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Mozart Minute: Mozart's May Day

image of a portrait of Mozart in which he wears a bright red coat
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As spring springs and nature emerges fresh and fragrant, even Mozart can't resist a posy - or, in this case, two.

Musicologist Daniel Heartz has painted a portrait of Mozart the nature lover who found refreshment in trips to the countryside and even from looking through a window at a beautiful view. And like many, Mozart also once in a while captured a bit of the great outdoors.

In May 1784, Mozart seems to have celebrated the arrival of spring by buying a bouquet. On May 1, he noted in his expenses book having bought two mayflowers for the bargain-basement price of a single kreuzer.

John Rosselli, author of The Life of Mozart (Cambridge University Press, 1998), has estimated Mozart's  income in his most profitable years leading up to 1787 to have been 2,000 to 3,000 florins - or 120,000 to 180,000 kreuzer - per year. Even if 1784, still in the early years of Mozart's marriage with Constanze Weber, was a lean year for Mozart, a kreuzer for a couple of flowers certainly counted among Mozart's less extravagant indulgences.

It's not known what Mozart did with the flowers he bought. But it's tempting to imagine that, Constanze, then uncomfortably pregnant with their second child, might have been surprised that day with a little spring pick-me-up.

Jennifer Hambrick unites her extensive backgrounds in the arts and media and her deep roots in Columbus to bring inspiring music to central Ohio as Classical 101’s midday host. Jennifer performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago before earning a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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