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Classical 101

Mozart Minute: Mozart in Love

If you've followed the previous Mozart Minute episodes, then you know that Mozart had a miserable stay in Paris, where for a year or so he was trying to establish himself as an opera composer. He left Paris in late October 1778 seemingly unscathed by his fair-to-middling success in the French capital. His destination: home to Salzburg,where work as a court organist (hmm ... didn't Mozart turn down a gig like this in Paris?) and as concertmaster in the Archbishop's court orchestra awaited him. Not the operatic glamour Mozart so craved, and certainly way too close to home for comfort, but work that would at least keep Mozart out of the pool halls. Mozart charted his journey home through Strasbourg, where he put on a few concerts that no one attended, and Mannheim, the home of one of Europe's great orchestras. Mannheim also happened to be the home of the Weber family, who were friendly with the Mozarts, and whose daughters were coming of age. Mozart incidentally had a certain fondness for one of the Weber girls, namely the soprano Aloysia Weber. No, scratch that: Mozart was, quite simply, besotted. And according to a letter of November 23, 1778 from Mozart's father, Leopold, everyone in Europe knew it. Here's Emily Anderson's translation: "Two things seem to be turning your head and altogether preventing you from thinking out matters sensibly. The first and chief one is your love for Mlle Weber, to which I am not at all opposed. I was not against it when her father was poor, so why should I be now, when she can make your happiness -  though you cannot make hers? I assume that her father knows about this love, as everyone in Mannheim knows about it. [Josef] Fiala heard about it there. [Joseph] Bullinger, who is tutor in Count Lodron's house, told us that when the Count was driving with the Mannheim musicians in the mail coach from Ellwangen ..., they talked to him of nothing but your skill, your talent for composition and your love for Mlle Weber." The second thing "turning" Mozart's head? Mozart's reluctance to come back to Salzburg and take a grown-up job, like his father wanted him to do. And what of Mozart's crush on Mlle Weber? Call it a classic case of transference, or call it Cupid's whim - Aloysia was destined to be a bridesmaid, not the bride, when Mozart married her sister Constanze four years later.