Mozart &
Material Culture


A global conflict, 1756-1763, pitting Great Britain, Prussia, Portugal and several smaller German states against France, the Holy Roman Empire, the Russian Empire and Bourbon Spain, the Seven Years’ War largely represented an unsuccessful attempt by France and Austria to limit the power and influence of Great Britain and Prussia, not only in Europe, but in India and North America as well. The war ended with the Treaty of Paris in 1763.

Mozart Relevance

The cessation of hostilities in the Seven Years’ War probably made possible the Mozarts' western European tour of 1763-1766, facilitating their safe passage from city to city and country to country; it is unlikely the tour would have been undertaken, or have been as extensive, had hostilities been ongoing. When he was in Paris, Leopold Mozart wrote that no Englishmen had been seen there for seven years —by the same token, the French did not travel to London (letter of 8 December 1763). But Leopold was also disturbed by the recent destruction of several cities; in a letter from Versailles in December 1763 he wrote that ‘one sees everywhere the consequences of the last war’. More practically, the end of the war complicated the Mozarts’ financial arrangements: the war had seen the collapse of important banks in Amsterdam, Paris and Berlin, in debt because of drops in commodity prices, destabilizing currencies and exchange rates, something Leopold noted in his letter written at Frankfurt on 13 August 1763: 'I have to say that business is very slack and that there is almost no trade at all on account of the astonishing bankruptcy in Amsterdam, affecting millions, including 30 firms there. Now no one trusts anyone else until they know how deeply they are in debt.

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Bibliographic Reference
Kindleberger and Aliber 1978, Szabo 2007, Schumann and Schweizer 2012

Pages referencing 1756-1763: Seven Years' War:

W. A. Mozart, Music for the memorial to Field Marshall Gideon Laudon