Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus.
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Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus.
96. Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus. Autograph envelope, in French, (7.25 x 4.37 in.; 184 x 111 mm.), [Vienna, 8 January 1783?], addressed to his father (“Monsieur Leopold de Mozart maître de la Chapelle de S.A.R. L‘archevecque de et à Salzbourg”); with elaborate red wax seal and seal tear, mounting remnant on verso.
A rare and fine example of the elegant handwriting of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Mozart left home and his father in Salzburg in 1781. In March of that year, Archbishop von Colloredo, who was attending the accession of Joseph II to the Austrian throne, summoned Mozart to Vienna. The Archbishop’s cool reception toward Mozart offended him. He was treated as a mere servant, quartered with the help, and forbidden from performing before the Emperor for a fee equal to half his yearly salary in Salzburg. A quarrel ensued and Mozart offered to resign his post. The Archbishop refused at first, but then relented with an abrupt dismissal and physical removal from the Archbishop’s presence. Mozart decided to settle in Vienna as a freelance performer and composer and for a time lived with friends at the home of Fridolin Weber.
Mozart quickly found work in Vienna, taking on pupils, writing music for publication, and playing in several concerts. He also began writing an opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio). In the summer of 1781, it was rumored that Mozart was contemplating marriage to Fridolin Weber’s daughter, Constanze. Knowing his father would disapprove of the marriage and the interruption in his career, young Mozart quickly wrote his father denying any idea of marriage. But by December, he was asking for his father’s blessings. While it’s known that Leopold disapproved, what is not known is the discussion between father and son as Constanze apparently is said to have destroyed Leopold’s letters. Later correspondence from Wolfgang, however indicated that he and his father disagreed considerably on this matter. He was in love with Constanze and the marriage was being strongly encouraged by her mother, so in some sense, he felt committed. The couple was finally married on August 4, 1782. In the meantime, Leopold did finally consent to the marriage. Biographers differ on the extent that Leopold, if at all, later snubbed Constanze, during her visit with Wolfgang (July – October 1783) to Salzburg but most surmise the visit was not entirely happy.
As 1782 turned to 1783, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart became enthralled with the work of Johannes Sebastian Bach and George Frederic Handel and this, in turn, resulted in several compositions in the Baroque style and influenced much of his later compositions, such as passages in Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) and the finale of Symphony Number 41. During this time, Mozart met Joseph Haydn and the two composers became admiring friends. When Haydn visited Vienna, they sometimes performed impromptu concerts with string quartets. Between 1782 and 1785 Mozart wrote six quartets dedicated to Haydn.
The envelope herewith was most likely written by Mozart after his marriage to Constanze and before his visit to his father in Salzburg with his new wife.
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