Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg on the 17th January,
1756. His father, Leopold Mozart, belonged to a respectable
tradesman's family in the free city of Augsburg. Conscious of
being gifted with no small portion of intellectual endowments, he
followed the impulse that led him to aim at a higher position in
life, and went to the then celebrated University of Salzburg in
order to study jurisprudence. As he did not, however, at once
succeed in procuring employment in this profession, he was
forced, from his straitened means, to enter the service of Canon
Count Thun as valet. Subsequently, however, his talents, and that
thorough knowledge of music by which he had already (according to
the custom of many students) gained some part of his livelihood,
obtained for him a better position. In the year 1743 he was
received into the band (Kapelle) of the Salzburg cathedral by
Archbishop Sigismund; and as his capabilities and fame as a
violinist increased, the same Prince shortly afterwards promoted
him to the situation of Hof-Componist (Court Composer) and leader
of the orchestra, and in 1762 he was appointed Hof-Kapellmeister
(conductor of the Court music).
In 1747 Leopold Mozart married Anna Maria Pertlin, a foster-child
of the Convent of St. Gilgen. The fruits of this marriage were
seven children, two of whom alone survived,--Maria Anna, (the
fourth), called Nannerl, born in 1751; and the youngest, Wolfgang
Amadeus Johannes Chrysostomus. The daughter at a very early age
displayed a most remarkable talent for music, and when her father
began to give her instructions in it, an inborn and passionate
love of this art was soon evident in her little brother of three
years old, who at once gave tokens of a degree of genius far
surpassing all experience, and really bordering on the
marvellous. In his fourth year he could play all sorts of little
pieces on the piano. He only required half an hour to learn a
minuet, and one hour for a longer movement; and in his fifth year
he actually composed some pretty short pieces, several of which
are still extant.
[Footnote: The Grand Duchess Helene Paulowna, a few weeks ago,
made a present to the Mozarteum of the music-book from which
Mozart learned music, and in which he wrote down his first
The wonderful acquirements of both these children, to which
Wolfgang soon added skilful playing on the violin and organ,
induced their father to travel with them. In January, 1702, when
the boy was just six years old, they went first to Munich, and in
the autumn to Vienna, the children everywhere on their journey
exciting the greatest sensation, and being handsomely
remunerated. Leopold Mozart, therefore, soon afterwards resolved
to undertake a longer journey, accompanied by his whole family.
This lasted more than three years, extending from the smaller
towns in West Germany to Paris and London, while they visited, on
their way back, Holland, France, and Switzerland. The careful
musical instruction which the father perseveringly bestowed on
his son, went hand in hand with the most admirable education, and
the boy was soon as universally beloved for his amiable
disposition and natural simplicity and candor, as admired for his
rare gifts and acquirements.
After nearly a year passed at home in unremitting musical
instruction, and practice of various instruments as well as
composition, the father once more set off with all his family to
Vienna,--on this occasion with a view to Wolfgang paving the way
to Italy by the composition of an opera, (Italy, at that time,
being the Eldorado of music.) He succeeded in procuring the
scrittura of an opera buffa, "La Finta semplice;" but, when
finished, although the Emperor himself had intrusted the
composition to the boy, the cabals of envious singers effectually
prevented its being performed. But a German operetta which the
lad of twelve also wrote at that time, "Bastien und Bastienne,"
was given in private, at the summer residence of the Mesmer
family, in the suburb called Landstrasse. The father, too, had
some compensation by the Emperor commissioning his son to compose
a solemn mass for the consecration of the new Waisenhaus church,
which Wolfgang himself directed with the conductor's baton, in
presence of the Imperial Family, on the 7th December, 1768.
Immediately on their return home, the young virtuoso was
appointed archiepiscopal Concertmeister. He passed almost the
whole of the year 1769 in Salzburg, chiefly engaged in the
composition of masses. We also see him at that time eagerly
occupied in improving his knowledge of Latin, although two years
previously he had composed a comedy in that language,--"Apollo et
Hyacinthus." From this study proceeds the first letter which is
still extant from his hand:--
MY DEAR YOUNG LADY,--
I beg you will pardon the liberty I take in plaguing you with
these few lines, but as you said yesterday that there was nothing
you could not understand in Latin, and I might write what I chose
in that language, I could not resist the bold impulse to write
you a few Latin lines. When you have deciphered these, be so good
as to send me the answer by one of Hagenauer's servants, for my
messenger cannot wait; remember, you must answer this by a
[Footnote: By a messenger of the Hagenauer family, in whose
house, opposite the inn of "Den drei Allurten," Mozart was born,
and with whom his family were on the most intimate terms.]
"Cuperem scire, de qua causa, a quam plurimis adolescentibus
ottium usque adeo oestimetur, ut ipsi se nec verbis, nec
verberibus ad hoc sinant abduci."
[Footnote: "I should like to know the reason why indolence is so
highly prized by very many young men, that neither by words nor
blows will they suffer themselves to be roused from it."]
The father's plan to go to Italy, there to lay the foundation of
a European reputation for his son, was realized in the beginning
of December, 1769, and during the journey, the boy, who was at
that time just entering his fifteenth year, subjoined to his
father's reports scraps of his own writing, in which, in true
boyish fashion, he had recourse to all kinds of languages and
witticisms, but always exhibiting in his opinions on music the
closest observation, the gravest thought, and the most acute
Verona, Jan. 1770.
MY VERY DEAREST SISTER,--
I have at last got a letter a span long after hoping so much for
an answer that I lost patience; and I had good cause to do so
before receiving yours at last. The German blockhead having said
his say, now the Italian one begins. Lei e piu franca nella
lingua italiana di quel che mi ho immaginato. Lei mi dica la
cagione perche lei non fu nella commedia che hanno giocata i
Cavalieri. Adesso sentiamo sempre una opera titolata Il Ruggiero.
Oronte, il padre di Bradamante, e un principe (il
Signor Afferi) bravo cantante, un baritono, [Footnote:
"You are more versed in the Italian language than I
believed. Tell me why you were not one of the actors in the
comedy performed by the Cavaliers. We are now hearing an opera
called 'Il Ruggiero.' Oronte, the father of Bradamante, is a
Prince (acted by Afferi, a good singer, a baritone)."]
but very affected when he speaks out a falsetto, but not quite so
much so as Tibaldi in Vienna. Bradamante innamorata di Ruggiero
(ma [Footnote: "Bradamante is enamored of Ruggiero, but"]--she is
to marry Leone, but will not) fa una povera Baronessa, che ha
avuto una gran disgrazia, ma non so la quale; recita [Footnote:
"Pretends to be a poor Baroness who has met with some great
misfortune, but what it is I don't know, she performs"] under an
assumed name, but the name I forget; ha una voce passabile, e la
statura non sarebbe male, ma distuona come il diavolo. Ruggiero,
un ricco principe innamorato di Bradamante, e un musico; canta un
poco Manzuolisch [Footnote: Manzuoli was a celebrated soprano,
from whom Mozart had lessons in singing when in London.] ed ha
una bellissima voce forte ed e gia vecchio; ha 55 anni, ed ha una
[Footnote: "She has a tolerable voice, and her appearance is in
her favor, but she sings out of tune like a devil Ruggiero, a
rich Prince enamored of Bradamante, is a musico, and sings rather
in Manzuoli's style, and has a fine powerful voice, though quite
old; he is fifty-five, and has a"] flexible voice. Leone is to
marry Bradamante--richississimo e, [Footnote: "Immensely rich."]
but whether he is rich off the stage I can't say. La moglie di
Afferi, che ha una bellissima voce, ma e tanto susurro nel teatro
che non si sente niente. Irene fa una sorella di Lolli, del gran
violinista che habbiamo sentito a Vienna, a una [Footnote:
"Afferi's wife has a most beautiful voice, but sings so softly on
the stage that you really hear nothing at all. A sister of Lolli,
the great violinist whom we heard at Vienna, acts Irene; she has
a"] very harsh voce, e canta sempre [Footnote: "Voice, and always
sings"] a quaver too tardi o troppo a buon' ora. Granno fa un
signore, che non so come si chiame; e la prima volta che lui
recita. [Footnote: "Slow or too fast. Ganno is acted by a
gentleman whose name I never heard. It is his first appearance on
the stage."] There is a ballet between each act. We have a good
dancer here called Roessler. He is a German, and dances right
well. The very last time we were at the opera (but not, I hope,
the very last time we ever shall be there) we got M. Roessler to
come up to our palco, (for M. Carlotti gives us his box, of which
we have the key,) and conversed with him. Apropos, every one is
now in maschera, and one great convenience is, that if you fasten
your mask on your hat you have the privilege of not taking off
your hat when any one speaks to you; and you never address them
by name, but always as "Servitore umilissimo, Signora Maschera."
Cospetto di Bacco! that is fun! The most strange of all is that
we go to bed at half-past seven! Se lei indovinasse questo, io
diro certamente che lei sia la madre di tutti gli indovini.
[Footnote: "If you guess this, I shall say that you are the
mother of all guessers."] Kiss mamma's hand for me, and to
yourself I send a thousand kisses, and assure you that I shall
always be your affectionate brother.
Portez-vous bien, et aimez-moi toujours.
Milan, Jan. 26, 1770.
I REJOICE in my heart that you were so well amused at the
sledging party you write to me about, and I wish you a thousand
opportunities of pleasure, so that you may pass your life
merrily. But one thing vexes me, which is, that you allowed Herr
von Molk [an admirer of this pretty young girl of eighteen] to
sigh and sentimentalize, and that you did not go with him in his
sledge, that he might have upset you. What a lot of pocket-
handkerchiefs he must have used that day to dry the tears he shed
for you! He no doubt, too, swallowed at least three ounces of
cream of tartar to drive away the horrid evil humors in his body.
I know nothing new except that Herr Gellert, the Leipzig poet,
[Footnote: Old Mozart prized Gellert's poems so highly, that on
one occasion he wrote to him expressing his admiration.] is dead,
and has written no more poetry since his death. Just before
beginning this letter I composed an air from the "Demetrio" of
Metastasio, which begins thus, "Misero tu non sei."
The opera at Mantua was very good. They gave "Demetrio." The
prima donna sings well, but is inanimate, and if you did not see
her acting, but only singing, you might suppose she was not
singing at all, for she can't open her mouth, and whines out
everything; but this is nothing new to us. The seconda donna
looks like a grenadier, and has a very powerful voice; she really
does not sing badly, considering that this is her first
appearance. Il primo uomo, il musico, sings beautifully, but his
voice is uneven; his name is Caselli. Il secondo uomo is quite
old, and does not at all please me. The tenor's name is Ottini;
he does not sing unpleasingly, but with effort, like all Italian
tenors. We know him very well. The name of the second I don't
know; he is still young, but nothing at all remarkable. Primo
ballerino good; prima ballerina good, and people say pretty, but
I have not seen her near. There is a grotesco who jumps cleverly,
but cannot write as I do--just as pigs grunt. The orchestra is
tolerable. In Cremona, the orchestra is good, and Spagnoletta is
the name of the first violinist there. Prima donna very passable
--rather ancient, I fancy, and as ugly as sin. She does not sing
as well as she acts, and is the wife of a violin-player at the
opera. Her name is Masci. The opera was the "Clemenza di Tito."
Seconda donna not ugly on the stage, young, but nothing superior.
Primo uomo, un musico, Cicognani, a fine voice, and a beautiful
cantabile. The other two musici young and passable. The tenor's
name is non lo so [I don't know what]. He has a pleasing
exterior, and resembles Le Roi at Vienna. Ballerino primo good,
but an ugly dog. There was a ballerina who danced far from badly,
and, what is a capo d'opera, she is anything but plain, either on
the stage or off it. The rest were the usual average. I cannot
write much about the Milan opera, for we did not go there, but we
heard that it was not successful. Primo uomo, Aprile, who sings
well, and has a fine even voice; we heard him at a grand church
festival. Madame Piccinelli, from Paris, who sang at one of our
concerts, acts at the opera. Herr Pick, who danced at Vienna, is
now dancing here. The opera is "Didone abbandonata," but it is
not to be given much longer. Signor Piccini, who is writing the
next opera, is here. I am told that the title is to be "Cesare in
WOLFGANG DE MOZART,
Noble of Hohenthal and attached to the Exchequer.
Milan, Feb. 10, 1770.
SPEAK of the wolf, and you see his ears! I am quite well, and
impatiently expecting an answer from you. I kiss mamma's hand,
and send you a little note and a little kiss; and remain, as
before, your----What? Your aforesaid merry-andrew brother,
Wolfgang in Germany, Amadeo in Italy.
Milan, Feb. 17, 1770.
Now I am in for it! My Mariandel! I am so glad that you were so
tremendously merry. Say to nurse Urserl that I still think I sent
back all her songs, but if, engrossed by high and mighty thoughts
of Italy, I carried one off with me, I shall not fail, if I find
it, to enclose it in one of my letters. Addio, my children,
farewell! I kiss mamma's hands a thousand times, and send you a
thousand kisses and salutes on your queer monkey face. Per fare
il fine, I am yours, &c.
Milan, Carnival, Erchtag.
MANY kisses to mamma and to you. I am fairly crazed with so much
business, [Footnote: Concerts and compositions of every kind
occupied Mozart. The principal result of his stay in Milan was,
that the young maestro got the scrittura of an opera for the
ensuing season. As the libretto was to be sent to them, they
could first make a journey through Italy with easy minds. The
opera was "Mitridate, Re di Ponto."] so I can't possibly write
Milan, March 3, 1770.
CARA SORELLA MIA,--
I am heartily glad that you have had so much amusement. Perhaps
you may think that I have not been as merry as you; but, indeed,
I cannot sum up all we have done. I think we have been at least
six or seven times at the opera and the feste di ballo, which, as
in Vienna, begin after the opera, but with this difference, that
at Vienna the dancing is more orderly. We also saw the facchinata
and chiccherata. The first is a masquerade, an amusing sight,
because the men go as facchini, or porters; there was also a
barca filled with people, and a great number on foot besides; and
five or six sets of trumpets and kettledrums, besides several
bands of violins and other instruments. The chiccherata is also a
masquerade. What the people of Milan call chicchere, we call
petits maitres, or fops. They were all on horseback, which was a
pretty sight. I am as happy now to hear that Herr von Aman
[Footnote: The father had written in a previous letter, "Herr von
Aman's accident, of which you wrote to us, not only distressed us
very much, but cost Wolfgang many tears. You know how sensitive
he is"] is better, as I was grieved when you mentioned that he
had met with an accident. What kind of mask did Madame Rosa wear,
and Herr von Molk, and Herr von Schiedenhofen? Pray write this to
me, if you know it; your doing so will oblige me very much. Kiss
mamma's hands for me a thousand million times, and a thousand to
yourself from "Catch him who can!" Why, here he is!
Bologna, March 24, 1770.
Oh, you busy creature!
Having been so long idle, I thought it would do me no harm to set
to work again for a short time. On the post-days, when the German
letters come, all that I eat and drink tastes better than usual.
I beg you will let me know who are to sing in the oratorio, and
also its title. Let me hear how you like the Haydn minuets, and
whether they are better than the first. From my heart I rejoice
to hear that Herr von Aman is now quite recovered; pray say to
him that he must take great care of himself and beware of any
unusual exertion. Be sure you tell him this. I intend shortly to
send you a minuet that Herr Pick danced on the stage, and which
every one in Milan was dancing at the feste di ballo, only that
you may see by it how slowly people dance. The minuet itself is
beautiful. Of course it comes from Vienna, so no doubt it is
either Teller's or Starzer's. It has a great many notes. Why?
Because it is a theatrical minuet, which is in slow time. The
Milan and Italian minuets, however, have a vast number of notes,
and are slow and with a quantity of bars; for instance, the first
part has sixteen, the second twenty, and even twenty-four.
We made the acquaintance of a singer in Parma, and also heard her
to great advantage in her own house--I mean the far-famed
Bastardella. She has, first, a fine voice; second, a flexible
organ; third, an incredibly high compass. She sang the following
notes and passages in my presence.
[Here, Mozart illustrates with about 20 measures of music]
Rome, April 14, 1770.
I AM thankful to say that my stupid pen and I are all right, so
we send a thousand kisses to you both. I wish that my sister were
in Rome, for this city would assuredly delight her, because St.
Peter's is symmetrical, and many other things in Rome are also
symmetrical. Papa has just told me that the loveliest flowers are
being carried past at this moment. That I am no wiseacre is
pretty well known.
Oh! I have one annoyance--there is only a single bed in our
lodgings, so mamma may easily imagine that I get no rest beside
papa. I rejoice at the thoughts of a new lodging. I have just
finished sketching St. Peter with his keys, St. Paul with his
sword, and St. Luke with--my sister, &c., &c. I had the honor of
kissing St. Peter's foot at San Pietro, and as I have the
misfortune to be so short, your good old
was lifted up!
Rome, April 21, 1770.
CARA SORELLA MIA,--
Pray try to find the "Art of Ciphering" which you copied out, but
I have lost it, and know nothing about it. So pray do write it
out again for me, with some other copies of sums, and send them
to me here.
Manzuoli has entered into a contract with the Milanese to sing in
my opera [see Nos. 2-6]. For this reason he sang four or five
arias to me in Florence, and also some of my own, which I was
obliged to compose in Milan (none of my theatrical things having
been heard there) to prove that I was capable of writing an
opera. Manzuoli asks 1000 ducats. It is not yet quite certain
whether Gabrielli will come. Some say Madame de' Amicis will sing
in it; we shall see her in Naples. I wish that she and Manzuoli
could act together; we should then be sure of two good friends.
The libretto is not yet chosen. I recommended one of Metastasio's
to Don Ferdinando [Count Firmiani's steward, in Milan] and to
Herr von Troyer. I am at this moment at work on the aria "Se
ardore e speranza."
Rome, April 25, 1770.
CARA SORELLA MIA,--
Io vi accerto che io aspetto con una incredibile premura tutte le
giornate di posta qualche lettere di Salisburgo. Jeri fummo a S.
Lorenzo e sentimmo il Vespero, e oggi matina la messa cantata, e
la sera poi il secondo vespero, perche era la festa della Madonna
del Buonconsiglio. Questi giorni fummi nel Campidoglio e viddemmo
varie belle cose. Se io volessi scrivere tutto quel che viddi,
non bastarebbe questo foglietto. In due Accademie suonai, e
domani suonero anche in una.--Subito dopo pranzo giuochiamo a
Potsch [Boccia]. Questo e un giuoco che imparai qui, quando verro
a casa, ve l'imparero. Finita questa lettera finiro una sinfonia
mia, che comminciai. L'aria e finita, una sinfonia e dal copista
(il quale e il mio padre) perche noi non la vogliamo dar via per
copiarla; altrimente ella sarebbe rubata.
WOLFGANGO in Germania. AMADEO MOZART in Italia.
Roma caput mundi il 25 Aprile anno 1770
nell' anno venture 1771.
[Footnote: "DEAREST SISTER,--"I assure you that I always expect
with intense eagerness my letters from Salzburg on post-days.
Yesterday we were at S. Lorenzo and heard vespers, and to-day at
the chanted mass, and in the evening at the second vespers,
because it was the Feast of the Madonna del Buonconsiglio. A few
days ago we were at the Campidoglio, where we saw a great many
fine things. If I tried to write you an account of all I saw,
this sheet would not suffice. I played at two concerts, and to-
morrow I am to play at another. After dinner we played at Potsch
[Boccia]. This is a game I have learnt, and when I come home, I
will teach it to you. When I have finished this letter, I am
going to complete a symphony that I have begun. The aria is
finished. The copyist (who is my father) has the symphony,
because we do not choose it to be copied by any one else, or it
might be stolen.
"WOLFGANGO in Germany.
"AMADEO MOZART in Italy.
"Rome, mistress of the world: April 25, 1770."]
Naples, May 19, 1770.
CARA SORELLA MIA,--
Vi prego di scrivermi presto e tutti i giorni di posta. Io vi
ringrazio di avermi mandata questi "Art of Ciphering," [FOOTNOTE:
"I beg you will write to me soon, indeed every post-day. I thank
you for having sent me the 'Art of Ciphering.'"] e vi prego, se
mai volete avere mal di testa, di mandarmi ancora un poco di
questi "books." [FOOTNOTE: "And I beg if you ever want to have a
headache, that you will send me some more."] Perdonate mi che
scrivo si malamente, ma la razione e perche anche io ebbi un poco
mal di testa. [FOOTNOTE: "of the same kind. Excuse my writing so
badly, but the reason is that I have a bit of a headache
Haydn's twelfth minuet, which you sent me, pleases me very much;
you have composed an inimitable bass for it, and without the
slightest fault. I do beg that you will often exercise yourself
in such things. Mamma must not forget to see that the guns are
both polished up. Tell me how Master Canary is? Does he still
sing? and still whistle? Do you know why I am thinking about the
canary? Because we have one in our ante-room that chirps out a G
sharp just like ours. [Footnote: Mozart was extremely fond of
animals, and later in life had always birds in his room.] A
propos, Herr Johannes [Hagenauer], no doubt, received the letter
of congratulation which we intended to write to him? But if he
has not got it, I will tell him myself, when we meet in Salzburg,
what ought to have been in it. Yesterday we wore our new clothes;
we were as handsome as angels. My kind regards to Nandl; she must
not fail to pray diligently for me.
Jomelli's opera is to be given on the 30th. We saw the king and
queen at mass in the court chapel at Portici, and we also saw
Vesuvius. Naples is beautiful, but as crowded with people as
Vienna or Paris. As for London and Naples, I think that in point
of insolence on the part of the people Naples almost surpasses
London; because here the lazzaroni have their regular head or
leader, who receives twenty-five ducati d'argento monthly from
the king for keeping the lazzaroni in order.
Madame de' Amicis sings in the opera--we were there. Caffaro is
to compose the second opera, Ciccio di Majo the third, but who is
to compose the fourth is not yet known. Be sure you go regularly
to Mirabell, to hear the Litanies, and listen to the "Regina
Coeli" or the "Salve Regina," and sleep sound, and take care to
have no evil dreams. My most transcendent regards to Herr von
Schiedenhofen--tralaliera! tralaliera! Tell him to learn the
repetition minuet on the piano, to be sure to DO so, and DO not
let him forget it. He must DO this in order to DO me the favor to
let me accompany him some day or other. DO give my best
compliments to all my friends, and DO continue to live happily,
and DO not die, but DO live on, that you may be able to DO
another letter for me, and I DO one for you, and thus we shall go
on DOING till we can DO something worth DOING; but I am one of
those who will go on DOING till all DOINGS are at an end. In the
mean time I DO subscribe myself
Your W. M.
Naples, May 29, 1770.
Jeri l'altro fummo nella prova dell' opera del Sign. Jomelli, la
quale e una opera che e ben scritta e che me piace veramente. Il
Sign. Jomelli ci ha parlato ed era molto civile. E fummo anche in
una chiesa a sentir una Musica la quale fu del Sign. Ciccio di
Majo, ed era una bellissima Musica. Anche lui ci parlci ed era
molto compito. La Signora de' Amicis canto a meraviglia. Stiamo
Dio grazia assai bene di salute, particolarmente io, quando viene
una lettera di Salisburgo. Vi prego di scrivermi tutti giorni di
posta, e se anche non avete niente da scrivermi, solamente vorrei
averlo per aver qualche lettera tutti giorni di posta. Egli non
sarebbe mal fatto, se voi mi scriveste qualche volta una
[FOOTNOTE: "The other day we attended the rehearsal of Signor
Jomelli's opera, which is well written and pleases me
exceedingly. Signor Jomelli spoke to us and was very civil. We
also went to a church to hear a mass by Signor Ciccio di Majo,
and it was most beautiful music. Signora de' Amicus sang
incomparably. We are, thank God, very well, and I feel
particularly so when a letter from Salzburg arrives. I beg you
will write to me every post-day, even if you have nothing to
write about, for I should like to have a letter by every post. It
would not be a bad idea to write me a little letter in Italian."]
Naples, June 5, 1770.
Vesuvius is smoking fiercely! Thunder and lightning and blazes!
Haid homa gfresa beim Herr Doll. Das is a deutscha Compositor,
und a browa Mo. [Footnote: "Today we dined with Herr Doll, he is
a good composer and a worthy man" [Vienna Patois]] Now I begin to
describe my course of life.--Alle 9 ore, qualche volta anche alle
dieci mi svelgio, e poi andiamo fuor di casa, e poi pranziamo da
un trattore, e dopo pranzo scriviamo, e poi sortiamo, e indi
ceniamo, ma che cosa? Al giorno di grasso, un mezzo pollo ovvero
un piccolo boccone d'arrosto; al giorno di magro un piccolo
pesce; e di poi andiamo a dormire. Est-ce que vous avez compris?
--Redma dafir Soisburgarisch, don as is gschaida. Wir sand Gottlob
gesund da Voda und i. [Footnote: "I rise generally every morning
at 9 o'clock, but sometimes not till 10, when we go out. We dine
at a restaurateur's, after dinner I write, and then we go out
again, and afterwards sup, but on what? on jours gras, half a
fowl, or a small slice of roast meat, on jours maigres a little
fish, and then we go to sleep. Do you understand? Let us talk
Salzburgisch, for that is more sensible. Thank God, my father and
I are well" [Patois]] I hope you and mamma are so also. Naples
and Rome are two drowsy cities. A scheni Schrift!
net wor? [Footnote: "Fine writing, is it not?" [Patois.]] Write
to me, and do not be so lazy. Altrimente avrete qualche bastonate
di me. Quel plaisir! Je te casserai la tete. [Footnote:
"Otherwise I will cudgel you soundly. What a pleasure--to break
your head!"] I am delighted with the thoughts of the portraits
[of his mother and sister, who had promised to have their
likenesses taken], und i bi korios wias da gleich sieht; wons ma
gfoin, so los i mi und den Vodan a so macho. Maidli, lass Da
saga, wo list dan gwesa he? [Footnote: "And I am anxious to see
what they are like, and then I will have my father and myself
also taken. Fair maiden, say, where have you been, eh?"
[Patois.]] The opera here is Jomelli's; it is fine, but too grave
and old-fashioned for this stage. Madame de' Amicis sings
incomparably, and so does Aprile, who used to sing at Milan. The
dancing is miserably pretentious. The theatre beautiful. The King
has been brought up in the rough Neapolitan fashion, and at the
opera always stands on a stool, so that he may look a little
taller than the Queen, who is beautiful and so gracious, for she
bowed to me in the most condescending manner no less than six
times on the Molo.
Naples, June 16, 1770.
I AM well and lively and happy as ever, and as glad to travel. I
made an excursion on the Mediterranean. I kiss mamma's hand and
Nannerl's a thousand times, and am your son, Steffl, and your
Rome, July 7, 1770.
CARA SORELLA MIA,--
I am really surprised that you can compose so charmingly. In a
word, the song is beautiful. Often try something similar. Send me
soon the other six minuets of Haydn. Mademoiselle, j'ai l'honneur
d'etre votre tres-humble serviteur et frere,
CHEVALIER DE MOZART.
[He had received from the Pope the cross of the Order of the
Bologna, July 21, 1770.
I WISH mamma joy of her name-day, and hope that she may live for
many hundred years to come and retain good health, which I always
ask of God, and pray to Him for you both every day. I cannot do
honor to the occasion except with some Loretto bells, and wax
tapers, and caps, and gauze when I return. In the mean time,
good-bye, mamma. I kiss your hand a thousand times, and remain,
till death, your attached son.
Io vi auguro d'Iddio, vi dia sempre salute, e vi lasci vivere
ancora cent' anni e vi faccia morire quando avrete mille anni.
Spero che voi impararete meglio conoscermi ni avvenire e che poi
ne giudicherete come ch' egli vi piace. Il tempo non mi permette
di scriver motto. La penna non vale un corno, ne pure quello che
la dirigge. Il titolo dell' opera che ho da comporre a Milano,
non si sa ancora.
[Footnote: "My prayer to God is, that He may grant you health,
and allow you to live to be a hundred, and not to die till you
are a thousand years old. I hope that you will learn to know me
better in future, and that you will then judge of me as you
please. Time does not permit me to write much. My pen is not
worth a pin, nor the hand that guides it. I don't yet know the
title of the opera that I am to compose at Milan."]
My landlady at Rome made me a present of the "Thousand and One
Nights" in Italian; it is most amusing to read.
Bologna, August 4, 1770.
I GRIEVE from my heart to hear that Jungfrau Marthe is still so
ill, and I pray every day that she may recover. Tell her from me
that she must beware of much fatigue and eat only what is
strongly salted [she was consumptive]. A propos, did you give my
letter to Robinsiegerl? [Sigismund Robinig, a friend of his]. You
did not mention it when you wrote. I beg that when you see him
you will tell him he is not quite to forget me. I can't possibly
write better, for my pen is only fit to write music and not a
letter. My violin has been newly strung, and I play every day. I
only mention this because mamma wished to know whether I still
played the violin. I have had the honor to go at least six times
by myself into the churches to attend their splendid ceremonies.
In the mean time I have composed four Italian symphonies
[overtures], besides five or six arias, and also a motett.
Does Herr Deibl often come to see you? Does he still honor you by
his amusing conversation? And the noble Herr Carl von Vogt, does
he still deign to listen to your tiresome voices? Herr von
Schiedenhofen must assist you often in writing minuets, otherwise
he shall have no sugar-plums.
If time permitted, it would be my duty to trouble Herr von Molk
and Herr von Schiedenhofen with a few lines; but as that most
indispensable of all things is wanting, I hope they will forgive
my neglect, and consider me henceforth absolved from this honor.
I have begun various cassations [a kind of divertimento], so I
have thus responded to your desire. I don't think the piece in
question can be one of mine, for who would venture to publish as
his own composition what is, in reality, written by the son of
the Capellmeister, and whose mother and sister are in the same
town? Addio--farewell! My sole recreations consist in dancing
English hornpipes and cutting capers. Italy is a land of sleep; I
am always drowsy here. Addio--good-bye!
Bologna, August 21, 1770.
I AM not only still alive, but in capital spirits. To-day I took
a fancy to ride a donkey, for such is the custom in Italy, so I
thought that I too must give it a trial. We have the honor to
associate with a certain Dominican who is considered a very pious
ascetic. I somehow don't quite think so, for he constantly takes
a cup of chocolate for breakfast, and immediately afterwards a
large glass of strong Spanish wine; and I have myself had the
privilege of dining with this holy man, when he drank a lot of
wine at dinner and a full glass of very strong wine afterwards,
two large slices of melons, some peaches and pears for dessert,
five cups of coffee, a whole plateful of nuts, and two dishes of
milk and lemons. This he may perhaps do out of bravado, but I
don't think so--at all events, it is far too much; and he eats a
great deal also at his afternoon collation.
Bologna, Sept. 8, 1770.
NOT to fail in my duty, I must write a few words. I wish you
would tell me in your next letter to what brotherhoods I belong,
and also let me know the prayers I am bound to offer up for them.
I am now reading "Telemachus," and am already in the second
volume. Good-bye for the present! Love to mamma.
I HOPE that mamma and you are both well, but I wish you would
answer my letters more punctually in time to come; indeed, it is
far easier to answer than to originate. I like these six minuets
far better than the first twelve; we often played them to the
Countess [Pallivicini, at whose country-seat, near Bologna,
father and son spent some months]. We only wish we could succeed
in introducing a taste for German minuets into Italy, as their
minuets last nearly as long as entire symphonies. Forgive my bad
writing; I could write better, but I am in such a hurry.
Bologna, Sept. 29, 1770.
IN order to fill up papa's letter, I intend to add a few words. I
grieve deeply to hear of Jungfrau Marthe's long-continued
illness, which the poor girl bears, too, with such patience. I
hope, please God, she may still recover. If not, we must not
grieve too much, for the will of God is always best, and God
certainly knows better than we do whether it is most for our good
to be in this world or in the next. But it will cheer her to
enjoy this fine weather once more after all the rain.
Bologna, Oct. 6, 1770.
I AM heartily glad that you have been so gay; I only wish I had
been with you. I hope Jungfrau Marthe is better. To-day I played
the organ at the Dominicans. Congratulate the .... from me, and
say that I sincerely wish they may live to see the fiftieth
anniversary of Father Dominikus's saying mass, and that we may
all once more have a happy meeting.
[Footnote: Jahn observes that he probably alludes to their
intimate friends, the merchant Hagenauer's family, with whom old
Mozart had many pecuniary transactions for the purpose of his
travels, and whose son entered the church in 1764.]
My best wishes to all Thereserls, and compliments to all my
friends in the house and out of the house. I wish I were likely
soon to hear the Berchtesgadner symphonies, and perhaps blow a
trumpet or play a fife in one myself. I saw and heard the great
festival of St. Petronius in Bologna. It was fine, but long. The
trumpeters came from Lucca to make the proper flourish of honor,
but their trumpeting was detestable.
Milan, Oct. 20, 1770.
MY DEAR MAMMA,--
I cannot write much, for my fingers ache from writing out such a
quantity of recitative. I hope you will pray for me that my opera
["Mitridate Re di Ponto"] may go off well, and that we soon may
have a joyful meeting. I kiss your hands a thousand times, and
have a great deal to say to my sister; but what? That is known
only to God and myself. Please God, I hope soon to be able to
confide it to her verbally; in the mean time, I send her a
thousand kisses. My compliments to all kind friends. We have lost
our good Martherl, but we hope that by the mercy of God she is
now in a state of blessedness.
Milan, Oct. 27, 1770.
MY VERY DEAREST SISTER,--
You know that I am a great talker, and was so when I left you. At
present I replace this very much by signs, for the son of this
family is deaf and dumb. I must now set to work at my opera. I
regret very much that I cannot send you the minuet you wish to
have, but, God willing, perhaps about Easter you may see both it
and me. I can write no more.--Farewell! and pray for me.
Milan, Nov. 3, 1770.
MY VERY DEARLY LOVED SISTER,--
I thank you and mamma for your sincere good wishes; my most
ardent desire is to see you both soon in Salzburg. In reference
to your congratulations, I may say that I believe Herr Martinelli
suggested your Italian project. My dear sister, you are always so
very clever, and contrived it all so charmingly that, just
underneath your congratulations in Italian, followed M. Martini's
compliments in the same style of penmanship, so that I could not
possibly find you out; nor did I do so, and I immediately said to
papa, "Oh! how I do wish I were as clever and witty as she is!"
Then papa answered, "Indeed, that is true enough." On which I
rejoined, "Oh! I am so sleepy;" so he merely replied, "Then stop
writing." Addio! Pray to God that my opera may be successful. I
am your brother,
whose fingers are weary from writing.
Milan, Dec. 1, 1770.
As it is so long since I wrote to you, I thought that I might
perhaps pacify your just wrath and indignation by these lines. I
have now a great deal to work at, and to write for my opera. I
trust all will go well, with the help of God. Addio! As ever,
your faithful brother,
MY DARLING SISTER,--
It is long since I have written to you, having been so much
occupied with my opera. As I have now more time, I shall attend
better to my duty. My opera, thank God, is popular, as the
theatre is full every evening, which causes great surprise, for
many say that during all the time they have lived in Milan they
never saw any first opera so crowded as on this occasion. I am
thankful to say that both papa and I are quite well, and I hope
at Easter to have an opportunity of relating everything to mamma
and you. Addio! A propos, the copyist was with us yesterday, and
said that he was at that moment engaged in transcribing my opera
for the Lisbon court. Good-bye, my dear Madlle. sister,
Always and ever your attached brother.
Venice, Feb 15, 1771
MY VERY DEAR SISTER,--
You have, no doubt, heard from papa that I am well. I have
nothing to write about, except my love and kisses to mamma. Give
the enclosed--Al sig. Giovanni. La signora perla ricono la
riverisce tanto come anche tutte le altre perle, e li assicuro
che tutte sono inamorata di lei, e che sperano che lei prendera
per moglie tutte, come i Turchi per contenar tutte sei. Questo
scrivo in casa di Sign. Wider, il quale e un galant' uomo come
lei melo scrisse, ed jeri abbiamo finito il carnavale da lui,
cenardo da lui e poi ballammo ed andammo colle perle in compagnie
nel ridotto nuovo, che mi piacque assai. Quando sto dal Sign.
Wider e guardando fuori della finestra vedo la casa dove lei
abito quando lei fu in Venezia. Il nuovo non so niente. Venezia
mi piace assai. Il mio complimento al Sign., suo padre e madre,
sorelle, fratelli, e a tutti i miei amici ed amiche. Addio!
[Footnote: "To Herr Johannes [Hagenauer] The fair 'pearl' has the
same high opinion of you that all the other 'pearls' here have. I
assure you that they are all in love with you, and their hope is
that you will marry them all (like the Turks), and so please them
every one. I write this in the house of Signor Wider, who is an
excellent man and exactly what you wrote to me, yesterday we
finished the Carnival in his house. We supped there and then
danced, and went afterwards, in company with the 'pearls,' to the
new masquerade, which amused me immensely. When I look out of the
window at Signor Wider's, I see the house that you inhabited in
Venice. I have no news. I like Venice very well. My compliments
to your father and mother, brothers and sisters, and all my
Venice, Feb. 20, 1771.
I AM still well, and, thank God, in the land of the living.
Madame de' Amicis has been singing at S. Benedetto. Say to Herr
Johannes that the Widerischen Berlein family are constantly
speaking of him (particularly Madlle. Catherine), so he must soon
return to Vienna to encounter the attacca--that is, in order to
become a true Venetian, you must allow yourself to be bumped down
on the ground. They wished to do this to me also, but though
seven women tried it, the whole seven together did not succeed in
throwing me down. Addio!
The travellers arrived again at home towards the end of March,
1771. The marriage of the Archduke Ferdinand with the Princess of
Modena, which took place in the October of that year, was
attended with great festivities, and recalled the father and son
to Italy in the course of a few months, Wolfgang having received
a command from the Empress Maria Theresa to compose a dramatic
serenata in honor of these nuptials.
Verona, August 18, 1771.
I have not slept more than half an hour, for I don't like to
sleep after eating. You may hope, believe, think, be of opinion,
cherish the expectation, desire, imagine, conceive, and
confidently suppose, that we are in good health; but I can tell
you so to a certainty. Wish Herr von Heffner a happy journey from
me, and ask him if he has seen Annamindl?
[Wolfgang, who was then fifteen, had taken advantage of his
leisure during their short stay in Salzburg to fall in love for
the first time. We shall find frequent allusions to this subject.
See also No. 25.]
Milan, August 23, 1771.
MY VERY DEAR SISTER,--
We suffered much from heat in the course of our journey, and the
dust constantly dried us up so impertinently that we should have
been choked, or died of thirst, if we had not been too sensible
for that. For a whole month past (say the Milanese) there has
been no rain here; to-day a slight drizzle began, but the sun has
now come out again, and it is once more very warm. What you
promised me (you well know my meaning, you kind creature!) don't
fail to perform, I entreat. I shall be indeed very grateful to
you. I am at this moment actually panting from the heat--I tear
open my waistcoat! Addio--good-bye!
Above us we have a violinist, below us is another, next to us a
singing-master, who gives lessons, and, in the room opposite, a
hautboy-player. This is famous for a composer--it inspires so
many fine thoughts.
Milan, August 31, 1771.
MY DEAREST SISTER,--
We are quite well, thank God! I have been eating quantities of
fine pears, peaches, and melons in your place. My greatest
amusement is to talk by signs to the dumb, which I can do to
perfection. Herr Hasse [the celebrated opera composer] arrived
here yesterday, and to-day we are going to pay him a visit. We
only received the book of the Serenata last Thursday. [Footnote:
It was "Ascanio in Alba" that Wolfgang got to compose for Milan;
and it was this music which made Hasse exclaim, "This boy will
cause us all to be forgotten."] I have very little to write
about. Do not, I entreat, forget about THE ONE OTHER, where no
other can ever be. You understand me, I know.
Milan, Sept. 13, 1771.
I write only for writing's sake. It is indeed very inconvenient,
because I have a severe cold. Say to Fraulein W. von Molk that I
rejoice at the thoughts of Salzburg, in the hope that I may again
receive the same kind of present for the minuets which was
bestowed on me at a similar concert. She knows all about it.
Milan, Sept. 21, 1771.
I AM well, God be praised! I can't write much. 1st, I have
nothing to say. 2d, my fingers ache from writing. I often whistle
an air, but no one responds. Only two arias of the Serenata are
still wanting, and then it will be finished. I have no longer any
fancy for Salzburg; I am afraid I might go mad too. [He had heard
that several persons there had lost their reason.]
Milan, Oct. 5, 1771.
I AM in good health, but always sleepy. Papa has snatched from my
pen all that I had to write about, which is, that he has already
written everything. Signora Gabrielli is here, and we are soon
going to see her, as we wish to become acquainted with all
Milan, Oct. 26, 1771.
MY work being now completed, I have more time to write, but have
nothing to say, as papa has written you all I could have said. I
am well, thank God! but have no news, except that in the lottery
the numbers 35, 59, 60, 61, and 62 have turned up prizes, so if
we had selected these we should have won; but as we did not put
in at all we neither won nor lost, but only laughed at those who
did the latter. The two arias encored in the Serenata were those
of Manzuoli, and Girelli, the prima donna, I hope you may be well
amused in Triebenbach with shooting, and (weather permitting)
Milan, Nov. 2, 1771.
Papa says that Herr Kerschbaumer travels with profit and
observation, and we can testify that he conducts himself very
judiciously; at all events he can give a more satisfactory
account of his journey than some of his friends, one of whom said
that he could not see Paris properly because the houses there
were too high. To-day Hasse's opera is to be given; as papa,
however, is not going, I can't go either. [FOOTNOTE: Hasse had
also a festal opera to compose, but Leopold Mozart writes, "I am
sorry to say that Wolfgang's Serenata has totally eclipsed
Hasse's opera."] Fortunately I know all the airs thoroughly by
heart, so I can see and hear them in my own thoughts at home.
Milan, Nov. 24, 1771.
Herr Manzuoli, the musico, who has always been considered and
esteemed as the best of his class, has in his old age given a
proof of his folly and arrogance. He was engaged at the opera for
the sum of 500 gigliati (ducats), but as no mention was made in
the contract of the Serenata, he demanded 500 ducats more for
singing in it, making 1000. The court only sent him 700 and a
gold box, (and enough too, I think,) but he returned the 700
ducats and the box, and went away without anything. I don't know
what the result of this history will be--a bad one, I fear!
Milan, Nov. 30, 1771.
That you may not suppose I am ill, I write you a few lines. I saw
four fellows hanged in the Dom Platz. They hang here just as they
do in Lyons.
We now find the father and son once more in Salzburg, in the
middle of December, 1771. Archbishop Sigismund died, and on the
14th of March, 1772, Archbishop Hieronymus was elected, who was
destined to cause much sorrow to Mozart. Soon after, in honor of
the procession and homage of the new prince, he composed the
allegorical azione teatrale "Il sogno di Scipione." In October he
resumed his travels, having undertaken the scrittura for the
approaching Carnivals both at Milan and at Venice.
Bologna, Oct. 28, 1772.
We have got to Botzen already. Already? rather not till now. I am
hungry, thirsty, sleepy, and lazy, but I am quite well. We saw
the monastery in Hall, and I played the organ there. When you see
Nadernannerl, tell her I spoke to Herr Brindl (her lover), and he
charged me to give her his regards. I hope that you kept your
promise and went last Sunday to D----N----[in cipher]. Farewell!
write me some news. Botzen--a pig-sty!
Milan, Nov. 7, 1772.
Don't be startled at seeing my writing instead of papa's. These
are the reasons: first, we are at Herr von Oste's, and the Herr
Baron Christiani is also here, and they have so much to talk
about, that papa cannot possibly find time to write; and,
secondly, he is too lazy. We arrived here at 4 o'clock this
afternoon, and are both well. All our good friends are in the
country or at Mantua, except Herr von Taste and his wife, who
send you and my sister their compliments. Herr Misliweczeck [a
young composer of operas from Paris] is still here. There is not
a word of truth either in the Italian war, which is so eagerly
discussed in Germany, or in the castles here being fortified.
Forgive my bad writing.
Address your letters direct to us, for it is not the custom here,
as in Germany, to carry the letters round; we are obliged to go
ourselves to fetch them on post-days. There is nothing new here;
we expect news from Salzburg.
Not having a word more to say, I must conclude. Our kind regards
to all our friends. We kiss mamma 1,000,000,000 times (I have no
room for more noughts); and as for my sister, I would rather
embrace her in persona than in imagination.
Spero che voi sarete stata dalla Signora, che voi gia sapete. Vi
prego, se la videte di farla un Complimento da parte mia. Spero e
non dubito punto che voi starete bene di salute. Mi son scordato
di darvi nuova, che abbiamo qui trovato quel Sign. Belardo,
ballerina, che abbiamo conosciuto in Haye ed in Amsterdam, quello
che attaco colla spada il ballerino, il Sign. Neri, perche
credeva che lui fosse cagione che non ebbe la permission di
ballar in teatro. Addio, non scordarvi di me, io sono sempre il
vostro fidele fratello.
[FOOTNOTE: "DEAREST SISTER,--"I hope you have been to see the
lady--you know who. I beg that when you see her you will give her
my compliments. I hope, and do not doubt, that you are in good
health. I forgot to tell you that we found Signor Belardo here, a
dancer whom we knew at the Hague and at Amsterdam--the same
person who attacked Signor Neri with a sword, because he thought
he was the cause of his not obtaining permission to dance in the
theatre. Adieu! Do not forget me, always your faithful brother."]
Milan, Nov. 21, 1772.
I thank you exceedingly--you know for what. I cannot possibly
write to Herr von Heffner. When you see him, make him read aloud
what follows. I hope he will be satisfied with it:--
"I am not to take it amiss that my unworthy friend has not
answered my letter; as soon as he has more leisure, he will
certainly, beyond all doubt, positively and punctually send me a
Milan, Nov. 28, 1772.
We both send our congratulations to Herr von Aman; tell him from
me that, owing to his having all along made a mystery of the
affair, I feel much annoyed, for I fear I may have said more than
I ought about his bride. I thought he had been more
straightforward. One thing more. Say to Herr von Aman that, if he
wishes to have a right merry wedding, he must be so kind as to
wait till we return, so that what he promised me may come to
pass, namely, that I was to dance at his wedding. Tell Herr
Leitgeb [a horn-player in the Archbishop's orchestra] that he
must come straight to Milan, for he is sure to succeed well here;
but he must come soon. Pray let him know this, for I am anxious
Milan, Dec. 5, 1772.
I have now about fourteen pieces to write, and then I shall have
finished. [Footnote: He alludes to his Milan opera, "Lucio
Silla."] Indeed, the trio and the duet may be considered as four.
I cannot possibly write much, for I have no news, and in the next
place I scarcely know what I am writing, as all my thoughts are
absorbed in my opera, so there is some danger of my writing you a
whole aria instead of a letter. I have learned a new game here,
called mercanti in fiera. As soon as I come home we can play at
it together. I have also learned a new language from Frau von
Taste, which is easy to speak, though troublesome to write, but
still useful. It is, I own, rather a little childish, but will do
capitally for Salzburg. My kind regards to pretty Nandl and to
the canary, for these two and yourself are the most innocent
creatures in our house. Fischietti [the Archbishop's
Capellmeister] will no doubt soon begin to work at his opera
buffa (translated into German, his CRAZY opera!). Addio!
The following letter of Wolfgang's shows the sparkling state of
his spirits, caused by the completion of his opera. At each line
he turns the page, so that one line stands, as it were, on the
head of the other. The father, too, in the joy of his heart that
the arduous work was drawing to a close, and with it his long
journey, writes four lines, one above another, round the edge of
the page, so that the whole forms a framework for a sketch of a
burning heart and four triangles (symbols of fidelity), and a
bird on the wing from whose beak a distich is streaming:--
Oh! fly to seek my child so fair Here, and there, and everywhere!
Milan, Dec. 18, 1772.
I HOPE, dear sister, that you are well, dear sister. When this
letter reaches you, dear sister, my opera will be in scena, dear
sister. Think of me, dear sister, and try, dear sister, to
imagine with all your might that my dear sister sees and hears it
also. In truth, it is hard to say, as it is now eleven o'clock at
night, but I do believe, and don't at all doubt, that in the
daytime it is brighter than at Easter. My dear sister, to-morrow
we dine with Herr von Mayer; and do you know why? Guess! Because
he invited us. The rehearsal to-morrow is to be in the theatre.
The impresario, Signor Cassiglioni, has entreated me not to say a
word of this to a soul, as all kinds of people would come
crowding in, and that we don't wish. So, my child, I beg, my
child, that you won't say one syllable to any one on the subject,
or too many people would come crowding in, my child. Approposito,
do you know the history that occurred here? Well, I will relate
it to you. We were going home straight from Count Firmiani's, and
when we came into our street we opened our door, and what do you
think happened? We went in. Good-bye, my pet. Your unworthy
On the 26th of December "an incomparable performance" of "Lucio
Silla" took place; it was eminently successful, and continued to
fill the house night after night in the most surprising way. The
father writes home regularly, and Wolfgang subjoins the usual
postscripts, which, however, at this time contain nothing worth
quoting. We give only part of an Italian letter which he writes
.... Vi prego di dire al Sig. Giovanni Hagenauer da parte mia,
che non dubiti, che andro a veder sicuramente in quella bottega
delle armi, se ci sono quei nomi [?] che lui desidera, e che
senza dubbio doppo averlo trovato le portero meco a Salisburgo.
Mi dispiace che il Sig. Leitgeb e partito tanto tardi da
Salisburgo [see No. 46] che non trovera piu in scena la mia opera
e forte non ci trovera nemeno, se non in viaggio.
Hieri sera era la prima prova coi stromenti della seconda opera,
ma ho sentito solamente il primo atto, perche a secondo mene
andiedi essendo gia tardi. In quest' opera saranno sopra il balco
24 cavalli e . . . mondo di gente, che saro miracolo se non
succede qualche disgrazia. La musica mi piace; se piace al
replico non so, perche alle prime prove non e lecito l' andarci
che alle personne che sono del Teatro. Io spero che domani il mio
padre potra uscir di casa. Sta sera fa cativissimo tempo. La
Signora Teyber e adesso a Bologna e il carnevale venturo recitera
a Turino e l'anno sussiquente poi va a cantare a Napoli.
[Footnote: "Pray say from me to Johannes Hagenauer, that he may
entirely rely on my going to the armorer's shop, to see if I can
procure what he desires, and after getting it I will not fail to
bring it with me to Salzburg. I regret that Herr Leitgeb delayed
so long leaving Salzburg [see No. 46], for he will no longer find
my opera in scena, nor will he find us either unless we meet on
our travels. Yesterday evening was our first rehearsal of the
second opera with instruments, but I only heard the first act,
for I went away at the second, because it was so very late. In
this opera there are to be twenty-four horses and a crowd of
people on the stage at the same time, so it will be surprising if
no accident happens. The music pleases me; whether it will please
others I cannot tell, for no persons but those belonging to the
theatre are permitted to attend the first rehearsals. I hope that
papa will be able to leave the house to-morrow. The weather is
detestable this evening. Madame Teyber is now at Bologna; she is
to act at Turin in the ensuing Carnival, and the year following
she is to sing at Naples."]
After enjoying some more of the amusements of the Carnival, they
arrived again in Salzburg about the middle of March. This place,
or rather their position at court there, was in the highest
degree repugnant to both; so the father, in the course of his
travels, applied to the Grand-Duke of Tuscany for an appointment
for his son. As, however, nothing was to be got in that quarter,
he directed his views to the Imperial capital itself; and thus,
at the end of three months, we find him again with his son in
Vienna. From thence Wolfgang often wrote to his loved ones at
Vienna, August 14, 1773.
I HOPE that your Majesty [Footnote 1: O. Jahn remarks that this
epithet is a reminiscence of a fantastic game that often amused
the boy on his journeys. He imagined a kingdom, the inhabitants
of which were endowed with every gift that could make them good
and happy.] enjoys the best state of health; and yet that now and
then--or rather sometimes--or, better still, from time to time--
or, still better, qualche volta, as the Italians say--your
Majesty will impart to me some of your grave and important
thoughts (emanating from that most admirable and solid judgment
which, in addition to beauty, your Majesty so eminently
possesses; and thus, although in such tender years, my Queen
casts into the shade not only the generality of men but even the
P. S. This is a most sensible production.
Vienna, August 21, 1773.
When we contemplate the benefit of time, and yet are not entirely
oblivious of the estimation in which we ought to hold the sun,
then it is quite certain, Heaven be praised! that I am quite
well. My second proposition is of a very different character.
Instead of sun, let us put moon, and instead of benefit, science;
then any one, gifted with a certain amount of reasoning powers,
will at once draw the conclusion that--I am a fool because you
are my sister. How is Miss Bimbles? [the dog.] I beg you will
convey all sorts of amiable messages from me to her. I also send
my kind remembrances to M. Kreibich [conductor of the Imperial
chamber-music], whom we knew at Presburg and also at Vienna; and
very best regards from Her Majesty the Empress, Frau Fischerin,
and Prince Kaunitz. Oidda!
Vienna, Sept. 15, 1773.
WE are quite well, thank God; on this occasion we have contrived
to make time to write to you, although we have so much business
to do. We hope you also are well. Dr. Niderl's death grieved us
very much. I assure you we cried a good deal, and moaned and
groaned. Our kind regards to "Alle gute Geister loben Gott den
Herrn" [to all good spirits who praise the Lord], and to all our
friends. We graciously remain
Given from our capital of Vienna.
The travellers returned home the end of September, for no
situation was to be found in Vienna either; indeed, they did not
even give a public concert there. Wolfgang remained in his native
town during the whole of the ensuing year, writing instrumental
and church music. At length he received a commission from the
Elector of Bavaria, Maximilian III., to write an opera buffa for
the Carnival of 1775,--"La finta Giardiniera."
Munich, Dec. 28, 1774.
My Dearest Sister,
I entreat you not to forget, before your journey, [FOOTNOTE:
Nannerl had also the most eager desire to see the new opera, and
the father at last succeeded in getting a lodging for her in the
large market place, in the house of a widow, "a black-eyed
brunette," Frau von Durst.] to perform your promise, that is, to
make a certain visit. I have my reasons for this. Pray present my
kind regards in that quarter, but in the most impressive and
tender manner--the most tender; and, oh!----but I need not be in
such anxiety on the subject, for I know my sister and her
peculiarly loving nature, and I feel quite convinced that she
will do all she can to give me pleasure--and from self-interest,
too--rather a spiteful hit that! [Nannerl was considered a little
selfish by her family.]
Munich, Dec. 30, 1774.
I BEG my compliments to Roxalana, who is to drink tea this
evening with the Sultan, All sorts of pretty speeches to Madlle.
Mizerl; she must not doubt my love. I have her constantly before
my eyes in her fascinating neglige. I have seen many pretty girls
here, but not one whose beauty can be compared with hers. Do not
forget to bring the variations on Ekart's menuet d'exaude, and
also those on Fischer's minuet. I was at the theatre last night.
The play was "Der Mode nach der Haushaltung," which was admirably
acted. My kind regards to all my friends. I trust that you will
not fail to--Farewell! I hope to see you soon in Munich. Frau von
Durst sends you her remembrances. Is it true that Hagenauer is
become a professor of sculpture in Vienna? Kiss mamma's hand for
me, and now I stop for to-day. Wrap yourself up warmly on your
journey, I entreat, or else you may chance to pass the fourteen
days of your visit in the house, stifling beside a stove, unable
once to move. I see the vivid lightning flash, and fear there
soon will be a crash!
To HIS MOTHER.
Munich, Jan. 11, 1775.
WE are all three well, Heaven be praised! I cannot possibly write
much, for I must go forthwith to the rehearsal. Tomorrow the
grand rehearsal takes place, and on the 13th my opera is to be in
scena. I am much vexed that you should cast any slight on Count
Seeau [Intendant of the Munich Theatre], for no one can be more
kind or courteous, and he has more good breeding than many of his
degree in Munich. Herr von Molk was in such a state of wonder and
admiration at the opera seria when he heard it, that we felt
quite ashamed of him, for it clearly showed every one that he had
never in his life seen anything but Salzburg and Innspruck.
To HIS MOTHER.
Munich, Jan. 14, 1775.
GOD be praised! My opera was given yesterday, the 13th, and
proved so successful that I cannot possibly describe all the
tumult. In the first place, the whole theatre was so crammed that
many people were obliged to go away. After each aria there was
invariably a tremendous uproar and clapping of hands, and cries
of Viva Maestro! Her Serene Highness the Electress and the
Dowager (who were opposite me) also called out Bravo! When the
opera was over, during the interval when all is usually quiet
till the ballet begins, the applause and shouts of Bravo! were
renewed; sometimes there was a lull, but only to recommence
afresh, and so forth. I afterwards went with papa to a room
through which the Elector and the whole court were to pass. I
kissed the hands of the Elector and the Electress and the other
royalties, who were all very gracious. At an early hour this
morning the Prince Bishop of Chiemsee [who had most probably
procured the scrittura for his young friend Wolfgang] sent to
congratulate me that the opera had proved such a brilliant
success in every respect. As to our return home, it is not likely
to be soon, nor should mamma wish it, for she must know well what
a good thing it is to have a little breathing time. We shall come
quite soon enough to----. One most just and undeniable reason is,
that my opera is to be given again on Friday next, and I am very
necessary at the performance, or it might be difficult to
recognize it again. There are very odd ways here. 1000 kisses to
Miss Bimberl [the dog].
The Archbishop of Salzburg, who was very reluctant to admit the
merits of his Concertmeister, was an involuntary witness of the
universal approbation bestowed on Wolfgang's opera, although he
would not go to hear it himself. On the 18th of January, 1775,
Wolfgang added the following lines to his father's letter:--
MY DEAR SISTER,
[FOOTNOTE: Nannerl had not yet gone home, but was enjoying the
Carnival in various masks.]
How can I help the clock choosing at this moment to strike a
quarter after seven o'clock? It is not papa's fault either. Mamma
will hear all the rest from you. At present there is no fair
sailing for me, as the Archbishop is staying here, though not for
long. It is currently reported that he is to remain till he sets
off again! I only regret that he is not to see the first masked
Your faithful FRANZ v. NASENBLUT.
Milan, May 5, 1756.
Immediately after Ash Wednesday the trio returned to Salzburg,
where Mozart remained uninterruptedly for another year and a
half, actively engaged in the duties of his situation. He wrote
the following letter on the 4th of September, 1776, to the
celebrated Pater Martini in Bologna:--
MOLTO REVDO PADE MAESTRO, PADRONE MIO STIMATISSIMO,-
La venerazione, la stima e il rispetto, che porto verso la di lei
degnissima persona mi spinse di incommodarla colle presente e di
mandargli un debole pezzo di mia musica, rimmettendola alla di
lei maestrale giudicatura. Scrissi l'anno scorso il Carnevale una
opera buffa ("La finta Giardiniera") a Monaco in Baviera. Pochi
giorni avanti la mia partenza di la desiderava S. A. Elletorale
di sentire qualche mia musica in contrapunto: era adunque
obligato di scriver questo Motetto in fretta per dar tempo a
copiar il spartito per Sua Altezza ed a cavar le parti per poter
produrlo la prossima domenica sotto la Messa grande in tempo del
Offertorio. Carissimo e stimatissimo Sigr. P. Maestro! Lei e
ardentemente pregato di dirmi francamente e senza riserva il di
lei parere. Viviamo in questo mondo per imparare sempre
industriosamente, e per mezzo dei raggionamenti di illuminarsi
l'un l'altro e d'affatigarsi di portar via sempre avanti le
scienze e le belle arti. Oh quante e quante volte desidero
d'esser piu vicino per poter parlar e raggionar con Vostra
Paternita molto Revda. Vivo in una paese dove la musica fa
pocchissimo fortuna, benche oltre di quelli che ci hanno
abandonati, ne abbiamo ancora bravissimi professori e
particolarmente compositori di gran fondo, sapere e gusto. Per il
teatro stiamo male per mancanza dei recitanti. Non abbiamo Musici
e non gli averemo si facilmente, giache vogliono esser ben
pagati: e la generosita, non e il nostro difetto. Io mi diverto
intanto a scrivere per la camera e per la chiesa: e ne son quivi
altri due bravissimi contrapuntisti, cioe il Sgr. Haydn e
Adlgasser. Il mio padre e maestro della chiesa Metropolitana, che
mi da l'occasione di scrivere per la chiesa, quanto che ne
voglio. Per altro il mio padre gia 36 anni in servizio di questa
Corte e sapendo, che questo Arcivescovo non puo e non vuol vedere
gente avanzata in eta, non lo se ne prende a core, si e messo
alla letteratura per altro gia suo studio favorito. La nostra
musica di chiesa e assai differente di quella d'Italia e sempre
piu, che una Messa con tutto il Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, la Sonata
all' Epistola, l'Offertorio osia Motetto, Sanctus ed Agnus Dei,
ed anche la piu solenne, quando dice la Messa il Principe stesso,
non ha da durare che al piu longo 3 quarti d'ora. Ci vuole un
studio particolare per queste sorte di compositione, e che deve
pero essere una Messa con tutti stromenti--Trombe di guerra,
Tympani ecc. Ah! che siamo si lontani Carissmo Sgr. P. Maestro,
quante cose che avrai a dirgli!--Reverisco devotamente tutti i
Sgri. Filarmonici: mi raccommando via sempre nelle grazie di lei
e non cesso d'affligermi nel vedermi lontano dalla persona del
mondo che maggiormente amo, venero e stimo, e di cui
inviolabilmente mi protesto di V. Pta molto Rda
umilissmo e devotssmo servitore,
WOLFGANGO AMADEO MOZART.
Salisburgo, 4 Settembre, 1776.
To Father Martini.
"Salzburg, Sept. 4, 1776.
"MOST REVEREND AND ESTEEMED FATHER AND MAESTRO,--
"The veneration, the esteem, and the respect I feel for your
illustrious person, induce me to intrude on you with this letter,
and also to send you a small portion of my music, which I venture
to submit to your masterly judgment. Last year, at Monaco, in
Bavaria, I wrote an opera buffa ("La finta Giardiniera") for the
Carnival. A few days previous to my departure from thence, his
Electoral Highness wished to hear some of my contrapuntal music;
I was therefore obliged to write this motett in haste, to allow
time for the score to be copied for his Highness, and to arrange
the parts so that it might be produced on the following Sunday at
grand mass at the offertory. Most dear and highly esteemed
Maestro, I do entreat you to give me unreservedly your candid
opinion of the motett. We live in this world in order always to
learn industriously, and to enlighten each other by means of
discussion, and to strive vigorously to promote the progress of
science and the fine arts. Oh, how many and many a time have I
desired to be nearer you, that I might converse and discuss with
your Reverence! I live in a country where music has very little
success, though, exclusive of those who have forsaken us, we have
still admirable professors, and more particularly composers of
great solidity, knowledge, and taste. We are rather badly off at
the theatre from the want of actors. We have no MUSICI, nor shall
we find it very easy to get any, because they insist upon being
well paid, and generosity is not a failing of ours. I amuse
myself in the mean time by writing church and chamber music, and
we have two excellent contrapuntists here, Haydn and Adlgasser.
My father is maestro at the Metropolitan church, which gives me
an opportunity to write for the church as much as I please.
Moreover, my father has been thirty-six years in the service of
this court, and knowing that our present Archbishop neither can
nor will endure the sight of elderly people, he does not take it
to heart, but devotes himself to literature, which was always his
favorite pursuit Our church music is rather different from that
of Italy, and the more so, as a mass including the Kyne, Gloria,
Credo, the Sonata all Epistola, the Offertory or Motett, Sanctus,
and Agnus Dei, and even a solemn mass, when the Prince himself
officiates, must never last more than three-quarters of an hour.
A particular course of study is required for this class of
composition. And what must such a mass be, scored with all the
instruments, war-drums, cymbals, &c, &c! Oh! why are we so far
apart, dearest Signor Maestro? for how many things I have to say
to you! I devoutly revere all the Signori Filarmonici. I venture
to recommend myself to your good opinion, I shall never cease
regretting being so distant from the person in the world whom I
most love, venerate, and esteem. I beg to subscribe myself,
reverend Father, always your most humble and devoted servant,
"WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART"