Mozart’s Delayed Homecoming


Leopold Mozart had been chasing his son, Wolfgang Amadeus, all over Europe–with letters demanding that the twenty-two-year-old come home to Salzburg, where important business opportunities waited–and waited. Christmas passed, then New Year’s Day, and still no Mozart. On January 8th, 1779, the young genius wrote to his father from Munich:

I assure you, my dearest father, that from the bottom of my heart I am looking forward to returning to you (if not to Salzburg) since your last letter convinces me that you know me better than before! Never was there any reason other than this doubt for my long delay in coming home.

So far as I know, I’ve done nothing to justify a scolding from you. I’m guilty of no transgression (by transgression I mean something unbecoming to a Christian and a man of honor). In short, I rejoice at the thought of seeing you and I’m looking forward to the most pleasurable and happy days–but only in your company and that of my dear sister.

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I swear to you on my honor that I can’t stand Salzburg or the people in it (I mean the native Salzburgers). Their language and habits are completely unbearable.

Well, let’s discuss something else. Yesterday my dear friend Cannabich and I went to the Electress and presented my sonatas. Her rooms are just the way I’d like mine to be some day–just like those of a private person, very charming and pretty, except for the view, which is horrendous.

We spent more than half an hour with her and she was very gracious. In order to get paid quickly I made a point of letting her know that I’m leaving here in a few days. Well, to summarize, please believe that I have the most aching yearning to embrace you and my dear sister once again. If only it weren’t in Salzburg! But if I can’t see you without going to Salzburg, I will gladly do it.