Mozart Minute: Mozart and the Baroness

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Mozart Minute, a podcast of Classical 101, WOSU Public Media(Photo: Wikipedia)
Mozart Minute, a podcast of Classical 101, WOSU Public Media(Photo: Wikipedia)

So, if you heard Mozart Minute episode one, in which Mozart write the Baroness von Waldstätten asking about the price of a fancy coat, you might have been left with some burning questions: Did Mozart get the coat?

If so, how much did it set him back? And who was the Baroness von Waldstätten anyway?

The baroness was a staunch friend to both Mozart and his fiancée-in-progress, Constanze Weber, in the turbulent run-up to their marriage. In a letter four days after the previous one to her and only two months after his sudden marriage to Constanze, Mozart wrote to thank the baroness, as he put it, “for having at once taken so much trouble about the beautiful coat, and for your goodness in promising to give me one like it.”

Emily Anderson’s English translation of the great opera composer’s letter continues more like a soap opera: “I can say with truth that I am a very happy and a very unhappy man,” Mozart wrote, “unhappy since the night when I saw your Ladyship at the ball with your hair so beautifully dressed – for – gone is my peace of mind!  Nothing but sighs and groans! […] But alas! Who taps me on the shoulder? Who peeps into my letter? Alas, alas, alas! My wife!  Well, well, in the name of heaven, I have taken her and must keep her!”

Additional reading:

Jane Glover Mozart’s Women: His Family, His Friends, His Music (MacMillan)

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