the Mozart kids from Salzburg

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the Mozart letters                                    

 While on tour in Italy, the 14-year-old Mozart wrote various letters to his older sister who was now left at home in Salzburg to prepare for marriage. While Mozart performed near the Roman Coliseum and ruins of Pompeii, Maria was beginning a new chapter in her life without music.  Maria had been forced to stop performing by her father Leopold, but she continued to compose music, as described in letters to her brother, “the wolf.” The quotes below are taken from various letters Wolfgang wrote to her from his Italian tour.

“I wish that my sister was here in Rome, for this city would assuredly delight her, for St. Peter’s Basillica is symmetrical, and many other things in Rome are also symmetrical…. WOLFGANG MOZART, Rome, April 14, 1770
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“Haydn’s twelfth minuet, which you sent me, pleases me very much; you have composed an inimitable bass for it, and without the slightest fault. I do beg that you will often exercise yourself in such things. Mamma must not forget to see that the guns are both polished up. Tell me how Master Canary is? Does he still sing? and still whistle? Do you know why I am thinking about the canary? Because we have one in our ante-room that chirps out a Gsharp just like ours…Tell Herr von Schiedenhofen to learn the repetition minuet on the piano, to be sure to DO so, and DO not let him forget it. He must DO this in order to DO me the favor to let me accompany him some day or other. DO give my best compliments to all my friends, and DO continue to live happily, and DO not die, but DO live on, that you may be able to DO another letter for me, and I DO one for you, and thus we shall go on DOING till we can DO something worth DOING; but I am one of those who will go on DOING till all DOINGS are at an end. In the mean time I DO subscribe myself.” Your W. M. Naples, May 19th, 1770

“I played at two concerts, and tomorrow I am to play at another. After dinner we played Boccia at Potsch.  This is a game I have learnt, and when I come home, I will teach it to you. When I have finished this letter, I am going to complete a symphony that I have begun. The aria is finished. The copyist (who is my father) has the symphony, because we do not choose it to be copied by anyone else, or it might be stolen.”

“WOLFGANGO” in Germany


From Rome-mistress of the world, April 25, 1770

Explore the interactive map of Mozart’s childhood home of Salzburg.