Mozart Timeline

Thus Spake Mozart: Quotations Part 3

Mozart was an extremely prolific correspondent. He loved to indulge in long, detailed and very exact descriptions and explanations. His surviving letters provide interesting insights into his relationships, his marriage with Konstanze Mozart, his triumphs and failures in his career, his views and opinions and his private life. When it came to the recipient, his father Leopold Mozart was second only to his wife – to whom he wrote most of his letters while travelling.

14 April 2014 Events

Respect and a formal father-son relationship characterise Mozart’s letters to his father. He always addressed Leopold as “mon très cher père” (my very dear father). He regarded Leopold as a competent critic of his music and discussed his working environment, his successes and his failures with him. In 1778, when Mozart stayed in Paris, he wrote to his father, discussing the difficulty of acquiring commissions: “I am among animals and beasts, regarding music.” The majority of people did not appreciate or understand his work to begin with.

Friend and critic – a normal relationship between father and son

However, Mozart also shared his joy about his triumphs with his father. When “The Marriage of Figaro” met with overwhelming success in Prague, he reported: “… Here the people speak of nothing else, but – Figaro; nothing else is played, blown, sung or whistled, but – Figaro; no opera attended, but – Figaro. And eternally Figaro! Certainly a great honour for me!”

The correspondence between Mozart and his father is also testimony to the parental worry for the well-being of his son on the part of Leopold – and the attempt to emancipate himself from a dominant father by Wolfgang. On one occasion Wolfgang tried to establish a favourable attitude towards his future wife Konstanze: “She won’t listen to anything else but fugues.” A clear allusion to her admiration of Johann Sebastian Bach.

When his father fell ill in April 1787, Wolfgang wrote: “I hope to soon receive a comforting letter from you.” In vain. Leopold died unexpectedly on May 28. Only a card by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to a friend survives: “I notify you that when I came home today, I received the sad news of my father’s passing. You can imagine my current situation!”

Leopold Mozart

Leopold Mozart

Father and correspondence partner of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Source: Wikipedia