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´╗┐Title: Mozart: The Man and the Artist, as Revealed in His Own Words
Author: Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Mozart: The Man and the Artist, as Revealed in His Own Words" ***

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The following is the text of "Mozart: The Man and the Artist, as
Revealed in his own Words," compiled and annotated by Friedrich
Kerst and translated into english, and edited, with new
introduction and additional notes, by Henry Edward Krehbiel.
Each page was cut out of the original book with an X-acto
knife and fed into an Automatic Document Feeder Scanner to
make this e-text, so the original book was disbinded in order
to save it.

Some adaptations from the original text were made while
formatting it for an e-text. Italics in the original book were
ignored in making this e-text, unless they referred to proper
nouns, in which case they are put in quotes in the e-text.
Italics are problematic because they are not easily rendered in
ASCII text.

Franks, S. Harris, A. Montague, S. Morrison, J. Roberts, R. Rowe,
R. Tremblay, R. Zimmerman and several others for proof-reading.

Corrections for version 11 of this text made by Andrew Sly.










The German composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) was not
only a musical genius, but was also one of the pre-eminent
geniuses of the Western world. He defined in his music a system
of musical thought and an entire state of mind that were unlike
any previously experienced. A true child prodigy, he began
composing at age 5 and rapidly developed his unmistakable style;
by 18 he was composing works capable of altering the mind-states
of entire civilizations. Indeed, he and his predecessor Bach
accomplished the Olympian feat of adding to the human concepts of
civility and civilization. So these two were not just musical
geniuses, but geniuses of the humanities.

Mozart's music IS civilization. It encompasses all that is humane
about an idealized civilization. And it probably was Mozart's
main purpose to create and propagate a concept of a great
civilization through his music. He wanted to show his fellow
Europeans, with their garbage-polluted citystreets, their violent
mono-maniacal leaders and their stifling, non-humane bureaucracies,
new ideas on how to run their civilizations properly. He wanted
them to hear and feel a sense of civilized movement, of the
musical expressions of man moving as he would if upholding the
highest values of idealized societies. One need only listen to
the revolutionary opening bars of his famous Eine Kleine
Nachtmusik to see this.

He was an extremely sophisticated and complex man. His letters
reveal him as remarkably creative, fascinated by the arts,
principled, religious and devoted to his father. He had an
energetic personality that was almost completely devoid of any
cynicism, pessimism or discouragement from creating music. While
rumors suggest that he was a lascivious individual, there is no
evidence of this at all in his letters. Quite the contrary, the
evidence seems overwhelmingly to suggest the opposite, and that
Mozart may not have had any relations with women except with his
own wife.

He was not as shrewd as he was civilized, however. He was
peculiarly lax about profiting from his history-changing music.
His promoters constantly short-changed him.

He died nearly penniless and in debt, and at his death at age 35
an apathetic public took little notice of this man who had done
so much in service to civilization. He was buried in an unmarked
pauper's grave with few mourners. After his death, the bones of
this great paragon of self-sacrifice for the sake of improving
civilization were dug up and disposed of. His grave was then
re-used, and to this day no one knows where his bones lie. Perhaps
they are in a catacomb somewhere, in a huge bone-pile containing
thousands of anonymous cadavers.

But the sounds he heard in his head live on, stimulating millions
in elevators, doctors' offices, train terminals, concert halls
and myriad other places to be more civilized, assuming that they
pay attention to the music.


The purpose and scope of this little book will be obvious to the
reader from even a cursory glance at its contents. It is, in a
way, an autobiography of Mozart written without conscious
purpose, and for that reason peculiarly winning, illuminating and
convincing. The outward things in Mozart's life are all but
ignored in it, but there is a frank and full disclosure of the
great musician's artistic, intellectual and moral character, made
in his own words.

The Editor has not only taken the trouble to revise the work of
the German author and compiler, but, for reasons which seemed to
him imperative, has also made a new translation of all the
excerpts. Most of the translations of Mozart's letters which have
found their way into the books betray want of familiarity with
the idioms and colloquialisms employed by Mozart, as well as
understanding of his careless, contradictory and sprawling
epistolary style. Some of the intimacy of that style the new
translation seeks to preserve, but the purpose has chiefly been
to make the meaning plain.


New York, June 7, 1905


Mozart! What a radiance streams from the name! Bright and pure as
the light of the sun, Mozart's music greets us. We pronounce his
name and behold! the youthful artist is before us,--the merry,
light-hearted smile upon his features, which belongs only to true
and naive genius. It is impossible to imagine an aged Mozart,--an
embittered and saddened Mozart,--glowering gloomily at a wicked
world which is doing its best to make his lot still more
burdensome;--a Mozart whose music should reflect such painful

Mozart was a Child of the Sun. Filled with a humor truly divine,
he strolled unconstrainedly through a multitude of cares like
Prince Tamino through his fantastic trials. Music was his
talisman, his magic flute with which he could exorcise all the
petty terrors that beset him. Has such a man and artist--one who
was completely resolved in his works, and therefore still stands
bodily before us with all his glorious qualities after the lapse
of a century--has Mozart still something to say to us who have
just stepped timidly into a new century separated by another from
that of the composer? Much; very much. Many prophets have arisen
since Mozart's death; two of them have moved us profoundly with
their evangel. One of them knew all the mysteries, and Nature
took away his hearing lest he proclaim too much. We followed him
into all the depths of the world of feeling. The other shook us
awake and placed us in the hurly-burly of national life and
striving; pointing to his own achievements, he said: "If you wish
it, you have now a German art!" The one was Beethoven,--the other
Wagner. Because their music demands of us that we share with it
its experiences and struggles, they are the guiding spirits of a
generation which has grown up in combat and is expecting an
unknown world of combat beyond the morning mist of the new

But we are in the case of the man in the fairy tale who could not
forget the merry tune of the forest bird which he had heard as a
boy. We gladly permit ourselves to be led, occasionally, out of
the rude realities that surround us, into a beautiful world that
knows no care but lies forever bathed in the sunshine of
cloudless happiness,--a world in which every loveliness of which
fancy has dreamed has taken life and form. It is because of this
that we make pilgrimages to the masterpieces of the plastic arts,
that we give heed to the speech of Schiller, listen to the music
of Mozart. When wearied by the stress of life we gladly hie to
Mozart that he may tell us stories of that land of beauty, and
convince us that there are other and better occupations than the
worries and combats of the fleeting hour. This is what Mozart has
to tell us today. In spite of Wagner he has an individual mission
to fulfill which will keep him immortal. "That of which Lessing
convinces us only with expenditure of many words sounds clear and
irresistible in 'The Magic Flute':--the longing for light and
day. Therefore there is something like the glory of daybreak in
the tones of Mozart's opera; it is wafted towards us like the
morning breeze which dispels the shadows and invokes the sun."

Mozart remains ever young; one reason is because death laid hold
of him in the middle of his career. While all the world was still
gazing expectantly upon him, he vanished from the earth and left
no hope deceived. His was the enviable fate of a Raphael,
Schiller and Korner. As the German ('tis Schumann's utterance)
thinks of Beethoven when he speaks the word symphony, so the name
of Mozart in his mind is associated with the conception of things
youthful, bright and sunny. Schumann was fully conscious of a
purpose when he called out, "Do not put Beethoven in the hands of
young people too early; refresh and strengthen them with the
fresh and lusty Mozart." Another time he writes: "Does it not
seem as if Mozart's works become fresher and fresher the oftener
we hear them?"

The more we realize that Wagner places a heavy and intoxicating
draught before us the more we shall appreciate the precious
mountain spring which laves us in Mozart's music, and the less
willing we shall be to permit any opportunity to pass unimproved
which offers us the crystal cup. In the mind of Goethe genius was
summed up in the name of Mozart. In a prophetic ecstasy he spoke
the significant words: "What else is genius than that productive
power through which deeds arise, worthy of standing in the
presence of God and Nature, and which, for this reason, bear
results and are lasting? All the creations of Mozart are of this
class; within them there is a generative force which is
transplanted from generation to generation, and is not likely
soon to be exhausted or devoured."


1. "If one has the talent it pushes for utterance and torments
one; it will out; and then one is out with it without
questioning. And, look you, there is nothing in this thing of
learning out of books. Here, here and here (pointing to his ear,
his head and his heart) is your school. If everything is right
there, then take your pen and down with it; afterward ask the
opinion of a man who knows his business."

(To a musically talented boy who asked Mozart how one might learn
to compose.)

2. "I can not write poetically; I am no poet. I can not divide
and subdivide my phrases so as to produce light and shade; I am
no painter. I can not even give expression to my sentiments and
thoughts by gestures and pantomime; I am no dancer. But I can do
it with tones; I am a musician....I wish you might live till
there is nothing more to be said in music."

(Mannheim, November 8, 1777, in a letter of congratulation to his
father who was born on November 14, 1719. Despite his assertion
Mozart was an admirable dancer and passionately devoted to the
sport. [So says Herr Kerst obviously misconceiving Mozart's
words. It is plain to me that the composer had the classic
definition of the dance in mind when he said that he was no
dancer. The dance of which he was thinking was that described by
Charles Kingsley. "A dance in which every motion was a word, and
rest as eloquent as motion; in which every attitude was a fresh
motive for a sculptor of the purest school, and the highest
physical activity was manifested, not as in coarse pantomime, in
fantastic bounds and unnatural distortions, but in perpetual
delicate modulations of a stately and self-sustained grace."

3. "The poets almost remind me of the trumpeters with their
tricks of handicraft. If we musicians were to stick as faithfully
to our rules (which were very good as long as we had no better)
we should make as worthless music as they make worthless books."

(Vienna, October 13, 1781, to his father. He is writing about the
libretto of "Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail," by Stephanie. The
trumpeters at the time still made use of certain flourishes which
had been traditionally preserved in their guild.)

4. "I have spared neither care nor labor to produce something
excellent for Prague. Moreover it is a mistake to think that the
practice of my art has become easy to me. I assure you, dear
friend, no one has given so much care to the study of composition
as I. There is scarcely a famous master in music whose works I
have not frequently and diligently studied."

(A remark to Conductor Kucharz in Prague, who led the rehearsals
for "Don Giovanni" in 1787.)

5. "They are, indeed, the fruit of long and painstaking labor;
but the hope which some of my friends aroused in me, that my work
would be rewarded at least in part, has given me courage and the
flattering belief that these, my offspring, will some day bring
me comfort."

(From the dedication of the Six Quartets to Haydn in 1785. The
quartets were sent back to the publisher, Artaria, from Italy,
because "they contained so many misprints." The unfamiliar chords
and dissonances were looked upon as printers' errors.
Grassalkowitsch, a Hungarian prince, thought his musicians were
playing faultily in some of these passages, and when he learned
differently he tore the music in pieces.)

6. "I can not deny, but must confess that I shall be glad when I
receive my release from this place. Giving lessons here is no
fun; you must work yourself pretty tired, and if you don't give a
good many lessons you will make but little money. You must not
think that it is laziness;--no!--but it goes counter to my
genius, counter to my mode of life. You know that, so to speak, I
am wrapped up in music,--that I practice it all day long,--that I
like to speculate, study, consider. All this is prevented by my
mode of life here. I shall, of course, have some free hours, but
they will be so few that they will be necessary more for
recuperation than work."

(Paris, July 31, 1778, to his father.)

7. "M. Le Gros bought the 'Sinfonie concertante' of me. He thinks
that he is the only one who has it; but that isn't so. It is
still fresh in my head, and as soon as I get home I'll write it
down again."

(Paris, October 3, 1778, to his father. An evidence of the
retentiveness of Mozart's memory. In this instance, however, he
did not carry out his expressed intention. Le Gros was director
of the Concerts spirituels.)

8. "Melody is the essence of music. I compare a good melodist to
a fine racer, and counterpointists to hack post-horses; therefore
be advised, let well alone and remember the old Italian proverb:
Chi sa piu, meno sa--'Who knows most, knows least.'"

(To the English tenor Michael Kelly, about 1786, in answer to
Kelly's question whether or not he should take up the study of

9. "One of the priests gave me a theme. I took it on a promenade
and in the middle (the fugue was in G minor) I began in the
major, with something jocose but in the same tempo; finally the
theme again, but backwards. Finally I wondered if I might not use
the playful melody as a theme for a fugue. I did not question
long, but made it at once, and it went as accurately as if Daser
had measured it for the purpose. The dean was beside himself."

(Augsburg, October 23, 1777, to his father. Daser was a tailor in

10. "Above us is a violinist, below us another, next door a
singing teacher who gives lessons, and in the last room opposite
ours, a hautboyist. Merry conditions for composing! You get so
many ideas!"

(Milan, August 23, 1771, to his "dearest sister.")

11. "If I but had the theme on paper,--worked out, of course. It
is too silly that we have got to hatch out our work in a room."

(A remark to his wife while driving through a beautiful bit of
nature and humming all manner of ideas that came into his head.)

12. "I'd be willing to work forever and forever if I were
permitted to write only such music as I want to write and can
write--which I myself think good. Three weeks ago I made a
symphony, and by tomorrow's post I shall write again to
Hofmeister and offer him three pianoforte quartets, if he has
the money."

(Written in 1789 to a baron who was his friend and who had
submitted a symphony for his judgment. F.A. Hofmeister was a
composer and publisher in Vienna.)

13. "You can do a thing like this for the pianoforte, but not for
the theatre. When I wrote this I was still too fond of hearing my
own music, and never could make an end."

(A remark to Rochlitz while revising and abbreviating the
principal air in "Die Entfuhrung.")

14. "You know that I had already finished the first Allegro on
the second day after my arrival here, and consequently had seen
Mademoiselle Cannabich only once. Then came young Danner and
asked me how I intended to write the Andante. 'I will make it fit
the character of Mademoiselle Rose.' When I played it, it pleased
immensely....I was right; she is just like the Andante."

(Mannheim, December 6, 1777, to his father. Rose Cannabich was a
pupil of Mozart's, aged thirteen and very talented. "She is very
sensible for her age, has a staid manner, is serious, speaks
little, but when she does speak it is with grace and amiability,"
writes Mozart in the same letter. It is also related of Beethoven
that he sometimes delineated persons musically. [Also Schumann.

15. "I have composed a Quintet for Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon
and Pianoforte, which has been received with extraordinary favor.
(Kochel, No. 452.) I myself think it the best thing I ever wrote
in my life."

(Vienna, April 10, 1784, to his father.)

16. "As an exercise I have set the aria, 'Non so d'onde viene,'
which Bach composed so beautifully. I did it because I know Bach
so well, and the aria pleases me so much that I can't get it out
of my head. I wanted to see whether or not in spite of these
things I was able to make an aria that should not be a bit like
Bach's. It isn't a bit, not a bit like it."

(Mannheim, February 28, 1778, to his father. The lovely aria is
No. 294 in Kochel's catalogue. The Bach referred to was Johann
Christian, the "London" Bach.)

17. "I haven't a single quiet hour here. I can not write except
at night and consequently can not get up early. One is not always
in the mood for writing. Of course I could scribble all day long,
but these things go out into the world and I want not to be
ashamed of myself when I see my name on them. And then, as you
know, I become stupid as soon as I am obliged to write for an
instrument that I can not endure. Occasionally for the sake of a
change I have composed something else--pianoforte duets with the
violin, and a bit of the mass."

(Mannheim, February 14, 1778, to his father. Mozart was ill
disposed toward the pianoforte at the time. His love for Aloysia
Weber occupied the most of his attention and time.)

18. "Herewith I am sending you a Prelude and a three-voiced Fugue
(Kochel, No. 394)....It is awkwardly written; the prelude must
come first and the fugue follow. The reason for its appearance is
because I had made the fugue and wrote it out while I was
thinking out the prelude."

(Vienna, April 20, 1782, to his sister Marianne. Here Mozart
gives us evidence of his manner of composing; he worked out his
compositions completely in his mind and was then able, even after
considerable time had elapsed, to write them down, in which
proceeding nothing could disturb him. In the case before us while
engaged in the more or less mechanical labor of transcription he
thought out a new composition. Concerning the fugue and its
origin he continues to gossip in the same letter.)

19. "The cause of this fugue seeing the light of this world is my
dear Constanze. Baron von Swieten, to whom I go every Sunday, let
me carry home all the works of Handel and Sebastian Bach after I
had played them through for him. Constanze fell in love with the
fugues as soon as she had heard them; she doesn't want to hear
anything but fugues, especially those of Handel and Bach. Having
often heard me improvise fugues she asked me if I had never
written any down, and when I said no, she gave me a good
scolding, for not being willing to write the most beautiful
things in music, and did not cease her begging until I had
composed one for her, and so it came about. I purposely wrote the
indication 'Andante maestoso,' so that it should not be played
too rapidly;--for unless a fugue is played slowly the entrance of
the subject will not be distinctly and clearly heard and the
piece will be ineffective. As soon as I find time and opportunity
I shall write five more."

(Vienna, April 20, 1782, to his sister Marianne. Cf. No. 93.
[Mozart's remark that he carried home "all the works" of Handel
and Bach, must, of course, be read as meaning all that were in
print at the time. H.E.K.])

20. "I have no small amount of work ahead of me. By Sunday week I
must have my opera arranged for military band or somebody will be
ahead of me and carry away the profits; and I must also write a
new symphony. How will that be possible? You have no idea how
difficult it is to make such an arrangement so that it shall be
adapted to wind instruments and yet lose nothing of its effect.
Well, well;--I shall have to do the work at night."

(Vienna, July 20, 1782, to his father who had asked for a
symphony for the Hafner family in Salzburg. The opera referred
to is "Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail.")

21. "I was firmly resolved to write the Adagio for the clock-maker
at once so that I might drop a few ducats into the hands of my
dear little wife; and I began it, but was unlucky enough--because
I hate such work--not to be able to finish it. I write at it every
day, but have to drop it because it bores me. If the reason for its
existence were not such a momentous one, rest assured I should let
the thing drop. I hope, however, to force it through in time. Ah,
yes! if it were a large clock-work with a sound like an organ I'd
be glad to do it; but as it is the thing is made up of tiny pipes
only, which sound too shrill and childish for me."

(Frankfort-on-the-Main, October 3, 1790, to his wife. "A Piece
for an Organ in a Clock." [Kochel's catalogue, No. 594.] It was
probably ordered by Count Deym for his Wax-works Museum on the
occasion of the death of the famous Field Marshal Laudon. The
dominant mood of sorrow prevails in the first movement; the
Allegro is in Handel's style.)


When he was twenty-two years old Mozart wrote to his father,
"I am strongly filled with the desire to write an opera." Often
does he speak of this ambition. It was, in fact, his true and
individual field as the symphony was that of Beethoven. He took
counsel with his father by letter touching many details in his
earlier operas, wherefore we are advised about their origin, and,
what is more to the purpose, about Mozart's fine aesthetic
judgment. His four operatic masterpieces are imperishable, and a
few words about them are in place, particularly since Mozart has
left numerous and interesting comments on "Die Entfuhrung aus dem
Serail." This first German opera he composed with the confessed
purpose of substituting a work designed for the "national lyric
stage" for the conventional and customary Italian opera. Despite
its Hispano-Turkish color, the work is so ingenuous, so German in
feeling, and above all so full of German humor that the success
was unexampled, and Mozart could write to his father: "The people
are daft over my opera." Here, at the very outset, Mozart's
humor, the golden one of all the gifts with which Mother Nature
had endowed him, was called into play. With this work German
comic opera took its beginning. As has been remarked "although it
has been imitated, it has never been surpassed in its musically
comic effects." The delightfully Falstaffian figure of Osmin,
most ingeniously characterized in the music, will create
merriment for all time, and the opera acquires a new, personal
and peculiarly amiable charm from the fact that we are privileged
to see in the love-joy of "Belmont" and "Constanze" an image of
that of the young composer and his "Stanzerl."

After "Die Entfuhrung" (1782) came "Le Nozze di Figaro" (1786),
"Don Giovanni" (1787), and "Die Zauberflote" (1791). It would be
a vain task to attempt to establish any internal relationship
between these works. Mozart was not like Wagner, a strong
personality capable of devoting a full sum of vital force to the
carrying out of a chosen and approved principle. As is generally
the case with geniuses, he was a child; a child led by momentary
conditions; moreover, a child of the rococo period. There is,
therefore, no cause of wonderment in the fact that Italian texts
are again used in "Le Nozze di Figaro" and "Don Giovanni," and
that another, but this time a complete German opera, does not
appear until we reach "Die Zauberflote."

Nevertheless it is possible to note a development towards a
climax in the four operas respecting Mozart's conception of the
world. It has been denied that there is a single red thread in
Mozart's life-work. Nevertheless our method of study will
disclose to us an ever-growing view of human lift, and a deeper
and deeper glimpse into the emotional and intellectual life of
man, his aims and destiny. From the almost commonplace conditions
of "Die Entfuhrung," where a rascal sings in the best of humor
of first beheading and then hanging a man, we reach a plane in
"The Marriage of Figaro," in which despite the refinement and
mitigation of Beaumarchais's indictment we feel the revolutionary
breeze freshly blowing. In "Don Giovanni" we see the individual
set up in opposition to God and the world, in order that he
fulfill his destiny, or live out his life, as the popular phrase
goes today. Here the tremendous tragedy which lies in the story
has received a musical expression quite without parallel,
notwithstanding the moderation exercised in the employment of
means. In "Die Zauberflote," finally, we observe the
clarification which follows the fermentation. Here we breathe the
pure, clear atmosphere of heaven, the atmosphere within which he
can live who has freed himself from selfish desire, thus gaining
internal peace, and who recognizes his ego only in the happiness
and welfare of others.

22. "I have an unspeakable desire to compose another opera....In
Italy one can acquire more honor and credit with an opera than
with a hundred concerts in Germany, and I am the happier because
I can compose, which, after all, is my one joy and passion....I
am beside myself as soon as I hear anybody talk about an opera,
sit in a theatre or hear singing."

(Munich, October 11, 1777, to his father, reporting an
expectation of making a position for himself in Italy.)

23. "I beg of you do your best that we may go to Italy. You know
my greatest longing--to write operas....Do not forget my wish to
write operas! I am envious of every man who composes one; I could
almost weep from chagrin whenever I hear or see an aria. But
Italian, not German; seria not buffa."

(Mannheim, February 2, 1778, to his father. Mozart wanted to go
with the Weber family (he was in love with Aloysia, his future
sister-in-law) to Italy while his father was desirous that he
should go to Paris.)

24. "I am strongly possessed by the desire to write an opera--
French rather than German, but Italian rather than either German
or French. Wendling's associates are all of the opinion that my
compositions would please extraordinarily in Paris. One thing is
certain; I would not fear the test. As you know I am able to
assimilate and imitate pretty much all styles of composition."

(Mannheim, February 7, 1778, to his father. Wendling was a
flautist in Mannheim.)

25. "I assure you that if I get a commission to compose an opera
I shall not be frightened. True the (French) language is of the
devil's own making, and I fully appreciate all the difficulties
that composers have encountered; but I feel myself as capable of
overcoming them as any other composer. Au contraire when I
convince myself that all is well with my opera, I feel as if my
body were afire--my hands and feet tremble with desire to make
the Frenchman value and fear the German. Why is no Frenchman ever
commissioned to write a grand opera? Why must it always be a
foreigner? In my case the most unendurable thing would be the
singers. Well, I'm ready. I shall begin no dickerings, but if I
am challenged I shall know how to defend myself. But I should
prefer to get along without a duel; I do not like to fight with

(Paris, July 31, 1778, to his father.)

26. "Do you imagine that I would write an opera comique in the
same manner as an opera seria? There must be as little learning
and seriousness in an opera buffa as there must be much of these
elements in an opera seria; but all the more of playfulness and
merriment. I am not responsible for the fact that there is a
desire also to hear comic music in an opera seria; the difference
is sharply drawn here. I find that the buffoon has not been
banished from music, and in this respect the French are right."

(Vienna, June 16, 1781, to his father. Mozart draws the line of
demarcation sharply between tragedy and comedy in opera.
["Shakespeare has taught us to accept an infusion of the comic
element in plays of a serious cast; but Shakespeare was an
innovator, a Romanticist, and, measured by old standards, his
dramas are irregular. The Italians, who followed classic models,
for a reason amply explained by the genesis of the art-form,
rigorously excluded comedy from serious operas, except as
intermezzi, until they hit upon a third classification, which
they called opera semiseria, in which a serious subject was
enlivened with comic episodes. Our dramatic tastes being grounded
in Shakespeare, we should be inclined to put down 'Don Giovanni'
as a musical tragedy; or, haunted by the Italian terminology, as
opera semiseria; but Mozart calls it opera buffa, more in
deference to the librettist's work, I fancy, than his own."--"How
to Listen to Music," page 221. H.E.K.])

27. "In opera, willy-nilly, poetry must be the obedient daughter
of music. Why do Italian operas please everywhere, even in Paris,
as I have been a witness, despite the wretchedness of their
librettos? Because in them music rules and compels us to forget
everything else. All the more must an opera please in which the
plot is well carried out, and the words are written simply for
the sake of the music and not here and there to please some
miserable rhyme, which, God knows, adds nothing to a theatrical
representation but more often harms it. Verses are the most
indispensable thing in music, but rhymes, for the sake of rhymes,
the most injurious. Those who go to work so pedantically will
assuredly come to grief along with the music. It were best if a
good composer, who understands the stage, and is himself able to
suggest something, and a clever poet could be united in one, like
a phoenix. Again, one must not fear the applause of the

(Vienna, October 13, 1781, to his father. The utterance is
notable as showing Mozart's belief touching the relationship
between text and music; he places himself in opposition to Gluck
whose ideas were at a later day accepted by Wagner. ["It was my
intention to confine music to its true dramatic province, of
assisting poetical expression, and of augmenting the interest of
the fable, without interrupting the action, or chilling it with
useless and superfluous ornaments; for the office of music, when
joined to poetry, seemed to me to resemble that of coloring in a
correct and well disposed design, where the lights and shades
only seem to animate the figures without altering the outline."
Gluck in his dedication of "Alceste" to the Grand Duke of
Tuscany. "The error in the genre of opera consists herein, that a
means of expression (music) has been made the end, while the end
of expression (the drama) has been made a means." Wagner, "Opera
and Drama." H.E.K.])

28. "Nota bene, what has always seemed unnatural in an aria are
the asides. In speech one can easily and quickly throw in a few
words in an aside; but in an aria, in which the words must be
repeated, the effect is bad."

(Munich, November 8, 1780, to his father. Mozart had been invited
to Munich to compose an opera, "Idomeneo, Re di Creta," for the
carnival of 1781. [In contradistinction to the observations
touching poetry and music in the preceding paragraph, this remark
shows that he nevertheless had a sense of dramatic propriety. He
accepted the form as he found it, but protested against the
things which stood in the way of its vitalization. H.E.K.])

29. "The second duet will be cut out entirely--more for the good
than the harm of the opera. You shall see for yourself, if you
read over the scene, that it would be weakened and cooled by an
aria or duet, which, moreover, would be extremely annoying to the
other actors who would have to stand around with nothing to do;
besides the magnanimous contest between 'Ilia' and 'Idamante'
would become too long and therefore lose in value."

(Munich, November 13, 1780, to his father. The reference is to
the opera "Idomeneo.")

30. "It will be better to write a recitative under which the
instruments can do some good work; for in this scene, which is to
be the best in the whole opera, there will be so much noise and
confusion on the stage that an aria would cut but a sorry figure.
Moreover there will be a thunder-storm which is not likely to
cease out of respect for an aria, and the effect of a recitative
between two choruses will be incomparably better."

(Munich, November 15, to his father. Mozart was at work on

31. "Don't you think that the speech of the subterranean voice
is too long? Think it over, carefully. Imagine the scene on the
stage. The voice must be terrifying--it must be impressive, one
must believe it real. How can this be so if the speech is too
long--the length itself convincing the listener of the
fictitiousness of the scene? If the speech of the 'Ghost' in
'Hamlet' were not so long it would be more effective."

(Vienna, November 29, 1780, to his father, who had made the
following suggestions respecting the opera "Idomeneo." "Idamante
and Ilia have a short quarrel (near the close of the opera) in a
few words of recitative which is interrupted by a subterranean
noise, whereupon the oracle speaks also from the depths. The
voice and the accompaniment must be moving, terrifying and most
extraordinary; it ought to make a masterpiece of harmony.")

32. "In a word: far-fetched or unusual words are always out of
place in an agreeable aria; moreover, I should like to have the
aria suggest only restfulness and satisfaction; and if it
consisted of only one part I should still be satisfied--in fact,
I should prefer to have it so."

(Munich, December 5, 1780, to his father. "Idomeneo" is still the
subject of discussion.)

33. "As to the matter of popularity, be unconcerned; there is
music in my opera for all sorts of persons--but none for long

(Munich, December 16, 1780, to his father, who had expressed a
fear that Mozart would not write down to the level of his public.
[On December 11, his father had written: "I recommend you not to
think in your work only of the musical public, but also of the
unmusical. You know that there are a hundred ignorant people for
every ten true connoisseurs; so do not forget what is called
popular and tickle the long ears." H.E.K.])

34. "I have had a good deal of trouble with him about the
quartet. The oftener I fancy it performed on the stage the more
effective it seems to me; and it has pleased all who have heard
it on the pianoforte. Raaff alone thinks it will make no effect.
He said to me in private: 'Non c'e da spianar la voce--it is too
curt.' As if we should not speak more than we sing in a quartet!
He has no understanding of such things. I said to him simply:
'My dear friend, if I knew a single note which might be changed
in this quartet I would change it at once; but I have not been
so completely satisfied with anything in the opera as I am with
this quartet; when you have heard it sung together you will talk
differently. I have done my best to fit you with the two arias,
will do it again with the third, and hope to succeed; but you
must let the composer have his own way in trios and quartets.'
Whereupon he was satisfied. Recently he was vexed because of one
of the words in his best aria--'rinvigorir' and 'ringiovenir,'
particularly 'vienmi a rinvigorir'--five i's. It is true it
is very unpleasant at the conclusion of an aria."

(Munich, December 27, 1780, to his father. Raaff was the
principal singer in the opera "Idomeneo," which Mozart had been
commissioned to write by the Elector for Munich. The observation
shows how capable Mozart was of appreciating foreign criticism.)

35. "My head and hands are so full of the third act that it would
not be strange if I were myself transformed into a third act. It
has cost me more care than an entire opera, for there is scarcely
a scene in it which is not interesting. The accompaniment for the
subterranean voice consists of five voices only--three trombones
and two French-horns, which are placed at the point from which
the voice proceeds. At this moment the whole orchestra is

(Munich, January 3, 1781, to his father, whom in the same letter
he invites to Munich to hear the opera.)

36. "After the chorus of mourning the King, the populace,
everybody, leave the stage, and the next scene begins with the
directions: 'Idomeneo in ginochione nel tempio (Idomeneus,
kneeling in the temple).' That will never do; he must come with
all his following. That necessitates a march, and I have composed
a very simple one for two violins, viola, bass and two oboes,
which is to be played a mezza voce, during which the King enters
and the priests make the preparations for the sacrifice. Then the
King sinks on his knees and begins his prayer. In Electra's
recitative, after the subterranean voice, the word 'Partono (they
go)' should be written in; I forgot to look at the copy made for
the printer and do not know whether or how the direction has been
written in. It seems silly to me that everybody should hurry away
only in order to leave Mademoiselle Electra alone."

(Munich, January 3, 1781, to his father.)

37. "I am glad to compose the book. The time is short, it is
true, for it must be performed about the middle of September; but
the circumstances connected with the performances, and a number
of other purposes, are of such a character that they enliven my
spirits in such a degree that I hurry to my writing desk and
remain seated there with great joy."

(Vienna, August 1, 1781, to his father. The opera referred to is
"Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail." The "circumstances" were the
court festivals which were to celebrate the coming of the Russian
Grand Duke, from which Mozart, as was his wont, expected all
manner of future benefits.)

38. "As regards the work of Stephanie you are right, of course,
but nevertheless the poetry is well fitted to the character of
the stupid, coarse and malicious Osmin. I know full well that the
style of the verse is none of the best, but it has so adjusted
itself to the musical thoughts (which were promenading in my
brain in advance) that the lines had to please me, and I will
wager there will be no disappointment at the performance. So far
as the songs are concerned they are not to be despised. Belmont's
aria 'O, wie angstlich' could scarcely have been written better
for music."

(Vienna, October 13, 1781, to his father. Stephanie was the
author of the libretto of "Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail.")

39. "An aria has been written for Osmin in the first act....You
have seen only the beginning and end of it, which must be
effective; the rage of Osmin is made ridiculous by the use of
Turkish music. In developing the aria I have given him (Fischer,
a bass) a chance to show his beautiful low tones. The 'By the
beard of the Prophet' remains in the same tempo but has quicker
notes, and as his anger grows continually, when one thinks that
the aria is come to an end, the Allegro assai must make the best
kind of an effect when it enters in a different measure and key.
Here is the reason: a man who is in such a violent rage oversteps
all order, all moderation; he forgets himself, and the music must
do the same.

"Inasmuch as the passions, whether violent or not, must never be
carried in their expression to the verge of disgust, and music,
even in the most awful situations must not offend the ear but
always please, consequently always remain music, I have not
chosen a key foreign to F (i.e. the key of the aria), but a
related one,--not the nearest, D minor, but the more distant, A
minor. You know how I have given expression to Belmont's aria,
'O, wie angstlich, O wie feurig,'--there is a suggestion of the
beating heart,--the violins in octaves. This is the favorite aria
of all who have heard it,--of myself, as well,--and is written
right into the voice of Adamberger. One can see the reeling and
trembling, one can see the heaving breast which is illustrated by
a crescendo; one hears the lispings and sighs expressed by the
muted violins with flute in unison. The Janizary chorus is, as
such, all that could be asked, short and jolly, written to suit
the Viennese."

(Vienna, September 26, 1781, to his father. Concerning the
composition of "Die Entfuhrung," Mozart delivered himself at
greater length and more explicitly than about any other opera.
From the above excerpt one can learn his notions touching musical
characterization and delineation. ["Turkish" music, or "Janizary"
music, is that in which the percussion effects of Oriental music
are imitated--music utilizing the large drum, cymbals, etc.

40. "The close will make a deal of noise; and that is all that
is necessary for the end of an act;--the noisier the better, the
shorter the better, so that the people shall not get too cool to

(Vienna, September 26, 1781, to his father. The Trio at the end
of the first act is the finale referred to.)

41. "My opera is to be performed again next Friday, but I have
protested against it as I do not want it to be ridden to death at
once. The public, I may say, are daft about this opera. It does a
fellow good to receive such applause."

(Vienna, July 27, 1782, to his father.)

42. "My opera was performed again yesterday, this time at the
request of Gluck. Gluck paid me many compliments on it. I am to
dine with him tomorrow."

(Vienna, August 7, 1782, to his father. [How Mozart and Gluck
differed in principle on the relation between text and music the
reader has already had an opportunity to learn. H.E.K.])

43. "The most necessary thing is that the whole be really
comical; then, if possible, there should be two equally good
female parts, one seria, the other mezzo carattere; but one must
be as good as the other. The third woman may be all buffa, also
all the men if necessary."

(Vienna, May 7, 1783, to his father, in Salzburg, where the Abbe
Varesco was to write an opera libretto.)

44. "It would be a pity if I should have composed this music for
nothing, that is to say if no regard is to be shown for things
that are absolutely essential. Neither you, nor Abbe Varesco, nor
I, reflected that it will be a bad thing, that the opera will be
a failure, in fact, if neither of the principal women appears on
the scene until the last minute, but both are kept promenading on
the bastion of the fortress. I credit the audience with patience
enough for one act, but it would never endure the second. It must
not be."

(Vienna, December 6, 1783, to his father. The opera in question,
entitled "L'Oca del Cairo," was never finished.)

45. "Abbe Varesco has written over the cavatina for Lavina:
a cui servira la musica della cavatina antecedente,--that is
the cavatina of Celidora. But that will never do. In Celidora's
cavatina the words are comfortless and hopeless, while in
Lavina's cavatina they are full of comfort and hope. Moreover it
is hackneyed and no longer customary habit to let one singer echo
the song of another. At best it might only be done by a soubrette
and her sweetheart at ultime parti."

(Vienna, December 24, 1783, to his father. The Italian phrase is
a direction that the music of a preceding cavatina might be used
for a second cavatina.)

46. "It is much more natural, since they have all come to an
agreement in the quartetto to carry out their plan of attack that
the men leave the stage to gather their helpers together, and the
women quietly retire to their retreat. All that can be allowed
them is a few lines of recitative."

(Vienna, December 24, 1783, to his father. The situation referred
to was in Varesco's opera which never reached completion.)

47. "At six o'clock I drove with Count Canal to the so-called
'Breitfeldischen Ball' where the pick of the beauties of Prague
are in the habit of congregating. That would have been something
for you, my friend! I fancy seeing you,--not walking, but
limping,--after all the pretty girls and women! I did not dance,
neither did I spoon;--the first because I was too tired, the
second because of my congenital bashfulness. But I saw with great
pleasure how all these people hopped about delightedly to the
music of my 'Figaro' turned into contradances and Allemands.
Here nothing is talked about except 'Figaro,' nothing played,
piped, sung or whistled except 'Figaro;' no opera is attended
except 'Figaro,' always 'Figaro.' Certainly a great honor for

(Prague, January 15, 1787, to a friend, whose name is unknown.)

48. "'Don Giovanni' was not written for the Viennese; rather for
the people of Prague, but most of all for me and my friends."

(Reported by Nissen, who also relates that Mozart often said
"The Bohemians are the ones who understand me." When "Le Nozze
di Figaro" received an enthusiastic reception in Prague, Mozart
said: "Because the Bohemians understand me so well I must write
an opera for them." The opera was "Don Giovanni.")

49. "I am just home from the opera; it was as crowded as ever.
The duet, 'Mann und Weib,' and the bells in the first act, were
repeated as usual,--also the trio of the boys in the second act.
But what delights me most is the silent applause! It is easy to
see how this opera is ever rising."

(Vienna, October 7, 1791, to his wife. The opera was "Die


50. "Herr Stein is completely daft on the subject of his
daughter. She is eight years old and learns everything by heart.
Something may come of her for she has talent, but not if she goes
on as she is doing now; she will never acquire velocity because
she purposely makes her hand heavy. She will never learn the most
necessary, most difficult and principal thing in music, that is
time, because from childhood she has designedly cultivated the
habit of ignoring the beat."

(Augsburg, October 23, 1777, to his father. Nanette Stein
afterward married Andreas Streicher, who was Schiller's companion
in his flight to Franconia. As Frau Streicher she became
Beethoven's faithful friend and frequently took it upon herself
to straighten out his domestic affairs.)

51. "If she does not get some thoughts and ideas (for now she has
absolutely none), it will all be in vain, for God knows, I can
not give her any. It is not her father's intention to make a
great composer out of her. 'She shall,' he says, 'not write any
operas, or arias, or symphonies, but only great sonatas for her
instrument and mine!' I gave her her fourth lesson today, and so
far as the rules of composition and her exercises are concerned I
am pretty well satisfied with her. She wrote a very good bass to
the first minuet which I set her, and has already begun to write
in three parts. It goes, but she gets bored too quickly. I can
not help her; progress is impossible, she is too young even if
she had talent. Unfortunately she has none; she must be taught
artificially; she has no ideas, there are no results, I have
tried in every sort of way. Among other things it occurred to me
to write down a very simple minuet and to see if she could write
a variation on it. In vain. Well, thought I, it is because she
does not know how to begin. I then began a variation of the first
measure and told her to continue it in the same manner; that went
fairly well. When she had made an end I asked her to begin
something of her own,--only the first voice, a melody. She
thought a full quarter of an hour, and nothing came. Thereupon I
wrote four measures of a minuet and said to her: 'Now look what
an ass I am; I have begun a minuet and can't finish even the
first part; be good enough to finish it for me.' She thought it
impossible. At length she produced a little something to my joy.
Then I made her finish the minuet, i.e. only the first voice. For
her home work I have given her nothing to do except to alter my
four measures and make something out of them, to invent another
beginning, to keep to the harmony if she must, but to write a new
melody. We shall see what comes of it tomorrow."

(Paris, May 14, 1778, to his father. The pupil was the daughter
of the Duke de Guines, an excellent flautist. "She plays the harp
magnificently," writes Mozart in the same letter; "has a great
deal of talent and genius, and an incomparable memory. She knows
200 pieces and plays them all by heart." When it came to paying
Mozart for the lessons the Duke was anything but a nobleman.)

52. "The Andante is going to give us the most trouble, for it is
full of expression and must be played with taste and accurately
as written in the matter of forte and piano. She is very clever
and learns quickly. The right hand is very good but the left
utterly ruined. I can say that I often pity her when I see that
she is obliged to labor till she gasps, not because she is unapt,
but because she can't help it,--she is used to playing so, nobody
ever taught her differently. I said to her mother and her that if
I were her regular teacher, I would lock up all her music, cover
the keyboard with a handkerchief, and make her practice both
hands at first slowly on nothing but passages, trills, mordents,
etc., until the difficulty with the left hand was remedied; after
that I am sure I could make a real clavier player out of her. It
is a pity; she has so much genius, reads respectably, has a great
deal of natural fluency and plays with a great deal of feeling."

(Mannheim, November 16, 1777, to his father. The pupil was Rose
Cannabich, to whom the sonata referred to is dedicated. Her
father, whom Mozart admired greatly as an able conductor, was
Chapelmaster of the excellently trained orchestra at Mannheim. He
lived from 1731 to 1798. [The Andante from which trouble was
expected was that which Mozart wrote with the purpose that it
should reflect the character of Rose Cannabich, a lovely and
amiable girl, according to all accounts. H.E.K.])

53. "This E is very forced. One can see that it was written only
to go from one consonance to another in parallel motion,--just as
bad poets write nonsense for the sake of a rhyme."

(From the exercise book of the cousin of Abbe Stadler who took
lessons in thorough-bass from Mozart in 1784. It is preserved in
the Court Library in Vienna.)

54. "My good lad, you ask my advice and I will give it you
candidly; had you studied composition when you were at Naples,
and when your mind was not devoted to other pursuits, you would,
perhaps, have done wisely; but now that your profession of the
stage must, and ought to, occupy all your attention, it would be
an unwise measure to enter into a dry study. You may take my word
for it, Nature has made you a melodist, and you would only
disturb and perplex yourself. Reflect, 'a little knowledge is a
dangerous thing;'--should there be errors in what you write, you
will find hundreds of musicians in all parts of the world capable
of correcting them, therefore do not disturb your natural gift."

(To Michael Kelly, the Irish tenor, to whom Mozart assigned the
parts of Basilio and Don Curzio at the first performance of "Le
Nozze di Figaro" in 1786. Kelly had asked Mozart whether or not
he should study counterpoint. [See No. 8. Three years later Kelly
returned to England, began his career as composer of musical
pieces for the stage. He was fairly prolific, but failed to
impress the public with the originality of his creative talent.
He went into the wine business, which fact led Sheridan to make
the witty suggestion that he inscribe over his shop: "Michael
Kelly, Composer of Wines and Importer of Music." He was born in
1764 and died in 1826. H.E.K.])

55. "This is generally the case with all who did not taste the
rod or feel the teacher's tongue when boys, and later think that
they can compel things to their wishes by mere talent and
inclination. Many succeed fairly well, but with other people's
ideas, having none of their own; others who have ideas of their
own, do not know what to do with them. That is your case."

(In a letter written in 1789 to a noble friend criticizing a

56. "Do not wonder at me; it was not a caprice. I noticed that
most of the musicians were old men. There would have been no end
of dragging if I had not first driven them into the fire and made
them angry. Out of pure rage they did their best."

(Reported by Rochlitz. Mozart was rehearsing the Allegro of one
of his symphonies in Leipsic. He worked up such a fit of anger
that he stamped his foot and broke one of his shoe-laces. His
anger fled and he broke into a merry laugh.)

57. "Right! That's the way to shriek."

(At a rehearsal of "Don Giovanni" the representative of Zerlina
did not act realistically enough to suit Mozart. Thereupon he
went unnoticed on the stage and at the repetition of the scene
grabbed the singer so rudely and unexpectedly that she
involuntarily uttered the shriek which the scene called for. [The
singer was Teresa Bondini, the place Prague, and the time before
the first performance of the opera which took place on October
29, 1787. H.E.K.])


58. "Herr Stein sees and hears that I am more of a player than
Beecke,--that without making grimaces of any kind I play so
expressively that, according to his own confession, no one shows
off his pianoforte as well as I. That I always remain strictly in
time surprises every one; they can not understand that the left
hand should not in the least be concerned in a tempo rubato. When
they play the left hand always follows."

(Augsburg, October 23, 1777, to his father. [We have here a
suggestion of the tempo rubato as played by Chopin according to
the testimony of Mikuli, who said that no matter how free Chopin
was either in melody or arabesque with his right hand, the left
always adhered strictly to the time. Mozart learned the principle
from his father who in his method for the violin condemned the
accompanists who spoiled the tempo rubato of an artist by waiting
to follow him. H.E.K.])

59. "Whoever can see and hear her (the daughter of Stein) play
without laughing must be a stone (Stein) like her father. She
sits opposite the treble instead of in the middle of the
instrument, so that there may be greater opportunities for
swaying about and making grimaces. Then she rolls up her eyes and
smirks. If a passage occurs twice it is played slower the second
time; if three times, still slower. When a passage comes up goes
the arm, and if there is to be an emphasis it must come from the
arm, heavily and clumsily, not from the fingers. But the best of
all is that when there comes a passage (which ought to flow like
oil) in which there necessarily occurs a change of fingers, there
is no need of taking care; when the time comes you stop, lift the
hand and nonchalantly begin again. This helps one the better to
catch a false note, and the effect is frequently curious."

(Augsburg, October 23, 1777. The letter is to his father and the
young woman whose playing is criticized is the little miss of
eight years, Nanette Stein.)

60. "When I told Herr Stein that I would like to play on his
organ and that I was passionately fond of the instrument, he
marveled greatly and said: 'What, a man like you, so great a
clavier player, want to play on an instrument which has no
douceur, no expression, neither piano nor forte, but goes on
always the same?' 'But all that signifies nothing; to me the
organ is nevertheless the king of instruments.' "

(Augsburg, October 17, 1777, to his father.)

61. "I had the pleasure to hear Herr Franzl (whose wife is a
sister of Madame Cannabich) play a concerto on the violin. He
pleases me greatly. You know that I am no great lover of
difficulties. He plays difficult things, but one does not
recognize that they are difficult, but imagines that one could do
the same thing at once; that is true art. He also has a
beautiful, round tone,--not a note is missing, one hears
everything; everything is well marked. He has a fine staccato
bow, up as well as down; and I have never heard so good a double
shake as his. In a word, though he is no wizard he is a solid

(Mannheim, November 22, 1777, to his father.)

62. "Wherein consists the art of playing prima vista? In this: To
play in the proper tempo; give expression to every note,
appoggiatura, etc., tastefully and as they are written, so as to
create the impression that the player had composed the piece."

(Mannheim, January 17, 1778, to his father. Mozart had just been
sharply criticizing the playing of Abbe Vogler. [See No. 66.])

63. "I am at Herr von Aurnhammer's after dinner nearly every day.
The young woman is a fright, but she plays ravishingly, though
she lacks the true singing style in the cantabile; she is too

(Vienna, June 27, 1781, to his father. Beethoven found the same
fault with Mozart's playing that Mozart here condemns.)

64. "Herr Richter plays much and well so far as execution is
concerned, but--as you will hear--crudely, laboriously and
without taste or feeling; he is one of the best fellows in the
world, and without a particle of vanity. Whenever I played for
him he looked immovably at my fingers, and one day he said 'My
God! how I am obliged to torment myself and sweat, and yet
without obtaining applause; and for you, my friend, it is mere
play!' 'Yes,' said I, 'I had to labor once in order not to show
labor now.' "

(Vienna, April 28, 1784, to his father in Salzburg, whither the
pianist Richter, whom he recommends to his father, is going on a
concert trip.)

65. "Meissner, as you know, has the bad habit of purposely making
his voice tremble, marking thus entire quarter and eighth notes;
I never could endure it in him. It is indeed despicable and
contrary to all naturalness in song. True the human voice
trembles of itself, but only in a degree that remains beautiful;
it is in the nature of the voice. We imitate it not only on wind
instruments but also on the viols and even on the clavier. But as
soon as you overstep the limit it is no longer beautiful because
it is contrary to nature."

(Paris, June 12, 1778, to his father. [The statement that the
tremolo effect could be imitated on the clavier seems to require
an explanation. Mozart obviously had in view, not the pianoforte
which was just coming into use in his day, but the clavichord.
This instrument was sounded by striking the strings with bits of
brass placed in the farther end of the keys which were simple and
direct levers. The tangents, as they were called, had to be held
against the strings as long as it was desired that the tone
should sound, and by gently repeating the pressure on the key a
tremulousness was imparted to the tone which made the clavichord
a more expressive instrument than the harpsichord or the early
pianoforte. The effect was called Bebung in German, and
Balancement in French. H.E.K.])

66. "Before dinner Herr Vogler dashed through my sonata prima
vista. He played the first movement prestissimo, the andante
allegro and the rondo prestissimo with a vengeance. As a rule,
he played a different bass than the one I had written, and
occasionally he changed the harmony as well as the melody. That
was inevitable, for at such speed the eyes can not follow, nor
the hands grasp, the music. Such playing at sight and...are all
one to me. The hearers (I mean those worthy of the name) can say
nothing more than they have seen music and clavier playing. You
can imagine that it was all the more unendurable because I did
not dare to say to him: 'Much too quick!' Moreover it is much
easier to play rapidly than slowly; you can drop a few notes in
passages without any one noticing it. But is it beautiful? At
such speed you can use the hands indiscriminately; but is that

(Mannheim, January 17, 1778, to his father.)

67. "They hurry the tempo, trill or pile on the adornments
because they can neither study nor sustain a tone."

(Recorded by Rochlitz as a criticism by Mozart of Italian singers
in 1789.)

68. "It is thus, they think, that they can infuse warmth and
ardor into their singing. Ah, if there is no fire in the
composition you will surely never get it in by hurrying it."

(According to Rochlitz Mozart used these words while complaining
of the manner in which his compositions were ruined by
exaggerated speed in the tempi.)


69. "We wish that it were in our power to introduce the German
taste in minuets in Italy; minuets here last almost as long as
whole symphonies."

(Bologna, September 22, 1770, to his mother and sister. Mozart as
a lad was making a tour through Italy with his father. [There
might be a valuable hint here touching the proper tempo for the
minuets in Mozart's symphonies. Of late years the conductors, of
the Wagnerian school more particularly, have acted on the belief
that the symphonic minuets of Mozart and Haydn must be played
with the stately slowness of the old dance. Mozart himself was
plainly of another opinion. H.E.K.])

70. "Beecke told me (and it is true) that music is now played in
the cabinet of the Emperor (Joseph II) bad enough to set the dogs
a-running. I remarked that unless I quickly escape such music I
get a headache. 'It doesn't hurt me in the least; bad music
leaves my nerves unaffected, but I sometimes get a headache from
good music.' Then I thought to myself: Yes, such a shallow-pate
as you feels a pain as soon as he hears something which he can
not understand."

(Mannheim, November 13, 1777, to his father. Beecke was a
conceited pianist.)

71. "Nothing gives me so much pleasure in the anticipation as the
Concert spirituel in Paris, for I fancy I shall be called on to
compose something. The orchestra is said to be large and good,
and my principal favorites can be well performed there, that is
to say choruses, and I am right glad that the Frenchmen are fond
of them....Heretofore Paris has been used to the choruses of
Gluck. Depend on me; I shall labor with all my powers to do honor
to the name of Mozart."

(Mannheim. February 28, 1778, to his father. On March 7 he
writes: "I have centered all my hopes on Paris, for the German
princes are all niggards.")

72. "I do not know whether or not my symphony pleases, and, to
tell you the truth, I don't much care. Whom should it please? I
warrant it will please the few sensible Frenchmen who are here,
and there will be no great misfortune if it fails to please the
stupids. Still I have some hope that the asses too will find
something in it to their liking."

(Paris, June 12, 1778, to his father. The symphony is that known
as the "Parisian" (Kochel, No. 297). It is characterized by
brevity and wealth of melody.)

73. "The most of the symphonies are not to the local taste. If I
find time I shall revise a few violin concertos,--shorten them,--
for our taste in Germany is for long things; as a matter of fact,
short and good is better."

(Paris, September 11, 1778, to his father, in Salzburg.
In the same letter he says: "I assure you the journey was
not unprofitable to me--that is to say in the matter of

74. "If only this damned French language were not so ill adapted
to music! It is abominable; German is divine in comparison. And
then the singers!--men and women--they are unmentionable. They do
not sing; they shriek, they howl with all their might, through
throat, nose and gullet."

(Paris, July 9, 1778, to his father. Mozart was thinking of
writing a French opera.)

75. "Ah, if we too had clarinets! You can't conceive what a
wonderful effect a symphony with flutes, oboes and clarinets
makes. At the first audience with the Archbishop I shall have
much to tell him, and, probably, a few suggestions to make. Alas!
our music might be much better and more beautiful if only the
Archbishop were willing."

(Mannheim, December 3, 1778, to his father. Mozart was on his
return to Salzburg where he had received an appointment in the
Archiepiscopal chapel. It seems that wood-wind instruments were
still absent from the symphony orchestra in Salzburg.)

76. "Others know as well as you and I that tastes are continually
changing, and that the changes extend even into church music;
this should not be, but it accounts for the fact that true church
music is now found only in the attic and almost eaten up by the

(Vienna, April 12, 1783, to his father, who was active as Court
Chapelmaster in Salzburg, and who had been asked by his son in
the same letter, when it grew a little warmer, "to look in the
attic and send some of your (his) church music.")

77. "The themes pleased me most in the symphony; yet it will
be the least effective, for there is too much in it, and a
fragmentary performance of it sounds like an ant hill looks,--
that is as if the devil had been turned loose in it."

(In a letter written in 1789 to a nobleman who was a composer and
had submitted a symphony to Mozart for criticism.)

78. "So far as melody is concerned, yes; for dramatic effect, no.
Moreover the scores which you may see here, outside those of
Gretry, are by Gluck, Piccini and Salieri, and there is nothing
French about them except the words."

(A remark made to Joseph Frank, whom Mozart frequently found
occupied with French scores, and who had asked whether the study
of Italian scores were not preferable.)

79. "The ode is elevated, beautiful, everything you wish, but too
exaggerated and bombastic for my ears. But what would you? The
golden mean, the truth, is no longer recognized or valued. To win
applause one must write stuff so simple that a coachman might
sing it after you, or so incomprehensible that it pleases simply
because no sensible man can comprehend it. But it is not this
that I wanted to discuss with you, but another matter. I have a
strong desire to write a book, a little work on musical criticism
with illustrative examples. N.B., not under my name."

(Vienna, December 28, 1782, to his father. "I was working on a
very difficult task--a Bardic song by Denis on Gibraltar. It is a
secret, for a Hungarian lady wants thus to honor Denis." When
Gibraltar was gallantly defended against the Spaniards, Mozart's
father wrote to him calling his attention to the victory. Mozart
replied: "Yes, I have heard of England's triumph, and, indeed,
with great joy (for you know well that I am an arch-Englishman)."
The little book of criticism never appeared.)

80. "The orchestra in Berlin contains the greatest aggregation of
virtuosi in the world; I never heard such quartet playing as
here; but when all the gentlemen are together they might do

(To King Frederick William II, in 1789, when asked for an opinion
on the orchestra in Berlin. The king asked Mozart to transfer his
services to the Court at Berlin; Mozart replied: "Shall I forsake
my good Emperor?")


81. "Holzbauer's music is very beautiful; the poetry is not
worthy of it. What amazes me most is that so old a man as
Holzbauer should have so much spirit,--it is incredible, the
amount of fire in his music."

(Mannheim, November 14, 1777, to his father. Ignaz Holzbauer was
born in Vienna, in 1711, and died as chapelmaster in Mannheim, on
April 7, 1793. During the last years of his life he was totally
deaf. The music referred to was the setting of the first great
German Singspiel, "Gunther von Schwarzburg.")

82. "There is much that is pretty in many of Martini's things,
but in ten years nobody will notice them."

(Reported by Nissen. Martini lived in Bologna from 1706 to 1784;
there Mozart learned to know and admire him. In 1776 he wrote a
letter to him in which he said that of all people in the world he
"loved, honored and valued" him most.)

83. "For those who seek only light entertainment in music nobody
better can be recommended than Paisiello."

(Reported by Nissen. Paisiello was born in Taranto in 1741,
composed over a hundred operas which, like his church music, won
much applause. He died in Naples in 1816. Mozart considered his
music "transparent.")

84. "Jomelli has his genre in which he shines, and we must
abandon the thought of supplanting him in that field in the
judgment of the knowing. But he ought not to have abandoned his
field to compose church music in the old style, for instance."

(Reported by Nissen. Jomelli was born in 1714 near Naples, where
he died in 1774. He was greatly admired as a composer of operas
and church music. He was Court Chapelmaster in Stuttgart from
1753 to 1769.)

85. "Wait till you know how many of his works we have in Vienna!
When I get back home I shall diligently study his church music,
and I hope to learn a great deal from it."

(A remark made in Leipsic when somebody spoke slightingly of the
music of Gassmann, an Imperial Court Chapelmaster in Vienna, and
much respected by Maria Theresa and Joseph.)

86. "The fact that Gatti, the ass, begged the Archbishop for
permission to compose a serenade shows his worthiness to wear the
title, which I make no doubt he deserves also for his musical

(Vienna, October 12, 1782, to his father. Gatti was Cathedral
Chapelmaster in Salzburg.)

87. "What we should like to have, dear father, is some of your
best church pieces; for we love to entertain ourselves with all
manner of masters, ancient and modern. Therefore I beg of you
send us something of yours as soon as possible."

(Vienna, March 29, 1783, to his father, Leopold Mozart in
Salzburg, himself a capable composer.)

88. "In a sense Vogler is nothing but a wizard. As soon as he
attempts to play something majestic he becomes dry, and you are
glad that he, too, feels bored and makes a quick ending. But what
follows?--unintelligible slip-slop. I listened to him from a
distance. Afterward he began a fugue with six notes on the same
tone, and Presto! Then I went up to him. As a matter of fact I
would rather watch him than hear him."

(Mannheim, December 18, 1777, to his father. Abbe Vogler was
trying the new organ in the Lutheran church at Mannheim. Vogler
lived from 1749 to 1814, and was the teacher of Karl Maria von
Weber (who esteemed him highly) and Meyerbeer. Mozart's criticism
seems unduly severe.)

89. "I was at mass, a brand new composition by Vogler. I had
already been at the rehearsal day before yesterday afternoon, but
went away after the Kyrie. In all my life I have heard nothing like
this. Frequently everything is out of tune. He goes from key to key
as if he wanted to drag one along by the hair of the head, not in
an interesting manner which might be worth while, but bluntly and
rudely. As to the manner in which he develops his ideas I shall say
nothing; but this I will say that it is impossible for a mass by
Vogler to please any composer worthy of the name. Briefly, I hear a
theme which is not bad; does it long remain not bad think you? will
it not soon become beautiful? Heaven forefend! It grows worse and
worse in a two-fold or three-fold manner; for instance scarcely is
it begun before something else enters and spoils it; or he makes so
unnatural a close that it can not remain good; or it is misplaced;
or, finally, it is ruined by the orchestration. That's Vogler's

(Mannheim, November 20, 1777, to his father.)

90. "Clementi plays well so far as execution with the right hand
is concerned; his forte is passages in thirds. Aside from this he
hasn't a pennyworth of feeling or taste; in a word he is a mere

(Vienna, January 12, 1782, to his father. Four days later Mozart
expressed the same opinion of Muzio Clementi, who is still in
good repute, after having met him in competition before the
emperor. "Clementi preluded and played a sonata; then the Emperor
said to me, 'Allons, go ahead.' I preluded and played some

91. "Now I must say a few words to my sister about the Clementi
sonatas. Every one who plays or hears them will feel for himself
that as compositions they do not signify. There are in them no
remarkable or striking passages, with the exception of those in
sixths and octaves, and I beg my sister not to devote too much
time to these lest she spoil her quiet and steady hand and make
it lose its natural lightness, suppleness and fluent rapidity.
What, after all, is the use? She is expected to play the sixths
and octaves with the greatest velocity (which no man will
accomplish, not even Clementi), and if she tries she will produce
a frightful zig-zag, and nothing more. Clementi is a Ciarlatano
like all Italians. He writes upon a sonata Presto, or even
Prestissimo and alla breve, and plays it Allegro in 4-4 time. I
know it because I have heard him! What he does well is his
passages in thirds; but he perspired over these day and night in
London. Aside from this he has nothing,--absolutely nothing; not
excellence in reading, nor taste, nor sentiment."

(Vienna, June 7, 1783, to his father and sister.)

92. "Handel knows better than any of us what will make an effect;
when he chooses he strikes like a thunderbolt; even if he is
often prosy, after the manner of his time, there is always
something in his music."

(Mozart valued Handel most highly. He knew his masterpieces by
heart--not only the choruses but also many arias. [Reported by
Rochlitz. H.E.K.])

93. "Apropos, I intended, while asking you to send back the
rondo, to send me also the six fugues by Handel and the toccatas
and fugues by Eberlin. I go every Sunday to Baron von Swieten's,
and there nothing is played except Handel and Bach. I am making a
collection of the fugues,--those of Sebastian as well as of
Emanuel and Friedemann Bach; also of Handel's, and here the six
are lacking. Besides I want to let the baron hear those of
Eberlin. In all likelihood you know that the English Bach is
dead; a pity for the world of music."

(Vienna, April 10, 1782, to his father. Johann Ernst Eberlin
(Eberle), born in 1702, died in 1762 as archiepiscopal
chapelmaster in Salzburg. Many of his unpublished works are
preserved in Berlin. The "English" Bach was Johann Christian, son
of the great Johann Sebastian. As a child Mozart made his
acquaintance in London.)

94. "I shall be glad if papa has not yet had the works of Eberlin
copied, for I have gotten them meanwhile, and discovered,--for I
could not remember,--that they are too trivial and surely do not
deserve a place among those of Bach and Handel. All respect to
his four-part writing, but his clavier fugues are nothing but
long-drawn-out versetti."

(Vienna, April 29, 1782, to his sister Nannerl.)

95. "Johann Christian Bach has been here (Paris) for a fortnight.
He is to write a French opera, and is come only to hear the
singers, whereupon he will go to London, write the opera, and
come back to put it on the stage. You can easily imagine his
delight and mine when we met again. Perhaps his delight was not
altogether sincere, but one must admit that he is an honorable
man and does justice to all. I love him, as you know, with all my
heart, and respect him; as for him, one thing is certain, that to
my face and to others, he really praised me, not extravagantly,
like some, but seriously and in earnest."

(St. Germain, August 27, 1778, to his father. Johann Christian
Bach was the second son of Johann Sebastian, and born in 1735.
He lived in London where little Wolfgang learned to know him in
1764. Bach took the precocious boy on his knee and the two played
on the harpsichord. [Bach was Music Master to the Queen. "He
liked to play with the boy," says Jahn; "took him upon his knee
and went through a sonata with him, each in turn playing a
measure with such precision that no one would have suspected
two performers. He began a fugue, which Wolfgang took up and
completed when Bach broke off." H.E.K.])

96. "Bach is the father, we are the youngsters. Those of us who
can do a decent thing learned how from him; and whoever will not
admit it is a..."

(A remark made at a gathering in Leipsic. The Bach referred to is
Phillip Emanuel Bach, who died in 1788.)

97. "Here, at last, is something from which one can learn!"

(Mozart's ejaculation when he heard Bach's motet for double
chorus, "Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied," at Leipsic in 1789.
Rochlitz relates: "Scarcely had the choir sung a couple of
measures when Mozart started. After a few more measures he cried
out: 'What is that?' and now his whole soul seemed to be in his

98. "Melt us two together, and we will fall far short of making a

(Said to the pianist Leopold Kozeluch who had triumphantly
pointed out a few slips due to carelessness in Haydn's

99. "It was a duty that I owed to Haydn to dedicate my quartets
to him; for it was from him that I learned how to write

(Reported by Nissen. Joseph Haydn once said, when the worth of
"Don Giovanni" was under discussion: "This I do know, that Mozart
is the greatest composer in the world today.")

100. "Nobody can do everything,--jest and terrify, cause laughter
or move profoundly,--like Joseph Haydn."

(Reported by Nissen [the biographer who married Mozart's widow.

101. "Keep your eyes on him; he'll make the world talk of himself
some day!"

(A remark made by Mozart in reference to Beethoven in the spring
of 1787. It was the only meeting between the two composers. [The
prophetic observation was called out by Beethoven's improvisation
on a theme from "Le Nozze di Figaro." H.E.K.])

102. "Attwood is a young man for whom I have a sincere affection
and esteem; he conducts himself with great propriety, and I feel
much pleasure in telling you that he partakes more of my style
than any scholar I ever had, and I predict that he will prove a
sound musician."

(Remarked in 1786 to Michael Kelly, who was a friend of Attwood
and a pupil of Mozart at the time. [Thomas Attwood was an English
musician, born in 1765. He was chorister of the Chapel Royal at
the age of nine, and at sixteen attracted the attention of the
Prince of Wales, afterward George IV., who sent him to Italy to
study. He studied two years in Naples and one year in Vienna with
Mozart. Returned to London he first composed for the theatre and
afterward largely for the church. He and Mendelssohn were devoted
friends. H.E.K.])

103. "If the oboist Fischer did not play better when we heard him
in Holland (1766) than he plays now, he certainly does not
deserve the reputation which he has. Yet, between ourselves, I
was too young at the time to pronounce a judgment; I remember
that he pleased me exceedingly, and the whole world. It is
explained easily enough if one but realizes that tastes have
changed mightily since then. You would think that he plays
according to the old school; but no! he plays like a wretched
pupil....And then his concertos, his compositions! Every
ritornello lasts a quarter of an hour; then the hero appears,
lifts one leaden foot after the other and plumps them down
alternately. His tone is all nasal, and his tenuto sounds like an
organ tremulant."

(Vienna, April 4, 1787, to his father. Johann Christian
Fischer--1733-1800--was a famous oboist and composer for his
instrument. [Fischer was probably the original of the many artists
of whom the story is told that, having been invited by a nobleman
to dinner, he was asked if he had brought his instrument with him,
replied that he had not, for that his instrument never ate. Kelly
tells the story in his "Reminiscences" and makes Fischer the hero.

104. "I know nothing new except that Gellert has died in Leipsic
and since then has written no more poetry."

(Milan, January 26, 1770. Wolfgang was on a concert tour with his
father who admired Gellert's writings and had once exchanged
letters with him. The lad seems to have felt ironical.)

105. "Now I am also acquainted with Herr Wieland; but he doesn't
know me as well as I know him, for he has not heard anything of
mine. I never imagined him to be as he is. He seems to me to be a
little affected in speech, has a rather childish voice, a fixed
stare, a certain learned rudeness, yet, at times, a stupid
condescension. I am not surprised that he behaves as he does here
(and as he would not dare do in Weimar or elsewhere), for the
people look at him as if he had fallen direct from heaven. All
stand in awe, no one talks, everyone is silent, every word is
listened to when he speaks. It is a pity that he keeps people in
suspense so long, for he has a defect of speech which compels him
to speak very slowly and pause after every six words. Otherwise
his is, as we all know, an admirable brain. His face is very
ugly, pockmarked, and his nose rather long. He is a little taller
than papa."

(Mannheim, December 27, 1777, to his father. On November 22,
Mozart had reported: "In the coming carnival 'Rosamunde' will be
performed--new poetry by Herr Wieland, new music by Herr
Schweitzer." On January 10, 1778, he writes: "'Rosamunde' was
rehearsed in the theatre today; it is--good, but nothing more. If
it were bad you could not perform it at all; just as you can't
sleep without going to bed!")

106. "Now that Herr Wieland has seen me twice he is entirely
enchanted. The last time we met, after lauding me as highly as
possible, he said, 'It is truly a piece of good fortune for me to
have met you here,' and pressed my hand."

(Mannheim, January 10, 1778.)

107. "Now I give you a piece of news which perhaps you know
already; that godless fellow and arch-rascal, Voltaire, is
dead--died like a dog, like a beast. That is his reward!"

(Paris, July 3, 1778, to his father, who, like the son, was a man
of sincere piety and abhorred Voltaire's atheism.)

108. "When God gives a man an office he also gives him sense;
that's the case with the Archduke. Before he was a priest he was
much wittier and intelligent; spoke less but more sensibly. You
ought to see him now! Stupidity looks out of his eyes, he talks
and chatters eternally and always in falsetto. His neck is
swollen,--in short he has been completely transformed."

(Vienna, November 17, 1781, to his father. The person spoken of
was Archduke Maximilian, who afterward became Archbishop of
Cologne, and was the patron of Beethoven. [The ambiguity of the
opening statement is probably due to carelessness in writing, or
Mozart's habit of using double negatives. H.E.K.])


Mozart's Germanism is a matter of pride to the German people. To
him "German" was no empty concept, as it was to the majority of
his contemporaries. He is therefore honored as a champion of
German character and German art, worthy as such to stand beside
Richard Wagner. Properly to appreciate his patriotism it is
necessary to hear in mind that in Mozart's day Germany was a
figment of the imagination, the French language, French manners
and Italian music being everywhere dominant. Wagner, on the
contrary, was privileged to see the promise of the fulfillment of
his strivings in the light of the German victories of 1870-1871.
When the genius of Germany soared aloft she carried Wagner with
her; Wagner's days of glory in August, 1876, were conditioned by
the great war with France. How insignificant must the patronage
of Joseph II, scantily enough bestowed on Mozart in comparison
with that showered on Salieri, appear, when we recall the
Maecenas Ludwig II.

109. "Frequently I fall into a mood of complete listlessness and
indifference; nothing gives me great pleasure. The most
stimulating and encouraging thought is that you, dearest father,
and my dear sister, are well, that I am an honest German, and
that if I am not always permitted to talk I can think what I
please; but that is all."

(Paris, May 29, 1778, to his father.)

110. "The Duke de Guines was utterly without a sense of honor and
thought that here was a young fellow, and a stupid German to
boot,--as all Frenchmen think of the Germans,--he'll be glad to
take it. But the stupid German was not glad and refused to take
the money. For two lessons he wanted to pay me the fee of one."

(Paris, July 31, 1778, to his father. Mozart had given lessons in
composition to the Duke's daughter. See No. 51.)

111. "An Italian ape, such as he is, who has lived in German
countries and eaten German bread for years, ought to speak
German, or mangle it, as well or ill as his French mouth will

(Said of the violoncellist Duport, the favorite of King William
I, of Prussia, in 1789, when Mozart was in Berlin and Duport
asked him to speak French.)

112. "I pray God every day to give me grace to remain steadfast
here, that I may do honor to myself and the entire German nation,
to His greater honor and glory, and that He permit me to make my
fortune so that I may help you out of your sorry condition, and
bring it to pass that we soon meet again and live together in
happiness and joy. But His will be done on earth as in heaven."

(Paris, May 1, 1778, to his father who had plunged himself in
debt and was giving lessons in order to promote the career of his
son. His sister also helped nobly.)

113. "If this were a place where the people had ears, hearts to
feel, and a modicum of musical understanding and taste, I should
laugh heartily at all these things; as it is I am among nothing
but cattle and brutes (so far as music is concerned). How should
it be otherwise since they are the same in all their acts and
passions? There is no place like Paris. You must not think
that I exaggerate when I talk thus of music. Turn to whom you
please,--except to a born Frenchman,--you shall hear the same
thing, provided you can find some one to turn to. Now that I am
here I must endure out of regard for you. I shall thank God
Almighty if I get out of here with a sound taste."

(Paris, May 1, 1778.)

114. "How popular I would be if I were to lift the national
German stage to recognition in music! And this would surely
happen for I was already full of desire to write when I heard the
German Singspiel."

(Munich, October 2, 1777. [A Singspiel is a German opera with
spoken dialogue. H.E.K.])

115. "If there were but a single patriot on the boards with me, a
different face would be put on the matter. Then, mayhap, the
budding National Theatre would blossom, and that would be an
eternal disgrace to Germany,--if we Germans should once begin to
think German, act German, speak German, and--even sing German!!!"

(Vienna, March 21, 1785, to the playwright Anton Klein of
Mannheim. It was purposed to open the Singspiel theatre in

116. "The German Opera is to be opened in October. For my part I
am not promising it much luck. From the doings so far it looks as
if an effort were making thoroughly to destroy the German opera
which had suspended, perhaps only for a while, rather than to
help it up again and preserve it. Only my sister-in-law Lange has
been engaged for the German Singspiel. Cavalieri, Adamberger,
Teyber, all Germans, of whom Germany can be proud, must remain
with the Italian opera, must make war against their countrymen!"

(Vienna, March 21, 1785, to Anton Klein. Madame Lange was Aloysia
Weber, with whom he was in love before he married her sister

117. "The gentlemen of Vienna (including most particularly the
Emperor) must not be permitted to believe that I live only for
the sake of Vienna. There is no monarch on the face of the earth
whom I would rather serve than the Emperor, but I shall not beg
service. I believe that I am capable of doing honor to any court.
If Germany, my beloved fatherland, of whom you know I am proud,
will not accept me, then must I, in the name of God, again make
France or England richer by one capable German;--and to the shame
of the German nation. You know full well that in nearly all the
arts those who excelled have nearly always been Germans. But
where did they find fortune, where fame? Certainly not in
Germany. Even Gluck;--did Germany make him a great man? Alas,

(Vienna, August 17, 1782, to his father. Mozart's answer in 1789,
when King Frederick William II of Prussia said to him: "Stay with
me; I offer you a salary of 3,000 thalers," was touching in the
extreme: "Shall I leave my good Emperor?" Thereupon the king
said: "Think it over. I'll keep my word even if you should come
after a year and a day!" In spite of his financial difficulties,
Mozart never gave serious consideration to the offer. When his
father advised him against some of his foreign plans he answered:
"So far as France and England are concerned you are wholly right;
this opening will never be closed to me; it will be better if I
wait a while longer. Meanwhile it is possible that conditions may
change in those countries." In a preceding letter he had written:
"For some time I have been practicing myself daily in the French
language, and I have also taken three lessons in English. In
three months I hope to be able to read and understand English
books fairly well.")

118. "The two of us played a sonata that I had composed for the
occasion, and which had a success. This sonata I shall send you
by Herr von Daubrawaick, who said that he would feel proud to
have it in his trunk; his son, who is a Salzburger, told me this.
When the father went he said, quite loud, 'I am proud to be your
countryman. You are doing great honor to Salzburg; I hope that
times will so change that we can have you amongst us, and then do
not forget me.' I answered: 'My fatherland has always the first
claim on me.' "

(Vienna, November 24, 1781, to his father. Mozart is speaking of
a concert which he had given. The sonata is the small one in D
major (Kochel, No. 381). Mozart often made merry over the
Salzburgians; he called them stupid and envious.)

119. "Thoroughly convinced that I was talking to a German, I gave
free rein to my tongue,--a thing which one is so seldom permitted
to do that after such an outpouring of the heart it would be
allowable to get a bit fuddled without risk of hurting one's

(Vienna, March 21, 1785, to Anton Klein.)


Beethoven is said to have been the first musician who compelled
respect for his craft,--he who, prouder than Goethe, associated
with royalties, and said of himself, "I, too, am a king!" Mozart
rose from a dependent position which brought him most grievous
humiliations; he was looked upon as a servant of the Archbishop
of Salzburg, and treated accordingly. At the time composers
and musicians had no higher standing. Mozart feels the
intolerableness of his position and protests against it on every
opportunity; he is conscious of his worth and intellectual
superiority. When he endures the grossest indignities from his
tormentor, Archbishop Hieronymus, it is for the sake of his
father whom he would save from annoyance. In all things else
he follows the example of his father, but in the matter of
self-respect he admonishes and encourages his parent. Although
Beethoven rudely rejected the condescending good will of the
great which would have made Mozart happy, and demanded respect
as an equal, it must be confessed that the generally manly
conduct of Mozart was an excellent preparation of the Viennese

120. "I only wish that the Elector were here; he might hear
something to his advantage. He knows nothing about me, knows
nothing about my ability. What a pity that these grand gentlemen
take everybody's word and are unwilling to investigate for
themselves! It's always the way. I am willing to make a test; let
him summon all the composers in Munich, and even invite a few
from Italy, Germany, England and Spain; I will trust myself in a
competition with them all."

(Munich, October 2, 1777, to his father. Mozart had hoped to
secure an appointment in Munich, but was disappointed.)

121. "I could scarcely refrain from laughing when I was
introduced to the people. A few, who knew me par renommee, were
very polite and respectful; others who know nothing about me
stared at me as if they were a bit amused. They think that
because I am small and young that there can be nothing great and
old in me. But they shall soon find out."

(Mannheim, October 31, 1777, to his father.)

122. "We poor, common folk must not only take wives whom we love
and who love us, but we may, can and want to take such because we
are neither noble, well-born nor rich, but lowly, mean and poor.
Hence we do not need rich wives because our wealth dies with us,
being in our heads. Of this wealth no man can rob us unless he
cuts off our heads, in which case we should have need of nothing

(Mannheim, February 7, 1778, to his father. Mozart had fallen in
love with Aloysia, daughter of the poor musician Weber.)

123. "I will gladly give lessons to oblige, particularly if I see
that a person has talent and a joyous desire to learn. But to go
to a house at a fixed hour, or wait at home for the arrival of
some one, that I can not do, no matter how much it might yield
me; I leave that to others who can do nothing else than play the
clavier,--for me it is impossible. I am a composer and was born
to be a chapelmaster. I dare not thus bury the talent for
composition which a kind God gave me in such generous measure (I
may say this without pride for I feel it now more than ever
before), and that is what I should do had I many pupils. Teaching
is a restless occupation and I would rather neglect clavier
playing than composition; the clavier is a side issue, though,
thank God, a strong one."

(Mannheim, February 7, 1778, to his father, who must have read
the words with sorrow, since he and his daughter Nannerl were
laboriously giving lessons and practicing economy to make
Mozart's journey possible and had to advance money to him.)

124. "I know of a certainty that the Emperor intends to establish
a German opera in Vienna, and is earnestly seeking a young
conductor who understands the German language, has genius and is
capable of giving the world something new. Benda of Gotha is
seeking the place and Schweitzer is also an applicant. I believe
this would be a good thing for me,--but with good pay, as a
matter of course. If the Emperor will give me a thousand florins,
I will write a German opera for him, and if then he does not wish
to retain me, all right. I beg of you, write to all the good
friends in Vienna whom you can think of that I would do honor to
the Emperor. If there is no other way let him try me with an

(Mannheim, January 10, 1778, to his father.)

125. "The greatest favor that Herr Grimm showed me was to lend me
15 Louis d'Or in driblets at the (life and) death of my blessed
mother. Is he fearful that the loan will not be returned? If so
he truly deserves a kick--for he shows distrust of my honesty
(the only thing that can throw me into a rage), and also of my
talent....In a word he belongs to the Italian party, is deceitful
and is seeking to oppress me."

(Paris, September 11, 1778, to his father, who was on a friendly
footing with the French encyclopaedist Grimm since the first
artistic tour made with little Wolfgang in 1763, when he owed
many favors to Grimm. Apparently Mozart here does an injustice to
his patron, who, it is true, thought highly of the Italian

126. "On my honor, I can't help it; it's the kind of man I am.
Lately when he spoke to me rudely, foolishly and stupidly, I did
not dare to say to him that he need not worry about the 15 Louis
d'Or for fear that I might offend him. I did nothing but endure
and ask if he were ready; and then--your obedient servant."

(Paris, September 11, 1778, to his father, at whose request Baron
Grimm had received the young artist in Paris, but at the same
time had exercised a sort of artistic guardianship over him.
Wolfgang had written to his father as early as August 27: "If you
write to him do not be too humble in your thanks;--there are
reasons." On another occasion: "Grimm is able to assist children,
but not adults. Do not imagine that he is the man he was.")

127. "You know that I want nothing more than good employment,--
good in character and good in recompense, let it be where it will
if the place be but Catholic...; but if the Salzburgians want me
they must satisfy my desires or they will certainly not get me."

(Paris, July 3, 1778, to his father, who wished to see his son in
the service of the archiepiscopal court at Salzburg.)

128. "The Prince must have confidence either in you or me, and
give us complete control of everything relating to music;
otherwise all will be in vain. For in Salzburg everybody or
nobody has to do with music. If I were to undertake it I should
demand free hands. In matters musical the Head Court Chamberlain
should have nothing to say; a cavalier can not be a conductor,
but a conductor can well be a cavalier."

(Paris, July 9, 1778.)

129. "If the Archbishop were to entrust it to me I would soon
make his music famous, that's sure....But I have one request to
make at Salzburg, and that is that I shall not be placed among
the violins where I used to be; I'll never make a fiddler. I will
conduct at the clavier and accompany the arias. It would have
been a good thing if I had secured a written assurance of the

(Paris, September 11, 1778, to his father who had urged him to
return to Salzburg to receive an appointment to the
conductorship. Mozart seems to have a premonition of the
treatment which he received later from the Archbishop.)

130. "I must admit that I should reach Salzburg with a lighter
heart if I were not aware that I have taken service there; it is
only this thought that is intolerable. Put yourself in my place
and think it over. At Salzburg I do not know who or what I am; I
am everything and at times nothing. I do not demand too much or
too little;--only something, if I am something."

(Strassburg, October 15, 1778, to his father, while returning
from Paris filled with repugnance to the Archbishop. "For aside
from obeying a praiseworthy and beautiful motive" (he means
filial affection), "I am really committing the greatest folly in
the world," he writes in the same letter.)

131. "The Archbishop can not recompense me for the slavery in
Salzburg! As I have said I experience great pleasure when I think
of visiting you again, but nothing but vexation and fear at the
thought of seeing myself at that beggarly court again. The
Archbishop must not attempt to put on grand airs with me as he
used to; it is not impossible, it is even likely that I would put
my fingers to my nose,--and I know full well that you would enjoy
it as much as I."

(Mannheim, November 12, 1778, to his father.)

132. "At 11 o'clock in the forenoon, a little too early for me,
unfortunately, we already go to table; we dine together,--the two
temporal and spiritual valets, Mr. the Controller, Mr. Zetti, the
Confectioner, Messrs. the two cooks, Ceccarelli, Brunetti and my
insignificance. N.B. The two valets sit at the head of the table;
I have at least the honor of sitting above the cooks. Well, I
simply think I am at Salzburg. At dinner a great many coarse and
silly jokes are cracked, but not at me, because I do not speak a
word unless of necessity and then always with the utmost
seriousness. As soon as I have dined I go my way."

(Vienna, March 17, 1781, to his father. The Archbishop was
visiting Vienna and had brought with him his best musicians whom,
however, he treated shabbily. At length the rupture came; Mozart
was dismissed--literally with a kick.)

133. "Believe me, best of fathers, that I must summon all my
manhood to write to you what reason commands. God knows how hard
it is for me to leave you; but if beggary were my lot I would no
longer serve such a master; for that I shall never forget as long
as I live,--and I beg of you, I beg of you for the sake of
everything in the world, encourage me in my determination instead
of trying to dissuade me. That would unfit me for what I must do.
For it is my desire and hope to win honor, fame and money, and I
hope to be of greater service to you in Vienna than in Salzburg."

(Vienna, May 12, 1781, to his father.)

134. "I did not know that I was a valet de chambre, and that
broke my neck. I ought to have wasted a few hours every forenoon
in the antechamber. I was often told that I should let myself be
seen, but I could not recall that this was my duty and came
punctually only when the Archbishop summoned me."

(Vienna, May 12, 1781.)

135. "To please you, best of fathers, I would sacrifice my
happiness, my health and my life; but my honor is my own, and
ought to be above all else to you. Let Count Arco and all
Salzburg read this letter."

(Vienna, May 19, 1781. It was Count Arco who had dismissed Mozart
with a kick. The father was thrown into consternation at the
maltreatment of his son and sought to persuade Mozart to return
to Salzburg. Mozart replied: "Best, dearest father, ask of me
anything you please but not that; the very thought makes me
tremble with rage.")

136. "You did not think when you wrote this that such a back-step
would stamp me as one of the most contemptible fellows in the
world. All Vienna knows that I have left the Archbishop, knows
why, knows that it is because of my injured honor, of an injury
inflicted three times,--and I am to make a public denial,
proclaim myself a cur and the Archbishop a noble prince? No man
could do the former, least of all I, and the second can only be
done by God if He should choose to enlighten him."

(Vienna, May 19, 1781, to his father, who had asked him to return
to the service of the Archbishop.)

137. "If it be happiness to be rid of a prince who never pays
one, but torments him to death, then I am happy. For if I had to
work from morning till night I would do it gladly rather than
live off the bounty of such a,--I do not dare to call him by the
name he deserves,--I was forced to take the step I did and I can
not swerve a hair's breadth from it; impossible."

(Vienna, May 19, 1781.)

138. "Salzburg is nothing now to me except it offer an
opportunity to give the Count a kick...even if it were in the
public street. I desire no satisfaction from the Archbishop, for
he is not in a position to offer me the kind that I want and must
have. Within a day or two I shall write to the Count telling him
what he can confidently expect to receive from me the first time
I meet him, be it where it may, except a place that commands my

(Vienna, June 13, 1781, to his father. Count Arco's offence has
been mentioned. On June 16 Mozart wrote: "The hungry ass shall
not escape my chastisement if I have to wait twenty years; for as
soon as I see him he shall come in contact with my foot, unless I
should be so unfortunate as to see him in the sanctuary." [The
reader will probably guess that the translator is resorting to
euphemisms in rendering Mozart's language. H.E.K.])

139. "It is the heart that confers the patent of nobility on man;
and although I am no count I probably have more honor within me
than many a count. Menial or count, whoever insults me is a cur.
I shall begin by representing to him, with complete gravity, how
badly he did his business, but at the end I shall have to assure
him in writing that he is to expect a kick...and a box on the
ear from me; for if a man insults me I have got to be revenged,
and if I give him no more than he gave me, it is mere retaliation
and not punishment. Besides I should thus put myself on a level
with him, and I am too proud to compare myself with such a stupid

(Vienna, June 20, 1781, to his father. These expressions, called
out by the insulting treatment received from the Archbishop and
Count Arco, are in striking contrast to Mozart's habitual

140. "I can easily believe that the court parasites will look
askance at you, but why need you disturb yourself about such a
miserable pack? The more inimical such persons are to you the
greater the pride and contempt with which you should look down
upon them."

(Vienna, June 20, 1778, to his father, who fears that some of the
consequences of his son's step may be visited upon him.)

141. "I do not ask of you that you make a disturbance or enter
the least complaint, but the Archbishop and the whole pack must
fear to speak to you about this matter, for you (if compelled)
can without the slightest alarm say frankly that you would be
ashamed to have reared a son who would have accepted abuse from
such an infamous cur as Arco; and you may assure all that if I
had the good luck to meet him today I should treat him as he
deserves, and that he would have occasion to remember me the
rest of his life. All that I want is that everybody shall see
in your bearing that you have nothing to fear. Keep quiet; but
if necessary, speak, and then to some purpose."

(Vienna, July 4, 1781, to his father.)

142. "I may say that because of Vogler, Winter was always my
greatest enemy. But because he is a beast in his mode of life,
and in all other matters a child, I would be ashamed to set down
a single word on his account; he deserves the contempt of all
honorable men. I will, therefore, not tell infamous truths rather
than infamous lies about him."

(Vienna, December 22, 1781, to his father, to whose ears Peter
Winter, a composer, had brought slanderous reports concerning
Mozart and his Constanze. Winter was a pupil of Abbe Vogler. See
No. 66.)

143. "He is a nice fellow and a good friend of mine; I might
often dine with him, but it is a custom with me never to take pay
for my favors; nor would a dish of soup pay them. Yet such people
have wonderful notions of what they accomplish with one....I am
fond of doing favors for people but they must not plague me. She
(the daughter) is not satisfied if I spend two hours every day
with her, but wants me to loll about the whole day; yet she tries
to play the well behaved one."

(Vienna, August 22, 1781, to his father. Mozart is writing about
a landlord and his daughter concerning whom favorable reports had
reached the ears of the father. Mozart explains matters and soon
thereafter announces a change of lodgings.)

144. "I beg of you that when you write to me about something in
my conduct which is displeasing to you, and I in turn give you my
views, let it always be a matter between father and son, and
therefore a secret not to be divulged to others. Let our letters
suffice and do not address yourself to others, for, by heaven, I
will not give a finger's length of accounting concerning my
doings or omissions to others, not even to the Emperor himself. I
have cares and anxieties of my own and have no use for petulant

(Vienna, September 5, 1781, to his father, who lent a willing ear
to gossips and was never chary of his reproaches. Mozart was
already twenty-five years old.)

145. "If I were Wiedmer I would demand the following satisfaction
from the Emperor: he should endure 50 strokes at the same place
in my presence and then he should pay me 6,000 ducats. If I could
not obtain this satisfaction I should take none, but thrust a
dagger through his heart at the first opportunity. N.B. He has
already had an offer of 3,000 ducats on condition that he does
not come to Vienna, but permits the matter to drop. The people of
Innsbruck say of Wiedmer: he who was scourged for our sake will
also redeem us."

(Vienna, August 8, 1781, to his father. Herr von Wiedmer was a
nobleman and theatre director, who, without cause, had been
sentenced to a whipping by the president, Count Wolkenstein, on
the complaint of another nobleman. [Mozart's bloodthirstiness was
probably due to memories of Arco's kick still rankling in his
heart. It was only after long solicitation from his father that
he abandoned his plan to send Arco the threatened letter.

146. "You perhaps already know that the musico Marquesi--
Marquesius di Milano--was poisoned in Naples; but how! He was
in love with a duchess and her real amant grew jealous and sent
three or four bravos to Marquesi and left him the choice of
drinking poison or being massacred. He chose the poison. Being a
timid Italian he died alone and left his gentlemen murderers to
live in rest and peace. Had they come into my room, I would have
taken a few of them with me into the other world, as long as some
one had to die. Pity for so excellent a singer!"

(Munich, December 30, 1780, to his father. Mozart, on the whole,
was one of the most peaceable men on earth, but he was not
wanting in personal courage, and he could fly into transports of

147. "If you were to write also to Prince Zeil I should be glad.
But short and good. Do not by any means crawl! That I can not

(Mannheim, December 10, 1777, to his father. Count Ferdinand von
Zeil was Prince Bishop of Chimsee and favorably disposed towards
Mozart, who was hoping for an appointment in Munich. "If he wants
to do something he can; all Munich told me that." Nothing came of

148. "Whoever judges me by such bagatelles is also a scamp!"

(Mozart wrote many occasional pieces for his friends,--fitting
them to the players' capacities. Mozart said that the publisher
who bought some of these "bagatelles" and printed them without
applying to him was a scamp (Lump), but took no proceedings
against him.)

149. "Very well; then I shall earn nothing more, go hungry and
the devil a bit will I care!"

(Mozart's answer to Hofmeister, the Leipsic publisher, who had
said: "Write in a more popular style or I can neither print nor
pay for anything of yours.")


150. "We live in this world only that we may go onward without
ceasing, a peculiar help in this direction being that one
enlightens the other by communicating his ideas; in the sciences
and fine arts there is always more to learn."

(Salzburg, September 7, 1776, to Padre Martini of Bologna, whose
opinion he asks concerning a motet which the Archbishop of
Salzburg had faulted.)

151. "I am just now reading 'Telemachus;' I am in the second

(Bologna, September 8, 1770, to his mother and sister.)

152. "Because you said yesterday that you could understand
anything, and that I might write what I please in Latin,
curiosity has led me to try you with some Latin lines. Have the
kindness when you have solved the problem to send the result to
me by the Hagenauer servant maid."

"Cuperem scire, de qua causa, a quam plurimis adolescentibus
ottium usque adeo aestimetur, ut ipsi se nec verbis, nec
verberibus ab hoc sinant abduci."

(The Archiepiscopal concertmaster, aged 13, writes thus to a girl

153. "Since then I have exercised myself daily in the French
language, and already taken three lessons in English. In three
months I hope to be able to read and understand the English books
fairly well."

(Vienna, August 17, 1782, to his father. Mozart had given it out
that he intended to go to Paris or London. Prince Kaunitz had
said to Archduke Maximilian that men like Mozart lived but once
in a hundred years, and should not be driven out of Germany.
Mozart, however, writes to his father: "But I do not want to wait
on charity; I find that, even if it were the Emperor, I am not
dependent on his bounty.")

154. "I place my confidence in three friends, and they are strong
and invincible friends, viz: God, your head and my head. True our
heads differ, but each is very good, serviceable, and useful in
its genre, and in time I hope that my head will be as good as
yours in the field in which now yours is superior."

(Mannheim, February 28, 1778, to his father.)

155. "Believe me, I do not love idleness, but work. True it was
difficult in Salzburg and cost me an effort and I could scarcely
persuade myself. Why? Because I was not happy there. You must
admit that, for me at least, there was not a pennyworth of
entertainment in Salzburg. I do not want to associate with many
and of the majority of the rest I am not fond. There is no
encouragement for my talent! If I play, or one of my compositions
is performed, the audience might as well consist of tables and
chairs....In Salzburg I sigh for a hundred amusements, and here
for not one; to live in Vienna is amusement enough."

(Vienna, May 26, 1781, to his father, who was concerned as to the
progress making in Vienna.)

156. "I beg of you, best and dearest of fathers, do not write me
any more letters of this kind,--I conjure you, for they serve no
other purpose than to heat my head and disturb my heart and mood.
And I, who must compose continually, need a clear head and quiet

(Vienna, June 9, 1781, to his father, who had reproached him
because of his rupture with the Archbishop.)

157. "If there ever was a time when I was not thinking about
marriage it is now. I wish for nothing less than a rich wife, and
if I could make my fortune by marriage now I should perforce have
to wait, because I have very different things in my head. God did
not give me my talent to put it a-dangle on a wife, and spend my
young life in inactivity. I am just beginning life, and shall I
embitter it myself? I have nothing against matrimony, but for me
it would be an evil just now."

(Vienna, July 25, 1781, to his father, who was solicitous lest he
fall in love with one of the daughters in the Weber family with
whom he was living. All manner of rumors had been carried to him.
The father persuaded his son to seek other lodgings; but
Constanze Weber eventually became Mozart's wife nevertheless.)

158. "This sort of composer can do nothing in this genre. He has
no conception of what is wanted. Lord! if God had only given me
such a place in the church and before such an orchestra!"

(A remark made in Leipsic, in 1789, in reference to a composer
who was suited to comic opera work, but had received an
appointment as Church composer. Mozart examined a mass of his and
said: "It sounds all very well, but not in church." He then
played it through with new words improvised by himself, such as
(in the Cum sancto spiritu) "Stolen property, gentlemen, but no

159. "You see my intentions are good; but if you can't, you
can't! I do not want to scribble, and therefore can not send you
the whole symphony before next post day."

(Vienna, July 31, 1782, to his father, who had asked for a
symphony for the Hafner family in Salzburg.)

160. "I do not beg pardon; no! But I beg of Herr Bullinger that
he himself apply to himself for pardon in my behalf, with the
assurance that as soon as I can do so in quiet I shall write to
him. Until now no such occasion has offered itself, for as soon
as I know that in all likelihood I must leave a place I have no
restful hour. And although I still have a modicum of hope, I am
not at ease and shall not be until I know my status."

(Mannheim, November 22, 1777, to his father. Abbe Bullinger was
the most intimate friend that the Mozart family had in Salzburg.
Mozart had been negligent in his correspondence.)

161. "To live well and to live happily are different things, and
the latter would be impossible for me without witchcraft; it
would have to be supernatural; and that is impossible for there
are no witches now-a-days."

(Paris, August 7, 1778, to his friend Bullinger, who had sought
to persuade him to return to Salzburg.)

162. "The Duke de Chabot sat himself down beside me and listened
attentively; and I--I forgot the cold, and the headache and
played regardless of the wretched clavier as I play when I am in
the mood. Give me the best clavier in Europe and at the same time
hearers who understand nothing or want to understand nothing, and
who do not feel what I play with me, and all my joy is gone."

(Paris, May 1, 1778, to his father. The Duchess had behaved very
haughtily and kept Mozart sitting in a cold room for a long time
before the Duke came.)


163. "I assure you that without travel we (at least men of the
arts and sciences) are miserable creatures. A man of mediocre
talent will remain mediocre whether he travel or not; but a man
of superior talent (which I can not deny I am, without doing
wrong) deteriorates if he remains continually in one place."

(Paris, September 11, 1778, to his father, who had secured an
appointment for him at Salzburg which he was loath to accept. He
asked that the Archbishop permit him to travel once in two years.
He feared that he "would find no congenial society" in Salzburg,
where, moreover, music did not stand in large appreciation.
Mozart's subsequent experiences were of the most pitiable

164. "Write me, how is Mr. Canary? Does he still sing? Does he
still pipe? Do you know why I am thinking of the canary? Because
there is one in our anteroom that makes the same little sounds as

(Naples, May 19, 1770, to his sister. Mozart was very fond of
animals. In a letter from Vienna to his sister on August 21,
1773, he writes: "How is Miss Bimbes? Please present all manner
of compliments to her." "Miss Bimbes" was a dog. At another time
he wrote a pathetic little poem on the death of a starling. While
in the midst of the composition and rehearsal of "Idomeneo" he
wrote to his father: "Give Pimperl (a dog) a pinch of Spanish
snuff, a good wine-biscuit and three busses.")

165. "Because of my disposition which leans towards a quiet,
domestic life rather than to boisterousness, and the fact that
since my youth I have never given a thought to my linen, clothing
or such things, I can think of nothing more necessary than a
wife. I assure you that I frequently spend money unnecessarily
because I am negligent of these things. I am convinced that I
could get along better than I do now on the same income if I had
a wife. How many unnecessary expenditures would be saved? Others
are added, it is true, but you know in advance what they are and
can adjust them;--in a word you lead a regulated life. In my
opinion an unmarried man lives only half a life; that is my
conviction and I can not help it. I have resolved the matter over
and over in my mind and am of the same opinion still."

(Vienna, December 15, 1781, to his father.)

166. "At present I have only one pupil....I could have several if
I were to lower my fee; but as soon as one does that one loses
credit. My price is twelve lessons for six ducats, and I make it
understood besides that I give the lessons as a favor. I would
rather have three pupils who pay well than six who pay ill. I am
writing this to you to prevent you from thinking that it is
selfishness which prevents me from sending you more than thirty

(Vienna, June 16, 1781, to his father. [In American money
Mozart's fee is represented by $1.20 per lesson. H.E.K.])

167. "I could not go about Vienna looking like a tramp,
particularly just at this time. My linen was pitiable; no servant
here has shirts of such coarse stuff as mine,--and that certainly
is a frightful thing for a man. Consequently there were again
expenditures. I had only one pupil; she suspended her lessons for
three weeks, and I was again the loser. One must not throw one's
self away here,--that is a first principle,--or one is ruined
forever. The most audacious man wins the day."

(Vienna, September 5, 1781, to his father, excusing himself for
not having made remittances.)

168. "Resent anything and at once you receive smaller pay.
Besides all this the Emperor is a skinflint. If the Emperor wants
me he ought to pay for me; the mere honor of being in his employ
is not enough. If the Emperor were to offer me 1,000 florins and
a count 2,000, I should present my compliments to the Emperor and
go to the count,--assuming a guarantee, of course."

(Vienna, April 10, 1782, to his father. Mozart was not too
industrious in the pursuit of a court appointment, yet had reason
to be hopeful. Near the end of his short life the appointment
came from Joseph II, to whom Mozart had been too faithful.)

169. "I described my manner of life to my father only recently,
and I will now repeat it to you. At six o'clock in the morning I
am already done with my friseur, and at seven I am fully dressed.
Thereupon I compose until nine o'clock. From nine to one I give
lessons; then I eat unless I am a guest at places where they dine
at two or even three o'clock,--as, for instance, today and
tomorrow with Countess Zichy and Countess Thun. I can not work
before five or six o'clock in the evening and I am often
prevented even then by a concert; if not I write till nine. Then
I go to my dear Constanze, where the delight of our meeting is
generally embittered by the words of her mother;--hence my desire
to free and save her as soon as possible. At half after ten or
eleven I am again at home. Since (owing to the occasional
concerts and the uncertainty as to whether or not I may be called
out) I can not depend on having time for composition in the
evening, I am in the habit (particularly when I come home early)
of writing something before I go to bed. Frequently I forget
myself and write till one o'clock,--then up again at six."

(Vienna, February 13, 1782, to his sister Marianne--Nannerl, as
he called her.)

170. "We do not go to bed before 12 o'clock and get up half after
five or five, because nearly every day we take an early walk in
the Augarten."

(Vienna, May 26, 1784, to his father, to whom he complains of his
maid-servant who came from Salzburg and who had written to the
father that she was not permitted to sleep except between 11 and
6 o'clock.)

171. "Now as to my mode of life: As soon as you were gone I
played two games of billiards with Herr von Mozart who wrote the
opera for Schickaneder's theatre; then I sold my nag for fourteen
ducats; then I had Joseph call my primus and bring a black
coffee, to which I smoked a glorious pipe of tobacco....At 5:30 I
went out of the door and took my favorite promenade through the
Glacis to the theatre. What do I see? What do I smell? It is the
primus with the cutlet Gusto! I eat to your health. It has just
struck 11 o'clock. Perhaps you are already asleep. Sh! sh! sh! I
do not want to wake you."

"Saturday, the 8th. You ought to have seen me yesterday at
supper! I could not find the old dishes and therefore produced a
set as white as snow-flowers and had the wax candelabra in front
of me."

(Vienna, October 7, 1791, to his wife, who was taking the waters
at Baden. Mozart was fond of billiards and often played alone as
on this occasion. He was careful of his health and had been
advised by his physician to ride; but he could not acquire a
taste for the exercise--Hence the sale of his horse. The primus
was his valet, a servant found in every Viennese household at the
time. Out of the door through which he stepped on beginning his
walk to the theatre his funeral procession passed two months

172. "I have done more work during the ten days that I have lived
here than in two months in any other lodgings; and if it were not
that I am too often harassed by gloomy thoughts which I can
dispel only by force, I could do still more, for I live
pleasantly, comfortably and cheaply."

(Vienna, June 27, 1788, to his friend Puchberg.)

173. "I have no conveniences for writing there (i.e. at Baden),
and I want to avoid embarrassments as much as possible. Nothing
is more enjoyable than a quiet life and to obtain that one must
be industrious. I am glad to be that."

(Vienna, October 8, 1791, to his wife at Baden. Mozart probably
refers to work on his "Requiem." He says further: "If I had had
nothing to do I would have gone with you to spend the week.")

174. "Now the babe against my will, yet with my consent, has been
provided with a wet nurse. It was always my determination that,
whether she was able to do so or not, my wife was not to suckle
her child; but neither was the child to guzzle the milk of
another woman. I want it brought up on water as I and my sister
were, but..."

(Vienna, June 8, 1783, to his father, the day after his first
child was born. The "Dear, thick, fat little fellow" died soon

175. "Young as I am, I never go to bed without thinking that
possibly I may not be alive on the morrow; yet not one of the
many persons who know me can say that I am morose or melancholy.
For this happy disposition I thank my Creator daily, and wish
with all my heart that it were shared by all my fellows."

(Vienna, April 4, 1787, to his father, shortly before the
latter's death. Mozart himself died when, he was not quite
thirty-six years old.)

176. "If it chances to be convenient I shall call on the Fischers
for a moment; longer than that I could not endure their warm room
and the wine at table. I know very well that people of their
class think they are bestowing the highest honors when they offer
these things, but I am not fond of such things,--still less of
such people."

(Vienna, December 22, 1781, to his sister. Mozart was acquainted
with the Fischer family from the time of his first journeys as a
child. The contrast which he draws between the artist and the
comfort-loving, commonplace citizen is diverting.)

177. "The Viennese are a people who soon grow weary and
listless,--but only of the theatre. My forte is too popular to be
neglected. This, surely, is Clavierland!"

(Spoken to Count Arco who had warned him against removing to
Vienna because of the fickleness of the Viennese public. He
wanted him to return to Salzburg.)

178. "I am writing at a place called Reisenberg which is an
hour's distance from Vienna. I once stayed here over night; now I
shall remain a few days. The house is insignificant, but the
surroundings, the woods in which a grotto has been built as
natural as can be, are splendid and very pleasant."

(Vienna, July 13, 1781, to his father. Like Beethoven, Mozart
loved nature and wanted a garden about his home.)

179. "I wish that my sister were here in Rome. I am sure she
would be pleased with the city, for St. Peter's church is
regular, and many other things in Rome are regular."

(Rome, April 14, 1770. A droll criticism from the traveling
virtuoso, aged 14, in a letter to his mother and sister.)

180. "Carefully thinking it over I conclude that in no country
have I received so many honors or been so highly appreciated
as in Italy. You get credit in Italy if you have written an
opera,--especially in Naples."

(Munich, October 11, 1777, to his father. An influential friend
had offered to help him get an appointment in Italy.)

181. "Strassburg can't get along without me. You have no idea how
I am honored and loved here. The people say that everything I do
is refined, that I am so sedate and courteous and have so good a
bearing. Everybody knows me."

(Strassburg, October 26, 1778, to his father, on his return
journey from Paris. On October 3 he had written: "I beg your
pardon if I cannot write much. It is because, unless I am in a
city in which I am well known, I am never in a good humor. If I
were acquainted here I would gladly stay, for the city is truly
charming--beautiful houses, handsome broad streets, and superb

182. "Oh, what a difference between the people of the Palatinate
and of Bavaria! What a language! How coarse! To say nothing of
the mode of life!"

(Mannheim, November 12, 1778, to his father. Mozart, while
returning from Paris, had stopped at his "dear Mannheim," where
at the moment a regiment of Bavarian soldiers were quartered, and
had just got news of the rudeness with which the people of Munich
had treated their Elector.)

183. "In Regensburg we dined magnificently at noon, listened to
divine table music, had angelic service and glorious Mosel wine.
We breakfasted in Nuremberg,--a hideous city. At Wurzburg we
strengthened our stomachs with coffee; a beautiful, a splendid
city. The charges were moderate everywhere. Only two post relays
from here, in Aschaffenburg, the landlord swindled us

(Frankfort-on-the-Main, September 29, 1790, to his wife. The
remark is notable because of the judgments pronounced on the
renaissance city Nuremberg, and the rococo city Wurzburg.)

184. "All the talk about the imperial cities is mere boasting. I
am famous, admired and loved here, it is true, but the people are
worse than the Viennese in their parsimony."

(Mozart went to Frankfort, in 1790, on the occasion of the
coronation of the emperor, hoping to make enough money with
concerts to help himself out of financial difficulties, but


Mozart's love for his father made him dependent on the latter to
the end of his days. He was a model son and must have loved his
wife devotedly, since, for her sake, he once in his life
disobeyed his father. The majority of his letters which have been
preserved are addressed to his father, to whom he reported all
his happenings and whose advice he is forever seeking. Similar
were his relations with his sister Marianne (Nannerl), whom he
loved with great tenderness. The letters to his wife are unique;
all of them, even the last, seem to be the letters of a lover.
They were a pair of turtle-doves.

Mozart was an ideal friend, ready to sacrifice to the uttermost
on the altar of friendship. It was this trait of character which
made him throw himself with enthusiasm into Freemasonry, whose
affiliations he sought to widen by drafting the constitution of a
community which he called "The Grotto." He probably hated only
one man in the world,--the Archbishop of Salzburg, his tormentor.

185. "The moment you do not trust me I shall distrust myself.
The time is past, it is true, when I used to stand on the settle,
sing oragna fiagata fa and kiss the tip end of your nose; but
have I therefore shown laxity in respect, love and obedience?
I say no more."

(Mannheim, February 19, 1779, to his father, who was vexed
because Mozart was showing a disposition to stay in Mannheim,
because of a love affair, instead of going to Paris. "Off with
you to Paris, and soon!" wrote the father. The Italian words are
meaningless and but a bit of child's play, the nature of which
can be gathered from Mozart's remark.)

186. "Pray do not let your mind often harbor the thought that I
shall ever forget you! It is intolerable to me. My chief aim in
life has been, is, and will be to strive so that we may soon be
reunited and happy....Reflect that you have a son who will never
consciously forget his filial duty toward you, and who will labor
ever to grow more worthy of so good a father."

(Mannheim, February 28, 1778, to his father.)

187. "The first thing I did after reading your letter was to go
on my knees, and, out of a full heart, thank my dear God for this
mercy. Now I am again at peace, since I know that I need no
longer be concerned about the two persons who are the dearest
things on earth to me."

(Paris, July 31, 1778, to his father, who had written that he and
Nannerl had comforted each other on the death of his mother.)

188. "Dearest, best of fathers! I wish you all conceivable good;
whatever can be wished, that I wish you,--but no, I wish you
nothing, but myself everything. For myself, then, I wish that you
remain well and live innumerable years to my great happiness and
pleasure; I wish that everything that I undertake may agree with
your desire and liking,--or, rather, that I may undertake nothing
which might not turn out to your joy. This also I hope, for
whatever adds to the happiness of your son must naturally be
agreeable also to you."

(Vienna, November 16, 1781, to his father, congratulating him on
his name-day. On March 17, 1778, Mozart had written from
Mannheim: "Your accuracy extends to all things. 'Papa comes
directly after God' was my maxim as a child and I shall stick to

189. "Our little cousin is pretty, sensible, amiable, clever and
merry, all because she has been in society; she visited Munich
for a while. You are right, we suit each other admirably, for
she, too, is a bit naughty. We play great pranks on the people

(Augsburg, October 17, 1777, to his father. The "little cousin"
was two years younger than Mozart. Her father was a master
bookbinder in Augsburg. The maiden seems later to have had
serious designs on the composer.)

190. "I shall be right glad when I meet a place in which there is
a court. I tell you that if I did not have so fine a Mr. Cousin
and Miss Cousin and so dear a little cousin, my regrets that I am
in Augsburg would be as numerous as the hairs of my head."

(Augsburg, October 17, 1777, to his father, whose birthplace he
was visiting on a concert tour. Mozart was vexed at the insolence
of the patricians.)

191. "In the case of Frau Lange I was a fool,--that's certain;
but what is a fellow not when he's in love? I did really love
her, and am not indifferent toward her even now. It's lucky for
me that her husband is a jealous fool and never permits her to go
anywhere, so that I seldom see her."

(Vienna, May 12, 1781, to his father, at the time when he was
being outrageously treated by the Archbishop. Frau Lange was
Aloysia Weber, sister of Constanze, to whom Mozart transferred
his love and whom he made his wife. Aloysia married an actor at
the Court Theatre, Josef Lange, with whom she lived unhappily.)

192. "I will not say that when at the house of the Mademoiselle
to whom I seem already to have been married off, I am morose and
silent; but neither am I in love. I jest with her and amuse her
when I have time (which is only evenings when I sup at home, for
in the forenoons I write in my room and in the afternoons I am
seldom at home); only that and nothing more. If I were obliged to
marry all the girls with whom I have jested I should have at
least 200 wives."

(Vienna, July 25, 1781, to his father, who had heard all manner
of tales concerning the relations of Mozart and Constanze Weber.)

193. "My good, dear Constanze is the martyr, and, perhaps for
that very reason, the best hearted, cleverest, and (in a word)
the best of them all. She assumes all the cares of the house, and
yet does not seem able to accomplish anything. O, best of
fathers, I could write pages if I were to tell you all the scenes
that have taken place in this house because of us
two....Constanze is not ugly, but anything but beautiful; all her
beauty consists of two little black eyes and a handsome figure.
She is not witty but has enough common sense to be able to
perform her duties as wife and mother. She is not inclined to
finery,--that is utterly false; on the contrary, she is generally
ill clad, for the little that the mother was able to do for her
children was done for the other two--nothing for her. True she
likes to be neatly and cleanly, though not extravagantly,
dressed, and she can herself make most of the clothes that a
woman needs; she also dresses her own hair every day, understands
housekeeping, has the best heart in the world,--tell me, could I
wish a better wife?"

(Vienna, December 15, 1781, to his father. Constanze seems to
have been made for Mozart; they went through the years of their
brief wedded life like two children.)

194. "Dearest, best of friends!"

"Surely you will let me call you that? You can not hate me so
greatly as not to permit me to be your friend, and yourself to
become mine? And even if you do not want to be my friend longer,
you can not forbid me to think kindly of you as I have been in
the habit of doing. Consider well what you said to me today.
Despite my entreaties you gave me the mitten three times and told
me to my face that you would have nothing further to do with me.
I, to whom it is not such a matter of indifference as it is to
you to lose a sweetheart, am not so hot tempered, inconsiderate
or unwise as to accept that mitten. I love you too dearly for
that. I therefore beg you to ponder on the cause of your
indignation. A little confession of your thoughtless conduct
would have made all well,--if you do not take it ill, dear friend,
may still make all well. From this you see how much I love you.
I do not flare up as you do; I think, I consider, and I feel. If
you have any feeling I am sure that I will be able to say to
myself before night: Constanze is the virtuous, honor-loving,
sensible and faithful sweetheart of just and well-meaning Mozart."

(Vienna, April 29, 1782, to his fiancee, Constanze Weber. She had
played at a game of forfeits such as was looked upon lightly by
the frivolous society of the period in Vienna. Mozart rebuked her
and she broke off the engagement. The letter followed and soon
thereafter a reconciliation. Mozart had said to her: "No girl who
is jealous of her honor would do such a thing.")

195. "She is an honest, good girl of decent parents;--I am able
to provide her with bread;--we love each other and want each
other!...It is better to put one's things to rights and be an
honest fellow!--God will give the reward! I do not want to have
anything to reproach myself with."

(Vienna, July 31, 1782, to his father, who had given his consent,
hesitatingly and unwillingly, to the marriage of his son who was
twenty-six years old. On August 7 Mozart wrote to him: "I kiss
your hands and thank you with all the tenderness which a son
should feel for his father, for your kind permission and paternal

196. "If I were to tell you all the things that I do with your
portrait, you would laugh heartily. For instance when I take it
out of its prison house I say 'God bless you, Stanzerl! God bless
you, you little rascal,--Krallerballer--Sharpnose--little
Bagatelle!' And when I put it back I let it slip down slowly and
gradually and say 'Nu,--Nu,--Nu,--Nu;' but with the emphasis
which this highly significant word demands, and at the last,
quickly: 'Good-night, little Mouse, sleep well!' Now, I suppose,
I have written down a lot of nonsense (at least so the world
would think); but for us, who love each other so tenderly, it
isn't altogether silly."

(Dresden, April 13, 1789, to his wife in Vienna.)

197. "Dear little wife, I have a multitude of requests;
1mo, I beg of you not to be sad.

"2do, that you take care of your health and not trust the spring

"3tio, that you refrain from walking out alone, or, better, do
not walk out at all.

"4to, that you rest assured of my love. Not a letter have I
written to you but that your portrait was placed in front of

"5to, I beg of you to consider not only my honor and yours in
your conduct but also in appearances. Do not get angry because of
this request. You ought to love me all the more because I make so
much of honor."

(Dresden, April 16, 1789, to his wife, in Vienna, who was fond of
life's pleasures.)

198. "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. When I
remember how childishly merry we were in Baden, and what
mournful, tedious hours I pass here, 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 (Die Zauberflote) I
must stop at once because of my emotions.--Basta!"

(Vienna, July 7, 1791, to his wife, who was taking the waters at

199. "I call only him or her a friend who is a friend under all
circumstances, who thinks day or night of nothing else than to
promote the welfare of a friend, who urges all well-to-do friends
and works himself to make the other person happy."

(Kaisersheim, December 18, 1778, to his father. Mozart was making
the journey from Mannheim to Munich in the carriage of a prelate.
The parting with his Mannheim friends, especially with Frau
Cannabich, his motherly friend, was hard. "For me, who never made
a more painful parting than this, the journey was only half
pleasant--it would even have been a bore, if from childhood I had
not been accustomed to leave people, countries and cities.")

200. "Permit me to beg for a continuance of your precious
friendship, and to ask you to accept mine for now and forever;
with an honest heart I vow it to you everlastingly. True it will
be of little use to you; but it will be the more durable and
honest for that reason. You know that the best and truest friends
are the poor. Rich people know nothing of friendship!--especially
those who are born rich and those who have become rich
fortuitously,--they are too often wrapped up completely in their
own luck! But there is nothing to fear from a man who has been
placed in advantageous circumstances, not through blind, but
deserved good fortune, through merit,--a man who did not lose
courage because of his first failures,--who remained true to his
religion and trust in God, was a good Christian and an honest man
and cherished and valued his true friend,--in a word,--a man who
has deserved better fortune--from such a man, there is nothing to

(Paris, August 7, 1778, to his friend Bullinger, in Salzburg, to
whom he felt beholden for the gentle and considerate way in which
he had broken the news of his mother's death to the family.)

201. "My friend, had I but the money which many a man who does
not deserve it wastes so miserably,--if I only had it! O, with
what joy would I not help you!--But, alas! those who can will
not, and those who would like to can not!"

(Paris, July 29, 1778, to Fridolin Weber, father of Constanze.
The letter was found but recently among some Goethe autographs.)


Mozart's father brought him up to be worldly wise. While
journeying at a tender age through the world with his father the
lad became an eye witness of the paternal business management
with all its attention to detail; of the art of utilizing persons
and conditions in order to achieve material results. As a youth
he repeats the journeys accompanied by his mother whom he loses
by death in Paris. Regularly from Salzburg his father sends him
letters full of admonitions and advice, the subjects almost
systematically grouped. The worldly wisdom of the son is the
fruit of paternal education, which he did not outgrow up to the
day of his death. But life, experience, was also an educator; a
seeming distrust of mankind speaks out of many a passage in his
letters, but on the whole he thought too well of his fellow men,
and remained blind to the faults of his false friends who basely
exploited him for their own ends. Although gifted with keen
powers of observation he always followed his kind heart instead
of his better judgment and his sister spoke no more than the
truth when she said after his death: "Outside of music he was,
and remained, nearly always, a child. This was the chief trait of
his character on its shady side; he always needed a father,
mother, or other guardian."

202. "Reflect, too, on this only too certain truth: it is not
always wise to do all the things contemplated. Often one thinks
one thing would be most advisable and another unadvisable and
bad, when, if it were done, the opposite results would disclose

(Mannheim, December 10, 1777, to his father, when a plan for an
appointment in Mannheim came to naught.)

203. "I am not indifferent but only resolved, and therefore, I
can endure everything with patience,--provided, only, that
neither my honor nor the good name of Mozart shall suffer
therefrom. Well, since it must be so, so be it; only I beg, do
not rejoice or sorrow prematurely; for let happen what may it
will be all right so long as we remain well--happiness exists
only in the imagination."

(Mannheim, November 29, 1777, to his father, who had upbraided
him because of his reckless expenditures. At the time Mozart was
hoping for an appointment at Mannheim.)

204. "Dearest and best of fathers:--You shall see that things go
better and better with me. What use is this perpetual turmoil,
this hurried fortune? It does not endure.--Che va piano va, sano.
One must adjust himself to circumstances."

(Vienna, December 22, 1781, to his father, just before Mozart's
marriage engagement to Constanze Weber.)

205. "Now, to put your mind at ease, I am doing nothing without
reasons, and well-founded ones, too."

(Vienna, October 21, 1781, to his "little cousin," who may still
have cherished hopes of capturing her merry kinsman.)

206. "I have no news except that 35, 59, 60, 61, 62, were the
winning numbers in the lottery, and, therefore, that if we had
played those numbers we would have won; but that inasmuch as we
did not play those numbers we neither won nor lost but had a good
laugh at others."

(Milan, October 26, 1771, to his sister.)

207. "Everybody was extremely courteous, and therefore I was also
very courteous; for it is my custom to conduct myself towards
others as they conduct themselves towards me,--it's the best way
to get along."

(Augsburg, October 14, 1777, to his father.)

208. "In Vienna and all the imperial hereditaments the theatres
will all open in six weeks. It is wisely designed; for the dead
are not so much benefited by the long mourning as many people are

(Munich, December 13, 1780, to his father. Empress Maria Theresa
had died on November 29. Mozart had greatly revered her from his
youth. Nevertheless he takes a practical view of the situation
since the production of his opera "Idomeneo" is imminent. He
requests of his father to have his "black coat thoroughly dusted,
cleaned and put to rights," and to send it to him, since
"everybody would go into mourning, and I, who will be summoned
hither and thither, must weep along with the others.")

209. "Rest assured that I am a changed man; outside of my health
I know of nothing more necessary than money. I am certainly not a
miser,--it would be difficult for me to change myself into one--and
yet the people here think me more disposed to be stingy than
prodigal; and for a beginning that will suffice. So far as pupils
are concerned I can have as many as I want; but I do not want many;
I want better pay than the others, and therefore I am content with
fewer. One must put on a few airs at the beginning or one is lost,
i.e. one must travel the common road with the many."

(Vienna, May 26, 1781, to his father.)

210. "Depend confidently on me. I am no longer a fool, and you
will still less believe that I am a wicked and ungrateful son.
Meanwhile trust my brains and my good heart implicitly, and you
shall never be sorry. How should I have learned to value money? I
never had enough of it in my hands. I remember that once when I
had 20 ducats I thought myself rich. Need alone teaches the value
of money."

(Vienna, May 26, 1781, to his father.)

211. "If it were possible that it should vex me I should do my
best not to notice it; as it is, thank God, there is no need of
my deceiving myself because only the opposite could vex me, and I
should have had to decline, which is always too bad when one is
dealing with a grand gentleman."

(Vienna, October 5, 1782, to his father. Mozart had expected to
give music lessons to a princess, but another teacher was chosen.
Continuing in the same letter, he says: "I need only tell you his
fee and you will easily be able to judge from it the strength of
the master--400 florins. His name is Summerer.")

212. "I shall compose an opera but not in order, for the sake of
100 ducats, to see the theatre earn four times as much in a
fortnight. I shall perform my opera at my own cost and make at
least 1,200 florins in three performances; then the director can
have the work for 50 ducats. If he does not want it I shall have
received my pay and can utilize the opera elsewhere. I hope that
you have never observed a tendency to dishonest dealing in me.
One ought not to be a bad fellow, but neither ought one to be a
stupid who is willing to let others benefit from the work which
cost him study, care and labor, and surrender all claims for the

(Vienna, October 5, 1782, to his father. Mozart's plans for
exploiting his opera were never realized.)

213. "Yesterday I dined with the Countess Thun, and tomorrow I
shall dine with her again. I let her hear all that was complete;
she told me that she would wager her life that everything that I
have written up to date would please. In such matters I care
nothing for the praise or censure of anybody until the whole work
has been seen or heard; instead I follow my own judgment and

(Vienna, August 8, 1781, to his father. The opera in question was
"Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail.")

214. "Magnanimity and gentleness have often reconciled the worst

(Vienna, July 8, 1791, to his wife, who had somewhat rudely
repulsed the advances of one of the visitors at Baden where she
was taking the waters.)


It is as difficult to call up in the fancy a picture of a
suffering Mozart as a merry Beethoven. The effect of melancholy
hours is scarcely to be found in Mozart's music. When he
composed,--i.e. according to his own expression "speculated"
while walking up and down revolving musical ideas in his mind and
forming them into orderly compositions, so that the subsequent
transcription was a mechanical occupation which required but
little effort,--he was transported to the realm of tones, far
from the miseries of this world. Nor would his happy disposition
permit him long to remain under the influence of grief and care.
None of the letters which sound notes of despair lacks a jest in
which the writer forcibly tears himself away from his gloomy
thoughts. His sufferings came to him from without; the fate of a
Beethoven was spared him. Others brought him pain,--his rivals
through envy, the Archbishop through malevolence, the Emperor
through ignorance. Sufferings of this character challenged
opposition and called out his powers, presenting to us a Mozart
full of temperament and capable of measuring himself with any

He never lost hope even when hope seemed most deceptive. It is
therefore impossible to speak of a suffering Mozart in the sense
that we speak of a suffering Beethoven; fate was kind even at his
death, which was preceded by but a brief illness.

215. "I am still full of gall!...Three times this--I do not
know what to call him--has assailed me to my face with
impertinence and abuse of a kind that I did not want to write
down, my best of fathers, and I did not immediately avenge the
insult because I thought of you. He called me a wretch (Buben),
a licentious fellow, told me to get out and I--suffered it all,
feeling that not only my honor but yours as well was attacked;
but,--it was your wish,--I held my tongue."

(Vienna, May 9, 1781, to his father, who had heard with deep
concern of the treatment which his son was enduring at the hands
of the Archbishop of Salzburg, and who feared for his own
position. At the close of the letter Mozart writes: "I want to
hear nothing more about Salzburg; I hate the archbishop to the
verge of madness.")

216. "The edifying things which the Archbishop said to me in the
three audiences, particularly in the last, and what I have again
been told by this glorious man of God, had so admirable a
physical effect on me that I had to leave the opera in the
evening in the middle of the first act, go home, and to bed. I
was in a fever, my whole body trembled, and I reeled like a
drunken man in the street. The next day, yesterday, I remained at
home and all forenoon in bed because I had taken the tamarind

(Vienna, May 12, 1781, to his father. The catastrophe
between Mozart and the archbishop is approaching.)

217. "Twice the Archbishop gave me the grossest impertinences and
I answered not a word; more, I played for him with the same zeal
as if nothing had happened. Instead of recognizing the honesty of
my service and my desire to please him at the moment when I was
expecting something very different, he begins a third tirade in
the most despicable manner in the world."

(Vienna, June 13, 1781, to his father. See the chapter
"Self-Respect and Honor.")

218. "All the world asserts that by my braggadocio and criticisms
I have made enemies of the professional musicians! Which world?
Presumably that of Salzburg, for anybody living in Vienna sees
and hears differently; there is my answer."

(Vienna, July 31, to his father, who had sent Mozart what the
latter called "so indifferent and cold a letter," when informed
by his son of the great success of his opera, "Die Entfuhrung aus
dem Serail." As on previous occasions Salzburg talebearers had
been busying themselves.)

219. "I rejoice like a child at the prospect of being with you
again. I should have to be ashamed of myself if people could look
into my heart; so far as I am concerned it is cold,--cold as ice.
Yes, if you were with me I might find greater pleasure in the
courteous treatment which I receive from the people; but as it
is, it is all empty. Adieu!--Love!"

(Frankfort, September 30, 1790, to his wife. Mozart had made the
journey to Frankfort to give concerts amidst the festivities
accompanying the coronation of Leopold II, hoping that he could
better his financial condition. Not having been sent at the cost
of the Emperor, like other Court musicians, he pawned his silver,
bought a carriage and took with him his brother-in-law, a
violinist named Hofer. "It took us only six days to make the
journey." He was disappointed in his expectations. "I have now
decided to do as well as I can here and look joyfully towards a
meeting with you. What a glorious life we shall lead; I shall

220. "Dreams give me no concern, for there is no mortal man on
earth who does not sometimes dream. But merry dreams! quiet,
refreshing, sweet dreams! Those are the thing! Dreams which, if
they were realities, would make tolerable my life which has more
of sadness in it than merriment."

(Munich, December 31, 1778, to his father. During Mozart's
sojourn in Paris the love of Aloysia Weber had grown cold, and
Mozart was in the dolors.)

221. "Happy man! Now see,--I have got to give still another
lesson in order to earn some money."

(1786, to Gyrowetz, on the latter's departure for Italy.)

222. "You can not doubt my honesty, for you know me too well for
that. Nor can you be suspicious of my words, my conduct or my
mode of life, because you know my conduct and mode of life.
Therefore,--forgive my confidence in you,--I am still very
unhappy,--always between fear and hope."

(Vienna, July 17, 1788, to his faithful friend, Puchberg, whom he
has asked for money on account of the severe illness of his

223. "You know my circumstances;--to be brief, since I can not
find a true friend, I am obliged to borrow money from usurers.
But as it takes time to hunt among these un-Christian persons for
those who are the most Christian and to find them, I am so
stripped that I must beg you, dear friend, for God's sake to help
me out with what you can spare."

(One of many requests for help sent to Puchberg. It was sent in
1790 and the original bears an endorsement: "May 17, sent 150

224. "If you, worthy brother, do not help me out of my present
predicament I shall lose my credit and honor, the only things
which I care now to preserve."

(Vienna, June 27, 1788, to Puchberg, who had sent him 200 florins
ten days before. Puchberg was a brother Mason.)

225. "How I felt then! How I felt then! Such things will never
return. Now we are sunk in the emptiness of everyday life."

(Remarked on remembering that at the age of fourteen he had
composed a "Requiem" at the command of Empress Maria Theresa and
had conducted it as chapelmaster of the imperial orchestra.)

226. "Did I not tell you that I was composing this 'Requiem' for

(Said on the day of his death while still working on the
"Requiem" for which he had received so mysterious a commission.
The work had been ordered by a Count Walsegg, who made
pretensions to musical composition, and who wished to palm it off
as a work of his own, written in memory of his wife. Mozart never
knew him.)

227. "I shall not last much longer. I am sure that I have been
poisoned! I can not rid myself of this thought."

(Mozart believed that he had been poisoned by one of his Italian
rivals, his suspicion falling most strongly on Salieri. ["As
regards Mozart, Salieri cannot escape censure, for though the
accusation of having been the cause of his death has been long
ago disproved, it is more than possible that he was not
displeased at the removal of so formidable a rival. At any rate,
though he had it in his power to influence the Emperor in
Mozart's favor, he not only neglected to do so, but even
intrigued against him as Mozart himself relates in a letter to
his friend Puchberg. After his death, however, Salieri befriended
his son, and gave him a testimonial which secured him his first
appointment." C.F. Pohl, in "Grove's Dictionary of Music and

228. "Stay with me to-night; you must see me die. I have long had
the taste of death on my tongue, I smell death, and who will
stand by my Constanze, if you do not stay?"

(Reported by his sister-in-law, Sophie, sister of Constanze.)

229. "And now I must go just as it had become possible for me to
live quietly. Now I must leave my art just as I had freed myself
from the slavery of fashion, had broken the bonds of speculators,
and won the privilege of following my own feelings and compose
freely and independently whatever my heart prompted! I must away
from my family, from my poor children in the moment when I should
have been able better to care for their welfare!"

(Uttered on his death-bed.)


As regards his manner of life and morals Mozart long stood in a
bad light before the world. The slanderous stories all came from
his enemies in Vienna, and a long time passed before their true
character was recognized. A great contribution to this end was
made by the publication of his letters, which disclose an
extraordinarily strong moral sense. The tale of an alleged
liaison with a certain Frau Hofdamel, as a result of which the
deceived husband was said to have committed suicide, has been
proved to be wholly untrue and without warrant.

It may be said, indeed, that Mozart was an exception among the
men of his period. The immorality of the Viennese was proverbial.
Karoline Pichler, a contemporary, writes as follows in her book
of recollections of the eighth decade of the eighteenth century:
"In Vienna at the time there reigned a spirit of appreciation for
merriment and a susceptibility for every form of beauty and
sensuous pleasure. There was the greatest freedom of thought and
opinion; anything could be written and printed which was not, in
the strictest sense of the words, contrary to religion and the
state. Little thought was bestowed on good morals. There was
considerable license in the current plays and novels. Kotzebue
created a tremendous sensation. His plays...and a multitude of
romances and tales (Meissner's sketches among other things) were
all based on meretricious relations. All the world and every
young girl read them without suspicion or offence. More than once
had I read and seen these things; 'Oberon' was well known to me;
so was Meissner's 'Alcibiades.' No mother hesitated to acquaint
her daughter with such works and before our eyes there were so
many living exemplars whose irregular conduct was notorious, that
no mother could have kept her daughter in ignorance had she

Mozart was a passionate jester and his jokes were coarse enough;
of that there is no doubt. But these things were innocent at the
time. The letters of the lad to his little cousin in Augsburg
contain many passages that would be called of questionable
propriety now; but the little cousin does not seem to have even
blushed. The best witness to the morality of Mozart's life is his
wife, who, after his death, wrote to the publishing firm of
Breitkopf and Hartel: "His letters are beyond doubt the best
criterion for his mode of thought, his peculiarities and his
education. Admirably characteristic is his extraordinary love for
me, which breathes through all his letters. Those of his last
year on earth are just as tender as those which he must have
written in the first year of our married life;--is it not so? I
beg as a particular favor that special attention be called to
this fact for the sake of his honor."

He was a Freemason with all his heart, and gave expression to his
humanitarian feeling in his opera "The Magic Flute." Without
suspicion himself, he thought everybody else good, which led to
painful experiences with some of his friends.

230. "Parents strive to place their children in a position which
shall enable them to earn their own living; and this they owe to
their children and the state. The greater the talents with which
the children have been endowed by God, the more are they bound to
make use of those talents to improve the conditions of themselves
and their parents, to aid their parents and to care for their own
present and future welfare. We are taught thus to trade with our
talents in the Gospels. I owe it, therefore, to God and my
conscience to pay the highest gratitude to my father, who
tirelessly devoted all his hours to my education, and to lighten
his burdens."

(From his request for dismissal from service in August, 1777. He
wished to undertake an artistic tour with his father. He received
his dismissal from the Archbishop of Salzburg, who granted it
right unwillingly, however.)

231. "Only one thing vexed me a trifle,--the question whether I
had forgotten confession. I have no complaint to make, but I do
ask one favor, and that is that you do not think so ill of me!
I am fond of merriment, but, believe me, I can also be serious.
Since I left Salzburg (and while still in Salzburg) I have met
persons whose conduct was such that I would have been ashamed to
talk and act as they did though they were ten, twenty or thirty
years older than I! Again I humbly beg of you to have a better
opinion of me."

(Mannheim, December 30, 1777, to his father, in answer to a
letter of reproaches.)

232. "With all my heart I do wish Herr von Schiedenhofen joy. It
is another marriage for money and nothing else. I should not like
to marry thus; I want to make my wife happy,--not have her make
my fortune. For that reason I shall not marry but enjoy my golden
freedom until I am so situated that I can support wife and
children. It was necessary that Herr Sch. should marry a rich
woman; that's the consequence of being a nobleman. The nobility
must never marry from inclination or love, but only from
considerations of interest, and all manner of side
considerations. Nor would it be becoming in such persons if they
were still to love their wives after the latter had done their
duty and brought forth a plump heir."

(Mannheim, February 7, 1778, to his father.)

233. "In my opinion there is nothing more shameful than to
deceive an honest girl."

(Paris, July 18, 1778, to his father.)

234. "I am unconscious of any guilt for which I might fear your
reproaches. I have committed no error (meaning by error any act
unbecoming to a Christian and an honest man). I am anticipating
the pleasantest and happiest days, but only in company with you
and my dearest sister. I swear to you on my honor that I can not
endure Salzburg and its citizens (I speak of the natives). Their
speech and mode of life are utterly intolerable."

(Munich, January 8, 1779, to his father, who was urging his
return from Paris to take the post of chapelmaster in Salzburg.
The musicians of Salzburg were notorious because of their loose

235. "From the way in which my last letter was received I observe
to my sorrow that (just as if I were an arch scoundrel or an ass,
or both at once) you trust the tittle-tattle and scribblings of
other people more than you do me. But I assure you that this does
not give me the least concern. The people may write the eyes out
of their heads, and you may applaud them as much as you please,
it will not cause me to change a hair's breadth; I shall remain
the same honest fellow that I have always been."

(Vienna, September 5, 1781, to his father, who was still
listening to the slander mongers. Mozart could not lightly forget
the fact that it was due to these gentlemen that he had been
forced to leave the house of the widow Weber with whose daughter
Constanze he was in love.)

236. "You have been deceived in your son if you could believe him
capable of doing a mean thing....You know that I could not have
acted otherwise without outraging my conscience and my honor....I
beg pardon for my too hasty trust in your paternal love. Through
this frank confession you have a new proof of my love of truth
and detestation of a lie."

(Vienna, August 7, 1782, to his father, whose consent to his
son's marriage did not arrive till the day after.)

237. "Dearest and best of fathers:--I beg of you, for the sake of
all that is good in the world, give your consent to my marriage
with my dear Constanze. Do not think that it is alone because of
my desire to get married; I could well wait. But I see that it is
absolutely essential to my honor, the honor of my sweetheart, to
my health and frame of mind. My heart is ill at ease, my mind
disturbed;--then how shall I do any sensible thinking or work?
Why is this? Most people think we are already married; this
enrages the mother and the poor girl and I are tormented almost
to death. All this can be easily relieved. Believe me it is
possible to live as cheaply in expensive Vienna as anywhere else;
it all depends on the housekeeping and the orderliness which is
never to be found in a young man especially if he be in love.
Whoever gets a wife such as I am going to have can count himself
fortunate. We shall live simply and quietly, and yet be happy.
Do not worry; for should I (which God forefend!) get ill today,
especially if I were married, I wager that the first of the
nobility would come to my help....I await your consent with
longing, best of fathers, I await it with confidence, my honor
and fame depend upon it."

(Vienna, July 27, 1782.)

238. "Meanwhile my striving is to secure a small certainty; then
with the help of the contingencies, it will be easy to live here;
and then to marry. I beg of you, dearest and best of fathers,
listen to me! I have preferred my request, now listen to my
reasons. The calls of nature are as strong in me, perhaps
stronger, than in many a hulking fellow. I can not possibly live
like the majority of our young men. In the first place I have too
much religion, in the second too much love for my fellow man and
too great a sense of honor ever to betray a girl...."

(Vienna, December 18, 1781. [The whole of this letter deserves to
be read by those who, misled by the reports, still deemed
trustworthy when Jahn published the first edition of his great
biography, believed that Mozart was a man of bad morals.
Unfortunately Mozart's candor in presenting his case to his
father can scarcely be adjusted to the requirements of a book
designed for general circulation. Let it suffice that in his
confession to his father Mozart puts himself on the ground of the
loftiest sexual purity, and stakes life and death on the
truthfulness of his statements. H.E.K.])

239. "You surely can not be angry because I want to get married?
I think and believe that you will recognize best my piety and
honorable intentions in the circumstance. O, I could easily write
a long answer to your last letter, and offer many objections; but
my maxim is that it is not worth while to discuss matters that
do not affect me. I can't help it,--it's my nature. I am really
ashamed to defend myself when I find myself falsely accused;
I always think, the truth will out some day."

(Vienna, January 9, 1782, to his father. In the same letter he
continues: "I can not be happy and contented without my dear
Constanze, and without your satisfied acquiescence, I could only
be half happy. Therefore, make me wholly happy.")

240. "As I have thought and said a thousand times I would gladly
leave everything in your hands with the greatest pleasure, but
since, so to speak, it is useless to you but to my advantage, I
deem it my duty to remember my wife and children."

(June 16, 1787, to his sister, concerning his inheritance from
his father who had died on May 28.)

241. "Isn't it true that you are daily becoming more convinced of
the truth of my corrective sermons? Is not the amusement of a
fickle and capricious love far as the heavens from the
blessedness which true, sensible love brings with it? Do you not
often thank me in your heart for my instruction? You will soon
make me vain! But joking aside, you do owe me a modicum of
gratitude if you have made yourself worthy of Fraulein N., for I
certainly did not play the smallest role at your conversion."

(Prague, November 4, 1787, to a wealthy young friend, name

242. "Pray believe anything you please about me but nothing ill.
There are persons who believe it is impossible to love a poor
girl without harboring wicked intentions; and the beautiful word
mistress is so lovely!--I am a Mozart, but a young and well
meaning Mozart. Among many faults I have this that I think that
the friends who know me, know me. Hence many words are not
necessary. If they do not know me where shall I find words
enough? It is bad enough that words and letters are necessary."

(Mannheim, February 22, 1778, to his father, who had rebuked him
for falling in love with Aloysia Weber, who afterward became his


Mozart was of a deeply religious nature, reared in Salzburg where
his father was a member of the archiepiscopal chapel. Throughout
his life he remained a faithful son of the church, for whose
servants, however, he had little sympathy.

The one man whom Mozart hated from the bottom of his soul was
Archbishop Hieronymus of Salzburg who sought to put all possible
obstacles in the way of the youthful genius, and finally by the
most infamous of acts covered himself everlastingly with infamy.
Though Mozart frequently speaks angrily and bitterly of the
priests he always differentiates between religion, the church and
their servants. Like Beethoven, Mozart stood toward God in the
relationship of a child full of trust in his father.

His reliance on Providence was so utter that his words sometimes
sound almost fatalistic. His father harbored some rationalistic
ideas which were even more pronounced in Mozart, so that he
formed his own opinion concerning ecclesiastical ceremonies and
occasionally disregarded them. His cheery temperament made it
impossible that his religious life should be as profound as that
of Beethoven.

243. "I hope that with the help of God, Miss Martha will get well
again. If not, you should not grieve too deeply, for God's will
is always the best. God will know whether it is better to be in
this world or the other."

(Bologna, September 29, 1770, to his mother and sister in
Salzburg. The young woman died soon after.)

244. "Tell papa to put aside his fears; I live, with God ever
before me. I recognize His omnipotence, I fear His anger; I
acknowledge His love, too, His compassion and mercy towards all
His creatures, He will never desert those who serve Him. If
matters go according to His will they go according to mine;
consequently nothing can go wrong,--I must be satisfied and

(Augsburg, October 25, 1777, to his father, who was showering him
with exhortations on the tour which he made with his mother
through South Germany.)

245. "Let come what will, nothing can go ill so long as it is the
will of God; and that it may so go is my daily prayer."

(Mannheim, December 6, 1777, to his father. Mozart was waiting
with some impatience to learn if he was to receive an appointment
from Elector Karl Theodore. It did not come.)

246. "I know myself;--I know that I have so much religion that I
shall never be able to do a thing which I would not be willing
openly to do before the whole world; only the thought of meeting
persons on my journeys whose ideas are radically different from
mine (and those of all honest people) frightens me. Aside from
that they may do what they please. I haven't the heart to travel
with them, I would not have a single pleasant hour, I would not
know what to say to them; in a word I do not trust them. Friends
who have no religion are not stable."

(Mannheim, February 2, 1778, to his father. For the reasons
mentioned in the letter Mozart gave up his plan to travel to
Paris with the musicians Wendling and Ramen. In truth, perhaps,
his love affair with Aloysia Weber may have had something to do
with his resolve.)

247. "I prayed to God for His mercy that all might go well, to
His greater glory, and the symphony began....Immediately after
the symphony full of joy I went into the Palais Royal, ate an
iced cream, prayed the rosary as I had promised to do, and went
home. I am always best contented at home and always will be, or
with a good, true, honest German."

(Paris, July 3, 1778, to his father. The symphony in question is
no longer in existence, although Mozart wanted to write it down
again at a later date.)

248. "I must tell you my mother, my dear mother, is no more.--God
has called her to Himself; He wanted her, I see that clearly, and
I must submit to God's will. He gave her to me, and it was His to
take her away. My friend, I am comforted, not but now, but long
ago. By a singular grace of God I endured all with steadfastness
and composure. When her illness grew dangerous I prayed God for
two things only,--a happy hour of death for my mother, and
strength and courage for myself. God heard me in His loving
kindness, heard my prayer and bestowed the two mercies in largest

(Paris, July 3, 1778, to his good friend Bullinger, in Salzburg,
who was commissioned gently to bear the intelligence to Mozart's
father. At the same time Mozart, with considerate deception,
wrote to his father about his mother's illness without mentioning
her death.)

249. "I believe, and nothing shall ever persuade me differently,
that no doctor, no man, no accident, can either give life to man
or take it away; it rests with God alone. Those are only the
instruments which He generally uses, though not always; we see
men sink down and fall over dead. When the time is come no
remedies can avail,--they accelerate death rather than retard
it....I do not say, therefore, that my mother will and must die,
that all hope is gone; she may recover and again be well and
sound,--but only if it is God's will."

(Paris, July 3, 1778, to his father, from whom he is concealing
the fact that his mother is dead. He is seeking to prepare him
for the intelligence which he has already commissioned Bullinger
to convey to the family.)

250. "Under those melancholy circumstances I comforted myself
with three things, viz.: my complete and trustful submission to
the will of God, then the realization of her easy and beautiful
death, combined with the thought of the happiness which was to
come to her in a moment,--how much happier she now is than we, so
that we might even have wished to make the journey with her. Out
of this wish and desire there was developed my third comfort,
namely, that she is not lost to us forever, that we shall see her
again, that we shall be together more joyous and happy than ever
we were in this world. It is only the time that is unknown, and
that fact does not frighten me. When it is God's will, it shall
be mine. Only the divine, the most sacred will be done; let us
then pray a devout 'Our Father' for her soul and proceed to other
matters; everything has its time."

(Paris, July 9, 1778, to his father, informing him of his
mother's death.)

251. "Be without concern touching my soul's welfare, best of
fathers! I am an erring young man, like so many others, but I can
say to my own comfort, that I wish all were as little erring as
I. You, perhaps, believe things about me which are not true. My
chief fault is that I do not always appear to act as I ought. It
is not true that I boasted that I eat fish every fast-day; but I
did say that I was indifferent on the subject and did not
consider it a sin, for in my case fasting means breaking off,
eating less than usual. I hear mass every Sunday and holy day,
and when it is possible on week days also,--you know that, my

(Vienna, June 13, 1781--another attempt at justification against

252. "Moreover take the assurance that I certainly am religious,
and if I should ever have the misfortune (which God will
forefend) to go astray, I shall acquit you, best of fathers, from
all blame. I alone would be the scoundrel; to you I owe all my
spiritual and temporal welfare and salvation."

(Vienna, June 13, 1781.)

253. "For a considerable time before we were married we went
together to Holy Mass, to confession and to communion; and I
found that I never prayed so fervently, confessed and
communicated so devoutly, as when I was at her side;--and her
experience was the same. In a word we were made for each other,
and God, who ordains all things and consequently has ordained
this, will not desert us. We both thank you obediently for your
paternal blessing."

(Vienna, August 17, 1782.)

254. "I have made it a habit in all things to imagine the worst.
Inasmuch as, strictly speaking, death is the real aim of our
life, I have for the past few years made myself acquainted with
this true, best friend of mankind, so that the vision not only
has no terror for me but much that is quieting and comforting.
And I thank my God that He gave me the happiness and the
opportunity (you understand me) to learn to know Him as the key
to true blessedness."

(Vienna, April 4, 1787, to his father, who died on the 28th of
the following month. One of the few passages in Mozart's letters
in which there are suggestions of the teachings of Freemasonry.
In 1785 he had persuaded his father to join the order, with the
result that new warmth was restored to the relationship which had
cooled somewhat after Mozart's marriage.)

255. "To me that again is art twaddle! There may be something
true in it for you enlightened Protestants, as you call
yourselves, when you have your religion in your heads; I can not
tell. But you do not feel what 'Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata
mundi' and such things mean. But when one, like I, has been
initiated from earliest childhood in the mystical sanctuary of
our religion; when there one does not know whither to go with all
the vague but urgent feelings, but waits with a heart full of
devotion for the divine service without really knowing what to
expect, yet rises lightened and uplifted without knowing what one
has received; when one deemed those fortunate who knelt under the
touching strains of the Agnus Dei and received the sacrament, and
at the moment of reception the music spoke in gentle joy from the
hearts of the kneeling ones, 'Benedictus qui venit,' etc.;--then
it is a different matter. True, it is lost in the hurly-burly of
life; but,--at least it is so in my case,--when you take up the
words which you have heard a thousand times, for the purpose of
setting them to music, everything comes back and you feel your
soul moved again."

(Spoken in Leipsic, in 1789, when somebody expressed pity for
those capable musicians who were obliged to "employ their powers
on ecclesiastical subjects, which were mostly not only unfruitful
but intellectually killing." Rochlitz reports the utterance but
does not vouch for its literalness.)

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