Mozart Minute: The Hot-Tempered Son

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Catch the Mozart Minute every Friday at noon on Classical 101 during the Amadeus Deli, and listen to the podcast at www.wosu.org/podcasts.(Photo: Wikipedia)
Catch the Mozart Minute every Friday at noon on Classical 101 during the Amadeus Deli, and listen to the podcast at www.wosu.org/podcasts.(Photo: Wikipedia)

Wolfgang Mozart and his father, Leopold, were frequently – and now famously – at odds. Masterminding his prodigy childrens’ concert tours of Europe was one thing , but even by the time Wolfgang was 22 years old and touring Europe looking for a job, Leopold’s grip on his son seemingly hadn’t loosened a bit. Here’s Emily Anderson’s translation of some of what Leopold Mozart wrote his son in a letter of February 16, 1778:

“My son! You are hot-tempered and impulsive in all your ways! Since your childhood and boyhood your whole character has changed. As a child and a boy you were serious rather than childish and when you sat at the (keyboard) or were otherwise intent on music, no one dared to have the slightest jest with you. [...] But now, as far as I can see, you are much too ready to retort in a bantering tone to the first challenge – and that, of course, is the first step towards undue familiarity, which anyone who wants to preserve his self-respect will try to avoid in this world. [...] the greatest art of all is to know oneself and then, my dear son, to do as I do, that is, to endeavour to get to know others through and through.

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