The Devious Employee


The most capable employee does not always make the most compliant one, as will be apparent in a letter that Mozart wrote from Vienna to his father in Salzburg on April 4, 1781, while he was employed by the Archbishop of Salzburg:

I can assure you that I was very pleased with the Viennese public yesterday when I performed at the concert for the widows of the Kartnerthor Theater. I had to begin all over again because the applause never let up. So how much do you suppose I’d make if I were to give a concert of my own now that the public knows who I am? But this arch-clod of ours won’t stand for it. He doesn’t want people to take any kind of profits, only losses.

Well, he won’t succeed there because if I have even two students I’m better off in Vienna than I am in Salzburg. Nor do I need his room and board.

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Now get a load of this. Brunetti said today at the table that according to Arco, who was speaking on behalf of the archbishop, he was supposed to inform us that we were to receive coach fare and be out of here before Sunday. But anyone who wanted to stay (oh, how shrewd!) could do so, but would have to live at his own expense because he would no longer get room and board from the Archbishop….

When they asked me what I intended to do I answered, “I have yet to find out that I have to leave because until Count Arco himself tells me I won’t believe it. When he does, then I’ll make my intentions known, and if you don’t like it, you can lump it.” Bomike was there and grinned.

To be sure, I’ll probably play some tricks on the Archbishop and I’ll be delighted to do it. I’ll do it with such civility that he won’t even know the difference. Enough of this! In my next letter I’ll be able to tell you more.

Mozart’s later letters show that his tribulations with the Archbishop continued.