Domestic Strife

Portrait of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1819 Portrait by Barbara Kraft)

His family life was a good deal less harmonious than his music. This is Mozart writing from Vienna to his father Leopold in Salzburg at the end of August 1782:

You want to know how I can flatter myself that I’ll be the music master for the Princess? Well, Salieri can’t teach her to play the clavier! He can only try to hamper me by recommending somebody else, and it’s entirely possible that he’s doing just that!

On the other hand, the Emperor knows me, and the last time the Princess was in Vienna, she would have been happy to take lessons from me. Furthermore, I know that my name is in the book of the names of those who have been selected for her service.

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I don’t know where you got the idea that my highly honored mother-in-law is living here too. You can be sure that I didn’t marry my sweetheart in such a rush just to lead a life of aggravations and arguments, but to enjoy peace and happiness.

Since our marriage we have visited her twice, and during the second visit the arguing and needling started up again, so that my poor wife began to cry. I cut off the quibbling right away by telling Constanze that it was time for us to go. We haven’t been back since…and have no intention of going back until we have to celebrate the birthday or name-day of the mother or one or two of the sisters.

You say that I’ve never told you the day on which we got married. Pray excuse me, but your memory may be playing tricks on you because if you’ll look at my letter from August 7th, it will confirm that we were married on Sunday, August 4th. Or maybe you never got that letter–but that’s unlikely because you received the march that was enclosed with it and also replied to several things in the letter.