Mozart's Strivings and Labors

This is taken from Mozart, the Man and the Artist, As Revealed In His Own Words, by Friedrich Kerst.

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 part.”

 (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 friend.)

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 mood.”

 (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 offence.”)

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.)





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