The Words of Mozart


The music of Mozart is orderly and flawless. His life was totally different. His letters shed light on a man who was torn by family problems, happily conveyed gossip, and even enjoyed being totally silly.

To Nannerl (his sister) January 26, 1770
I rejoice with my whole heart that you had such a good time during that sleigh-drive and I wish you a thousand opportunities of amusement so that you may spend your life very merrily. But one thing distresses me, and that is, that you have made Herr von Mölk [a friend of Mozart's who was in love with Nannerl] sigh and suffer so frightfully and that you did not go sleigh-driving with him, so that he might have upset you. How many handkerchiefs will he not have used that day, weeping on your account. No doubt he will have previously taken an ounce of tartar, which will have purged his wretchedly dirty body. *

To his Cousin February 28, 1778
Perhaps you think or are even convinced that I am dead? That I have pegged out? Or hopped a twig? Not at all. Don't believe it, I implore you. ...So if you want to send a reply to me from that town of Augsburg yonder, you see, then write at once, the sooner the better, so that I may be sure to receive your letter, or else if I'm gone I'll have the bad luck, instead of a letter to get some muck. Muck! - Muck! - Ah, muck! Sweet word! Muck! chuck! That too is fine. *

To a Friend July 3, 1778
For you alone. Mourn with me, my friend! This has been the saddest day of my life - I am writing this at two o'clock in the morning. I have to tell you that my mother, my dear mother, is no more! God has called her to Himself. It was his will to take her, that I saw clearly - so I resigned myself to his will. He gave her to me, so He was able to take her away from me. ...All I ask of you at present is to act the part of a true friend, by preparing my poor father very gently for this sad news. *

To his Father October 13, 1781
...Why, an opera is sure of success when the plot is well worked out, the words written solely for the music and not shoved in here and there to suit some miserable rhyme. I mean, words or even entire verses which ruin the composer's whole idea. Verses are indeed the most indispensable element for music - but rhymes - solely for the sake of rhyming - the most detrimental. Those high and mighty people who set to work in this pedantic fashion will always come to grief, both they and their music. The best thing of all is when a good composer, who understands the stage and is talented enough to make sound suggestions, meets an able poet. *

To his Father July 27, 1782
...Dearest, most beloved father, I implore you by all you hold dear in the world to give your consent to my marriage with my dear Constanze. Do not suppose that it is just for the sake of getting married. If that were the only reason, I would gladly wait. But I realize that it is absolutely necessary for my own honor and for that of my girl, and for the sake of my health and spirits. My heart is restless and head confused; in such a condition how can one think and work to any good purpose? We intend to live very modestly and quietly and yet we shall be happy...*

To Constanze (his wife) July 7, 1791
You can not imagine how slowly time goes when you are not with me! I can't describe the feeling; there is a sort of sense of emptiness, which hurts a certain longing which can not be satisfied, and hence never ends, but grows day by day. ...My work gives me no pleasure, because it is not possible as was my wont, to chat a few words with you when stopping for a moment. If I go to the clavier and sing something from the opera [THE MAGIC FLUTE] I must stop at once because of my emotions. **

* Blom, Eric. Mozart's Letters. Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1961.

** Krehbiel, Henry Edward. Mozart: The Man and the Artist Revealed in His Own Words. NY: Dover Publications, Inc., 1965.

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