The Mozart Family: Four Lives in a Social Context

The Mozart Family: Four Lives in a Social Context

The Mozart Family: Four Lives in a Social Context

The Mozart Family: Four Lives in a Social Context

Synopsis

The family into which Mozart was born has never received a rigorous contextual study which does justice to the complexity of its relationships or to its interactions with colleagues, friends, and neighbours in Mozart's native city, Salzburg. Most biographies of Mozart have undervalued the many passages in the rich family correspondence which do not bear directly on him. This book draws on the neglected material, most of which has never been translated into English. At the heart of the work is a detailed examination of the letters, supplemented by little-known archival material from the papers of the Berchtold family, into which Mozart's sister Nannerl married. Additional information concerning Salzburg's local history, especially the working conditions at court and the provision for dependants of court employees, enables the hopes, expectations, and fears of the Mozarts to be located in the context of the social conditions there. As well as providing a sympathetic account of the other members of the family, all of whom were profoundly affected by the experience of sharing their lives with Mozart, this approach gives new significance to the events of Mozart's life; not only are they set against the background of his familys expectations of him, but the ways in which the source material has to be used for this purpose necessarily involves fundamental improvements in its interpretation. Ruth Halliwell challenges most previous views of the characters in Mozart's family (especially of his father, Leopold), and of the relationships within it. She also introduces a wealth of characters from the Mozarts's circle in Salzburg, from chambermaids to princes, and demonstrates the relevance of the gossip stories the Mozarts told about them to the larger outlook of the members of the family. In an important final section, Halliwell traces the roles of Nannerl and Mozart's wife Constanze in using, controlling, and handing on the biographical source material after Mozarts death. She discusses their dealings with publishers such as Breitkopf & H¿rtel, and with the authors of the earliest biographies of Mozart. This complex topic here receives an account which not only illuminates the characters of both women and the relations between them, but also addresses the question of how myths were able to creep into the Mozartian biography at so early a stage and take tenacious hold.

Excerpt

It is a pleasure to thank all those who have helped this project along in various ways. Generous grants from The British Academy and from the Alice Horsman fund of Somerville College, Oxford, enabled me to make research trips to Salzburg and to Brno; I would like to express my gratitude to both institutions.

The Universitätsverlag Anton Pustet in Salzburg kindly allowed me to use and adapt the map fromH. Dopsch andH. Spatzenegger (eds.), Geschichte Salzburgs: Stadt und Land, vol. ii, pt. 1, p. 355, as a basis for Map 2. The MBA letter texts in Appendix 3 are from Mozart: Briefe und Aufzeichnungen (published by the Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum), with kind permission of the publishers Bärenreiter of Kassel. The material reproduced in Appendix 1 is from pp. 340-3 of NealZaslaw's Mozart's Synhonies by kind permission of Oxford University Press. A&C Black kindly gave permission to reproduce material fromO. E. Deutsch, Mozart: A Documentag Biograpby, in Ch. 31.

Many librarians and academics not only arranged with promptitude and courtesy for me to work in 'their' libraries, but showed friendliness beyond the call of duty in helping me find my way around the material. I would particularly like to thank Dr Rudolph Angermüller, Frau Geneviève Geffray, Dr Johanna Senigl, Dr Gabriele Ramsauer, and Frl Therese Muxeneder of the Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum in Salzburg; Frau Christiane Gärtner of the Salzburg Landesarchiv; Dr Ernst Hintermaier of the Erzbischöfliches Konsistorialarchiv in Salzburg (who also helped with several enquiries unconnected with the archive for which he is responsible); Dr Andrea Lindmayr-Brandl of the Institut für Musikwissenschaft of Salzburg University; Professor Heinz Dopsch of Salzburg University; Dr Augustin Kloiber of the Heimatkundliches Museum der Gemeinde St Gilgen; Dr BlaEzek of the Moravský Zemský Archiv in Brno; and the staff of the Staatsbibhothek in Munich and the Universitätsbibliothek in Salzburg. Here is also the appropriate place to thank Frau Karin Greinz of the Fremdenverkehrsverband in St Gilgen, who kindly hunted out a copy of the out-of-print history of the village school in St Gilgen by Leopold Ziller, and sent it to me when there seemed no other easy way of getting hold of it.

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