Towards the end of his lamentably short life, Mozart had accepted all types of commissions. For a while, the most talented musician in all of Vienna was churning out dance music for the entertainment of royals and nobles at Vienna’s famous imperial court balls. One of these commissions was for a mechanical organ, a small instrument which operated on a principle not too different from that of a player piano. The mechanical organ in question was not very large and Mozart was apparently disgusted by writing for it. But, he needed the money at the time.
The Mozart family finances were better some years than others. Constanze Mozart, often depicted as a silly and flighty girl, was actually a good manager of money, something she was to prove after her husband’s death. Mozart also had the prospect of going to London ahead of him. Haydn’s impresario Solomon was going to bring Mozart to London. Haydn went to England a middle-class servant of a noble family, took London by storm, and returned to Vienna a very wealthy man. Who knows what might have been had Mozart taken a similar journey?
This piece, originally written for a couple of ranks of shrill pipes, is now one of the staples of the organ repertoire. Mozart was a skilled organist and played a number of organs throughout Europe, including the 1738 Christian Müller organ at the Sint-Bavokerk in Haarlem, The Netherlands.