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Classical 101

Mozart Minute: Bedside Notes to Constanze

In the previous episode of The Mozart Minute, Mozart's wedding to Constanze Weber came off with all the helter-skelter of a well-crafted comic opera. But once Mozart had, as he put it, made an "honest fellow" of himself, he and Constanze settled into a sweet and blissful domestic life. Sure, there were the occasional less-than-happy visits with Mozart's mother-in-law, whose "quarreling and wrangling" with Constanza on one occasion caused Mozart to terminate the visit, leaving with a tearful Constanze in tow. And Mozart's fluctuating income and fanciful tastes certainly added stress at home. But, as the arrivals of the couple's six children in their nine-year marriage attest, Mozart and Constanze seem to have had a happy union full, one imagines, of pet names and pillow talk. You could even imagine Mozart leaving little love notes for Constanze now and then. And in fact, he did. It was Mozart's habit to go riding early in the morning, and when he did he left a written morning greeting at Constanze's bedside.

Here's Emily Anderson's translation of one such note from sometime in 1782, written quite possibly when Constanze was pregnant with their first child, and showing Mozart at once goofy and tender: "Good-morning dear little wife! I hope that you have slept well, that nothing disturbed you, that you haven't got up too hastily, that you are not catching cold, that you are not bending or stretching, that you are not angry with your servants, that you don't fall over the threshold in the next room. Spare yourself household worries until I return. Only may nothing happen to you! I am coming at  - o'clock etc."