Home » Interviews » Impossible Interviews December 2016: Mozart’s Friend A. Stadler

Impossible Interviews December 2016: Mozart’s Friend A. Stadler


Who is Anton Stadler?

Called by Mozart Nàtschibinìtschibi (nickname probably meaning poor miserable young man of follies), Anton Stadler was one of the best close friends of Mozart: among them also Gottfried von Jacquin (called HinkitiHonky) and his sister Franziska (Sigra. Dinimininimi).

Friendship in 1781
Anton Stadler and his brother Johann Nepomuk Franz, with the Bohemian players Anton David and Vincent Springer, were considered the best clarinet players in Vienna in 1780s and 1790s. Mozart befriended them in 1781/1782 and in the following years wrote an important series of works (more than 15) for clarinets, basset horns and basset clarinets.

Freemasonry and The Grotto secret society
27 September 1785 Anton Stadler became a freemason and this situation helped to create a special relationship and a closer friendship with Mozart. Sources are not always very clear on this subject, but it seems that Anton Stadler became a sort of vice- (possibly a Papageno working for Tamino?) of Mozart on various matters, especially on money, pawnshops and secret societies. In fact, Mozart and A. Stadler decided to create a new reformed Freemason Lodge or a completely new Secret Society, called The Grotto, and A. Stadler was writing down the rules of this new Secret Society. Constanze Mozart had still the manual of this new Society The Grotto at the end of 18th century. After her letters on this subject, the Mozart-Stadler’s manual of the new Secret Society disappeared and is today considered lost.

Pawnshops, loss of money and debts
The activity of A.Stadler with pawnshops, carried on also on behalf of Mozart, led to the loss of a considerable amount of money: important precious watches, money (at least ca. $1500 or more in modern values), almost all the silverware and other valuable goods which belonged to Mozart. Due to such facts, Constanze Mozart and the other relatives of Mozart always considered A.Stadler just a vulgar irresponsible jester and the story of the new Secret Society The Grotto probably was used by Constanze Mozart against A.Stadler, who didn’t want to be involved any more in stories of Secret Societies after the French Revolution. Moreover, A.Stadler in 1791 received from Mozart the sum of ca. $3000 (modern value) for his Tour of Concerts across Europe and, as far as we know, not only never paid that sum back to Mozart’s family, but never paid for the famous Concert K.622 and for the new instruments built for him by Theodor Lotz.

Inventor of new instruments?
A.Stadler attributed to himself the very invention of various instruments: the basset clarinet and probably a better extended design of the basset horn. We know that, technically speaking, instead, at least the basset clarinet was, in reality, designed and built by Theodor Lotz. So A.Stadler’s inventions are, at this moment, matter of controversy.

His activity as theorist
After the death of Mozart, A.Stadler kept playing clarinet, basset clarinet and basset horn at high levels, working for the Imperial Court and receiving new music by good composers like Kozeluch, Eybler and Süssmayr, all somehow linked to Mozart as friends or adversaries. Then A.Stadler distinguished himself most as theorist, thanks principally to his highly regarded Musick Plan (1800). Nonetheless, his incapability in dealing with money continuously led him into losses of money and debts and he poorly died in 1812.


A) Theory works:
• Klarinett-Schule
• Musick Plan (1800; for Count Festetics on how to organize a School of Music)

B) Compositions by Stadler:

• Partitas for 6 wind instruments (1785)
• 18 Terzetten for 3 basset horns
• 3 caprices for clarinet (1808)
• 3 fantaisies ou potpourris for clarinet (1809)
• Variations sur différents themes favorites for clarinet (1810)
• 6 Duettinos progressives for 2 Clarinets (1808)
• 6 Duettinos concertantes for 2 Clarinets
• 12 ländlerische Tänze for 2 Clarinets (lost)
• 10 Variations über Müsst ma nix in übel aufnehma for Clarinet (lost)
• 2 Märsche for Wind Ensemble (lost)
• 12 deutsche Tänze mit Trios for Wind Ensemble (lost)
• 6 Duettinos for 2 Csákans or Csákan & Violon (1808)
• 7 Variations for Csákan (1812)
• 9 Variations über Müsst ma nix in übel aufnehma for Csákan (lost)
• 3 Caprices for Csákan or Double flute (lost)

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