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
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.)