mozart. Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Werke, Serie X: Supplement, Werkgruppe 34. Kassel. Bärenreiter.
Deutsch, Otto Erich. 1965. Mozart: A Documentary Biography. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Eisen, Cliff. 1991. New Mozart Documents: A Supplement to O.E. Deutsch's Documentary Biography. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
–––––––. 1997. Mozart. Die Dokumente seines Lebens. Addenda, Neue Folge. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Werke, Serie X, Werkgruppe 31, vol. 2. Kassel: Bärenreiter.
Mueller von Asow, Erich Hermann. 1956. "Mozart als Zeuge", Österreichische Musikzeitschrift, 11. Jahrgang, Heft 4.
Slezak, Friedrich. 1987. Beethovens Wiener Originalverleger, Forschungen und Beiträge zur Wiener Stadtgeschichte 17, Vienna: Deuticke.

© Dr. Michael Lorenz 2020. All rights reserved.