Mozart Minute: Mozart Hits Up His Friend for Cash
Mozart never secured a court or church music job with a comfortable income.Â Instead, he got by on limited earnings as a freelance composer and performer, and with help from his friends.Â
As Mozartâ€™s letters show, one of these friends was Viennese merchant and fellow musician and Freemason Michael Puchberg.Â Here is Emily Andersonâ€™s translation of a letter Mozart wrote to Puchberg in June 1788.
â€œI still owe you eight ducats,â€ Mozart wrote. â€œApart from the fact that at the moment I am not in a position to pay you back this sum, I dare to implore you to help me out with a hundred gulden until next week.â€Â Puchberg sent one hundred gulden.Â
July 12th, 1789: â€œInstead of paying my debts, I am asking for more money.â€Â Mozart requested 500 gulden.Â Only after Mozartâ€™s next letter repeating his request for funds did Puchberg respond with a loan of 150 gulden.Â The letters go on through only months before Mozartâ€™s death in December of 1791.Â Fortunately, so did the loans, and so did the music.