Constanze Mozart

Constanze Mozart was (born Constanze Weber) (5 January 1762 – 6 March 1842) and was the wife of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Constanze Weber was born in Zell im Wiesental. Her mother was Cäcilia Weber, née Stamm. Her father Fridolin Weber worked as a “bass, prompter and copyist.” Fridolin’s half-brother was the father of composer Carl Maria von Weber. Constanze had two older sisters, Josepha and Aloysia and one younger one, Sophie. All were trained as singers, and Josepha and Aloysia both went on to distinguished musical careers, performing later on in the premieres of a number of Mozart’s works.

During most of Constanze’s upbringing, the family lived in her mother’s hometown of Mannheim, an important musical center of the time. The 21-year-old Mozart visited Mannheim in 1777 on a job-hunting tour with his mother and developed a close relationship with the Weber family. He fell in love, not with the 15-year-old Constanze, but with Aloysia. While Mozart was in Paris, Aloysia obtained a position as a singer in Munich, and the family accompanied her there. She rejected Mozart when he passed through Munich on his way back to Salzburg.

The month after the family moved to Vienna in 1779, again following Aloysia as she pursued her career, Fridolin died. By the time Mozart moved to Vienna in 1781, Aloysia had married Joseph Lange, who agreed to help Cäcilia Weber with an annual stipend, and she took in boarders to make ends meet.

Marriage to Mozart

On first arriving in Vienna (16 March 1781), Mozart stayed at the house of the Teutonic Order with the staff of his patron, Archbishop Colloredo. In May, he “was obliged to leave,” and chose to board in the Weber household, originally intending “to stay there only a week.”

After a while, it became apparent to Cäcilia Weber that Mozart was courting Constanze, now 19, and in the interest of propriety, she requested that he leave. Mozart moved out on 5 September to a third-floor room in the Graben.

The courtship continued, not entirely smoothly. Surviving correspondence indicates that Mozart and Constanze briefly broke up in April 1782, over an episode involving jealousy (Constanze had permitted another young man to measure her calves in a parlor game.) Mozart also faced a very difficult task getting his father Leopold’s permission for the marriage.

The marriage took place on, 4 August 1782. In the marriage contract, Constanze “assigns to her bridegroom five hundred gulden which the latter has promised to augment with one thousand gulden”, with the total “to pass to the survivor”. Further, all joint acquisitions during the marriage were to remain the common property of both. A day after the marriage took place, the consent of Wolfgang’s father arrived in the mail.

The couple had six children, of whom four did not survive infancy.

  • Raimund Leopold (17 June – 19 August 1783)
  • Karl Thomas Mozart (21 September 1784 – 31 October 1858)
  • Johann Thomas Leopold (18 October – 15 November 1786)
  • Theresia Constanzia Adelheid Friedericke Maria Anna (27 December 1787 – 29 June 1788)
  • Anna Maria (b/d 25 December 1789)
  • Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart (26 July 1791 – 29 July 1844)

After Mozart’s death

Mozart died in 1791, leaving debts and placing Constanze in a difficult position. At this point Constanze’s business skills came into fruition: she obtained a pension from the Emperor, organized profitable memorial concerts, and embarked on a campaign to publish her husband’s works. These efforts eventually made Constanze financially secure, even well-off. She sent Karl and Franz to Prague to be educated by Franz Xaver Niemetschek, with whom she collaborated on the first full-length biography of Mozart.

 

1840 daguerreotype allegedly of Constanze Mozart, seen at front on the far left, two years before her death. Bavarian composer Max Keller is seated center front and to his left is his wife, Josefa. From left to right in rear are the family cook, Philip Lattner (Keller's brother in law), and Keller's daughters Luise and Josefa. The image was first brought to scholarly attention in 1958

Toward the end of 1797, she met Georg Nikolaus von Nissen, a Danish diplomat and writer who was, initially, her tenant. The two began living together in September 1798, and were married in 1809 in Bratislava. From 1810 to 1820 they lived in Copenhagen, and subsequently travelled throughout Europe, especially Germany and Italy. They settled in Salzburg in 1824. Both worked on a biography of Mozart; Constanze eventually published it in 1828, two years after her second husband’s death.

During Constanze’s last years in Salzburg, she had the company of her two surviving sisters, Aloysia and Sophie, also widows, who moved to Salzburg and lived out their lives there.

Edited from Wikipedia

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