Thank you to those who donated to Piano Society in 2017.

Mozart: The man and the artist

This etext was produced by John Mamoun (, Charles
Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.


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.

This electronic text was prepared by John Mamoun with help from
numerous other proofreaders, including those associated with
Charles Franks' Distributed Proofreaders website. Thanks to C.
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.

  1. Editor's Note
  2. The significance of Mozart
  3. Chips from the workshop
  4. Concerning the opera
  5. Musical pedagogics
  6. Touching musical performances
  7. Expressions critical
  8. Opinions concerning others
  9. Wolfgang, the German
  10. Self respect and honor
  11. Strivings and labors
  12. At home and abroad
  13. Love and friendship
  14. Wordly Wisdom
  15. In suffering
  16. Morals
  17. Religion
Jan 6, 2016
Page Views:

Share This Page