Mozart Timeline

Thus Spake Mozart… Mozart Quotations Part I

A rich plethora of quotations by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart has survived to this day. Most of them can be found in his letters to his father, family and friends. Only a few have become widely known. But anyone reading these letters will immediately recognise the greatest composer of all time as a human being just like you and me, with all the familiar joys and worries.

27 February 2014 Events

Mozart’s correspondence constitutes one of the greatest treasures of the world of music. It is unusually extensive and a remarkable amount has survived until today. Mozart’s letters grant us an insight into the life of Mozart and his family and allow us to participate in his daily life, his joys and his worries. In particular, the letters between Mozart and his father Leopold are a treasure trove regarding the life and career of the musical genius. Research into Mozart’s work and life has ensured that many utterances by Mozart are known as “Mozart quotations” today. These hardly ever yield deeply philosophical wisdoms; however, they show us what was truly important to Mozart, both as a musician and a human being. 

“Melody is the nature of music.”

The magical elixir in Mozart’s life was music. Music was at the heart of everything – unsurprisingly, it is also the topic of many of Mozart’s quotations. Genius that he was, Mozart constantly had to struggle with musical mediocrity. He once complained to his father: “I am among animals and wild beasts, regarding music.” And to Joseph Haydn: “I make an exception of you, but all other composers are true asses!” His recipe for great work was truly simple: “Even in the most dreadful situation, music must never offend the ear, but amuse even then, and subsequently remain music forever.”

“I want to make my wife happy, not make my fortune and happiness through her.”

Mozart also enjoyed talking about his great love, Constanze. He once asked his father: “Dear father, could you tell me if I could even wish for a better wife?” On another occasion he cheerfully remarked: “What happiness, what desire now reigns in my breast?”

But he also gives expression to the dark sides of his life and his depressions. “The taste of death is already on my tongue. I feel something that is not of this world.” When he worked on the Magic Flute, he wrote to his wife: “When I sit down at the piano and sing something from the opera, I have to stop at once. It simply causes too much turmoil and emotion.”

Mozart letter fragment

Mozart letter fragment

Mozart letter to his sister Nannerl, 1769 Source: Wikimedia