Monday, November 14, 2011

Musical Musings

Reading some of Mozart's letters last eve, written at this time of year; the first written to his father on November 12, 1778, and the second, again to this father Leopold, on November 13, 1782.  Mozart's letters bring him alive to us, with all their detail of his daily life. We know VERY much about him because he wrote all the time to his wife Constanze while he was "on the road", but mostly to his father who he wrote to voraciously, with an almost religious fervor. He wrote about EVERYTHING, including his compositions, what he ate, what he bought (clothes-horse that he was), cities he travelled to and people he visited with. He added spice and wit to all his descriptions, including his scatological ramblings which he is famous for. They are very funny. Even when his life was troubled, and monies running low, he still had an amazing capacity to be good-natured and hopeful.

In his letter November 12, 1778, he writes from Mannheim, and states proudly that he was in his "beloved Mannheim, and I have been unable to lunch at home as there is a regular scramble to have me." He was very popular there, obviously, though he asks his father to let the Archbishop back home in Salzburg know of his popularity that he might entice the cleric to offer him a "better salary even if I might be enslaved in Salzburg." He says, "The Archbishop had better not begin to play high and mighty with me as he is used to, for it is not at all unlikely that I shall pull a long nose at him!" Geez, he was full of himself at that point.

On November 13, 1782, he writes again to Leopold telling him of his planned departure from Vienna, though the weather is so "odious that carriages could scarely make their way through the town. Not only would each stage take 4 or 5 hours, but not be able to get much beyond the first, and have to turn back." Traffic jam, 18th Century style! He reports that Constanze has a terrible headache so it would be better not to travel anyway, and his pupils back home will have to wait. He was probably relieved, as he HATED giving lessons, though they would have supplied a regular income.

By this time, he was 26 years of age. He was at the peak of his independence. Previously, he had struggled against his father who was rather domineering, but he followed his lead (which was perhaps best, as Wolfgang was rather impetuous). But at this period in his life, he broke free, leaving for Vienna and a life of free-lance composition and performance. He got heavily into writing opera, which the Viennese loved. He was a success even if not financially so! He married his beloved Constanze in April 1782 at St. Stephen's Cathedral, and about a year later his first son was born, Raimond Leopold, who only lived a couple months. Wolfgang and Constanze had six children, with only two surviving to adulthood.

Vienna is sometimes called "The City of Dreams", and I guess for Mozart, his success there was a dream come true! (Stay tuned; more to follow .......................)

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