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Preface

A full and authentic edition of Mozart's Letters ought to require
no special apology; for, though their essential substance has
already been made known by quotations from biographies by Nissen,
Jahn, and myself, taken from the originals, still in these three
works the letters are necessarily not only very imperfectly
given, but in some parts so fragmentary, that the peculiar charm
of this correspondence--namely, the familiar and confidential
mood in which it was written at the time--is entirely destroyed.
It was only possible to restore, and to enable others to enjoy
this charm--a charm so novel, even to those already conversant
with Mozart's life, that the most familiar incidents acquire
fresh zest from it--by an ungarbled edition of these letters.
This is what I now offer, feeling convinced that it will be
welcome not only to the mass of Mozart's admirers, but also to
professional musicians; for in them alone is strikingly set forth
how Mozart lived and labored, enjoyed and suffered, and this with
a degree of vivid and graphic reality which no biography, however
complete, could ever succeed in giving. Who does not know the
varied riches of Mozart's life? All that agitated the minds of
men in that day--nay, all that now moves, and ever will move, the
heart of man--vibrated with fresh pulsation, and under the most
manifold forms, in his sensitive soul, and mirrored itself in a
series of letters, which indeed rather resemble a journal than a
correspondence.

This artist, Nature had gifted in all respects with the most
clear and vigorous intellect that ever man possessed. Even in a
language which he had not so fully mastered as to acquire the
facility of giving expression to his ideas, he contrived to
relate to others all that he saw and heard, and felt and thought,
with surprising clearness and the most charming sprightliness,
combined with talent and good feeling. Above all, in his letters
to his father when travelling, we meet with the most minute
delineations of countries and people, of the progress of the fine
arts, especially in the theatres and in music; we also see the
impulses of his own heart and a hundred other things which, in
fascination, and universal as well as artistic interest, have
scarcely a parallel in our literature. The style may fail to a
certain degree in polish, that is, in definite purpose in
expressing what he wished to say in an attractive or congenial
form,--an art, however, which Mozart so thoroughly understood in
his music. His mode of writing, especially in the later letters
from Vienna, is often very slovenly, evidencing how averse the
Maestro was to the task. Still these letters are manifestly the
unconstrained, natural, and simple outpourings of his heart,
delightfully recalling to our minds all the sweetness and pathos,
the spirit and grace, which have a thousand times enchanted us in
the music of Mozart. The accounts of his visit to Paris may,
indeed, lay claim to a certain aesthetic value, for they are
written throughout with visible zest in his own descriptions, and
also with wit, and charm, and characteristic energy. As these
combined merits can only become apparent by an ungarbled series
of the letters, I have resolved, after many long years of zealous
research in collecting them, to undertake the work,--that is, to
publish the letters entire that have come to my knowledge.

It now only remains for me to give some words of explanation as
to the method I have pursued in editing them.

In the first place, this edition, (being transcribed closely from
the originals,) if compared with the letters already published,
will prove that the latter are open to many corrections, both in
trivial and more important respects. I have forborne, however,
attracting attention to the deviations from the original text,
either in Nissen or Jahn. I have no wish to be punctilious about
trifles, where, as in the case of Jahn, the principal points are
correct. Further, by this faithful production of the letters,
(nothing being omitted but the constant repetition of forms of
greeting and subscription,) we find many an additional feature in
the Maestro's life, and chiefly various facts with regard to the
creation and publication of his works, which may serve to
complete and to amend various statements in Dr. Ludwig Ritter von
Kochel's "Chronological Thematic Catalogue of the Musical
Compositions of W. A. Mozart," (Leipzig, Breitkopf and Hartel).
This will be effected not only by the hitherto unpublished
letters, though comparatively few in number, but also by passages
being given in full, which have been hitherto suppressed as of no
consequence. I have referred to Nissen and Jahn only when, in
spite of all my inquiries, I could not discover the proprietor of
the original, or procure a correct copy.

I must also remark that all letters without a special address are
written to his father. I have only adhered to Mozart's defective
orthography in his few letters of early date, and in the rest
adopted the more modern fashion. I did so for this simple reason,
that these defects form a charm in his juvenile letters, from
being in accordance with their boyish contents, while, with
regard to the others, they only tend to distract the attention
from the substance of the letters, instead of imparting
additional interest to them. Biographers can, and ought always to
render faithfully the original writing, because quotations
alternate with the text of the biographer; but in a regular and
uninterrupted series of letters this attraction must be very
sparingly used, or it will have a pernicious effect.

The explanatory remarks, and also the supplementary Lexicon, in
which I have availed myself of Jahn's catalogue, will make the
letters more intelligible to the world at large. The Index, too,
has been most carefully prepared to facilitate references.

Lastly, I return my best thanks to the keeper of the Archives of
the Mozarteum in Salzburg, to Herr Jellinck, and to all the
librarians and collectors of autographs who have assisted me in
my task, either by furnishing me with copies of their Mozart
letters, or by letting me know where I could procure them. I
would also earnestly request all who may possess any Mozart
letters to send me an exact transcript of them in the interest of
Art; for those here given allude to many still unknown, which are
no doubt scattered about here and there, waiting to be brought to
light.

With respect to myself, the best reward I aspire to in return for
the many sacrifices this collection has cost me, is, that my
readers may do justice to the purpose which chiefly guided me
throughout this publication,--my desire being not merely to
benefit science, and to give a graphic description of the
amiability and purity of heart which so distinguished this
attractive man, (for such was my aim in my "Life of Mozart,") but
above all to draw attention afresh to the unremitting zeal with
which Mozart did homage to every advance in Art, striving to make
music more and more the interpreter of man's innermost being. I
also wished to show how much his course was impeded by the
sluggishness and stupidity of the multitude, though partly
sustained by the sympathy of kindred souls, till the glorious
victory was won over routine and imbecility. Amidst all the
fatiguing process of copying and collating letters already so
familiar to me, these considerations moved me more vividly than
ever; and no work on the Maestro can ever bring them with such
force before the intelligent reader as this connected succession
of letters, containing his own details of his unwearied artistic
struggles and productions. May these letters, then, kindle fresh
zeal in our artists of the present day, both in youthful genius
and in laurel-crowned Maestri!--especially may they have the
happiest influence on those who devote themselves to that phase
of Art in which Mozart attained the highest renown!--may they
impart that energetic courage which is derived from the
experience that incessant efforts for the progress of Art and its
appliances enlarge the limits of human intellect, and can alone
insure an immortal crown!

LUDWIG NOHL.

MUNICH, October 1, 1864.



FIRST PART
ITALY, VIENNA, MUNICH.
1770 TO 1776.