Mozart &
Material Culture


Count Palatine, Elector of Bavaria. A member of the Wittelsbach house, Karl Theodor became Elector Palatine in 1742 following the death of his father Karl II. Philip, and Elector and Duke of Bavaria from 1779 following the death of Maximilian III Joseph and the conclusion of the War of Bavarian Succession, at which time he moved his court from Mannheim to Munich.

Johann Georg Ziesenis, Kurfürst Karl Theodor, eighteenth century

Johann Georg Ziesenis, Kurfürst Karl Theodor, eighteenth century

Mozart Relevance

The Mozart children first played for Karl Theodor at his country home, Schwetzingen, in July 1763, and Mozart visited Mannheim twice. in 1777 and 1778, first on the way to Paris and then on the way home to Salzburg.  Although he hoped to gain an appointment at court, he was not successful; he was also unsuccessful in Munich in December 1778 after the Mannheim court’s move there.  Karl Theodor was nevertheless well-disposed toward Mozart, whose Idomeneo K366 was first given at Munich in January 1781; on 27 December 1780 Mozart wrote to his father that after hearing a rehearsal of act two, Karl Theodor said to him, ‘Who would have believed that such great things could lodge in so small a head!’ Mozart met Karl Theodor again in Munich in early November 1790 when he was returning to Vienna from Leopold II’s coronation festivities in Frankfurt; on this occasion he was invited to play at court on 4 or 5 November.

Date 1
1724, Drogenbos
Date 2
1799, Munich
Date (Mozart)
1763, 1777-1778, 1780, 1790
Location (Mozart)
Munich; Schwetzingen; Mannheim
Bibliographic Reference
Heigel, 1882; Welck, 1991