MOZART’S WIFE, CONSTANZE WEBER: MY PAGE:
Salzburg, January 5, 1842
Why, come in, my dear guests! Gruess Gott! Please come into my parlor and sit yourselves down here in these comfortable chairs. Here; please take a slice of this delicious Schokoladentorte. I baked it especially for your visit. And let me pour you some piping hot Kaffee, ja? Ah! Does it not smell good! I am pleased to be able to share my thoughts with you.
No doubt, dear friends, the music of my dear, departed husband, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, has brought you here, to me. Well, I am delighted and honored. In fact, there is nothing on God’s green earth that I would rather converse about than my beloved late husband and his music. It does my heart good to know that his wonderful legacy—his music—lives still and is ever relevant. Nothing refreshes this old soul and these tired old bones more than to sit down at the pianoforte and choose from the wealth and great number of dear Mozart’s works: something to play, ofttimes something also to sing. For Wolfgang was proud of my skill and dexterity on the pianoforte and of my pure, lilting soprano voice. Although I celebrate my eightieth birthday this day, I have the tireless optimism and hope of a young girl.
I see my mission in life to keep working diligently to preserve Mozart’s music forever on the world’s stage, to not let it die and become obsolete as we move inexorably into the modern age.
You see, I can scarce remember a time when Mozart was not the central force in my life, when I did not love him.
Ach, how long ago was it when we first met?
Well, never you mind, but I was then a gawky adolescent, and I recall that Mozart was courting my older sister, Aloysia. In fact, he had become in a short time a dear and trusted family friend, and during the winter he spent in Mannheim when I was fifteen, my young and tender heart developed an acute and deep attachment to this lovely, precious young man, so very appealing and dear to me in his person and remarkable in his astounding talent and genius.
Ach, I still remember as though it were only yesterday the very first time that I met Wolfgang, my Wolfi, whom I sometimes also tenderly called Wolferl—the first time he came to our house.
And Wolfgang lovingly called me his “Stanzi-Marini,” a play on my name, Maria Constanze, and his “dearest, most beloved little wife.”
My young heart was instantly seized with unfamiliar longing and desire.
I was aware of brand new feelings in my whole body. I looked at this winsome, earnest young man’s face. I instantly fell deeply in love with him. Wolfgang had such beautiful, large and penetrating, soulful blue eyes.
And ach what an irresistible sensuous mouth he had, and such a delightful, winsome smile! And I adored his large prominent nose; it lent great character to his countenance.
Wolfgang was a short, slim man with medium blond hair and a pale complexion.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg on January 27, 1756, and was called to the Lord on December 5, 1791 in Vienna, aged almost six-and-thirty years.
Dear friends, I--Constanze--am the third sister, following in birth order two gifted, professional opera singers, Josefa and Aloysia. My dear Papa tendered me with music, voice, and foreign language lessons, as he did all his daughters.
But I never stood out. I seemed lost, drowned in the shuffle, buried and overpowered by two dynamic forces, Josefa and Aloysia.
I sensed a similar estrangement in Wolfgang.
Somehow, he also seemed lonely, as I was—an outsider—frustratingly trying to break away from the tyranny of being in service to the aristocracy, wanting to make his own way in the world.
The imprint Mozart made on my heart was deepened when, one and one half years later in Munich, where we then resided, he again came into our lives—this time on his return trip to Salzburg from his stay in Paris. Mozart realized that my sister, Aloysia, did not return his feelings for her, and his attachment to my sister ended.
Wolfi and I both realized that we were kindred spirits and were special and precious one to the other. But the blossoming of our love would have to wait another two years, when Mozart cut his ties to his noble employer, the Archbishop of Salzburg, and moved to Vienna, as we had two years previously, lodging with us—the Webers—who then consisted of my widowed mother, myself, and my youngest sister and best friend, Sophie—the only Webers still living at home--now a boarding house run by my Mama.
Mozart made me laugh, my friends.
He had a propensity for joking around, and especially with me.
Mozart found me special, and he made me feel special; I secretly rejoiced in that and drew comfort and strength from it.
Mozart and I shared a special world of laughter and acting silly together.
His joking with me endeared him to me.
Wolfgang was a man who often fidgeted around; he sometimes even jumped over tabletops, and he made a game with me of saying words backwards.
Mozart and I were deeply in love, and were married in Saint Stefan’s Cathedral when I was twenty and my husband six-and-twenty.
Our love and attachment was like a flowering spring—always vital and fresh!
At times, dear friends, I had to pinch myself. I, Constanze Weber, was living with and married to a genius. I knew from the start that this impish, convivial, jovial and sometimes serious lad produced music—and from such a young age—that was more than remarkable—that was sheer genius.
My husband was that comforting, beloved presence beside me—my soulmate—and also a person touched by the gods, endowed with the most extraordinary musical ability who ever lived.
My Wolfgang needed me and depended on me.
I would often sit up with him late into the night sewing or knitting while he composed, in order that I could offer him loving support when he looked up from his music pages, reassured to know that I was there. Often, we sang and played the pianoforte together and were lost in our own special world of tender, nonsensical banter.
Throughout our marriage, Wolfgang never tired of writing me endearing and tender letters.
But life, dear friends, was no picnic.
In nine years, I gave birth to six children, only two surviving infancy to grow up—our sons, Karl Thomas and Franz Xaver Wolfgang.
Exhausted and ill from the ceaseless pregnancies and births, I frequently sought the curative waters of the spas in an effort to regain my health.
All too soon, illness took my precious husband and I was alone, my beloved Wolfgang gone.
All I had left, quite apart from my precious sons, was my husband’s magnificent music. Soon, I saw what a legacy I held in my hands—and the urgent need—the absolute necessity—of making sure that my beloved husband’s music would never be forgotten!
Oh, my precious Wolfi, my dearest darling.
I loved him so.
And I shall forever love and cherish him. It is not accurate, dear friends, to say after one’s dear spouse dies, “I loved him.”
No; no. For the correct verb tense is “I love him”. Just because a loved one has passed on does not mean that we cease loving that person. I shall always love Wolfgang deeply, shall always cherish his precious memory, for love is eternal.
I organized concerts of my beloved husband’s music to keep it in the public eye, and then, my friends, I made an important decision to travel throughout the German lands, organizing and promoting concerts of Wolfgang’s music--something which, until that time, had never been undertaken by a woman.
My older sister, Aloysia, a well-known opera singer, accompanied me on one of these extensive journeys to publicize my late husband’s music.
My sister performed in his operas and sang his arias in concerts.
Even I sometimes sang in these opera performances alongside seasoned and established opera singers. The tour went very well, and in Hamburg, I made the amiable contact with Herr Christoph Breitkopf, a music publisher, whom I later had publish Wolfgang’s works.
And later, dear friends, I was fortunate to find love and companionship again in my dear second husband, Baron Georg Nikolaus von Nissen, born in Denmark and a diplomat by profession. Georg was the love of my middle years, a love not as emotional and passionate as my first love, but quiet, true, and steadfast! Nissen was as devoted and determined as I am to preserving the music and the memory of Mozart, and after Nissen’s death in 1826, I endeavored to publish his enormous project, his labor of love—the first comprehensive biography of Mozart.
And now in this year of our Lord 1842, our hard and devoted work is bearing fruit, my friends. The town leaders here in Salzburg are erecting in my dear Mozart’s memory a statue of him, even now being sculpted!
The statue will stand in the Michaelsplatz, which, by the by, is going to be renamed the Mozartplatz.
I am so joyed that my life’s mission is being fulfilled—my beloved husband Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart would be moved and gratified.
Yes; he would surely be pleased to know that his music and his legacy forever shall live.
"MOZART’S WIFE, CONSTANZE WEBER: MY PAGE" is the exclusive property of Marti Burger, and is not to be reprinted without her written permission.
"MOZART’S WIFE, CONSTANZE WEBER: MY PAGE"
© Marti Burger 2003-2008
"MOZART'S WIFE, CONSTANZE WEBER: MY PAGE" is dedicated to an unforgettable person--my lifelong beloved friend and mentor from Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany, later Murnau am Staffelsee, Upper Bavaria, who inspired me to write about Constanze and Wolfgang Mozart and their love for each other.
If you love someone and that person dies, your love for that person does not die.
DR. MARCEL ROGER
May 19, 1924 - December 25, 2003
Thanks for the memories, Marcel.
You are dearly missed.