Mozart Minute: Man’s Best Friend

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

Even if you didn’t know about the Mozart family dog, you might have guessed from all of Mozart’s lifelong rampant socializing, from his clear comfort in packs, that he was a dog person.

Indeed he was. Judging from the prominence in Mozart’s correspondence of the Mozart family’s fox terrier, called variously Bimperl, Bimpes, Bimbes and Pimperl, I’m guessing that if Mozart were alive today, he’d be the kind of guy to push the pooch home in a pram after doggie play dates, dress it in designer sweaters and feed it nummy organic treats from upscale pet boutiques.

When Mozart was on the road, he often sent greetings home to Bimbes. In a letter of August 1773 to his sister, Mozart wrote, “How is Miss Bimbes? Please give her all sorts of messages from me.” Mozart signed off a January 1775 letter from Munich, where he saw his opera La finta gardiniera performed, with “1000 kisses to Bimberl!” In November 1780, Mozart asked his father to “give Bimperl a pinch of Spanish tobacco, a good wine-sop, and three kisses.”

And it seems the feelings were mutual. In October 1777, Leopold wrote his son, again in Munich with his mother, that Bimperl had felt their absence keenly.

“As the weather is fine, we take an early walk every day with our faithful Bimperl, who is in splendid trim and only becomes very sad and obviously most anxious when we are both out of the house, for then she thinks that because she has lost you two, she is now going to lose us as well. [...] Moreover, when we were out … she would not sleep, but kept on moaning, wondering, I suppose, whether we should ever return.”

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