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The life of Constanze Mozart, who lived the adventure of marriage to the world's first musical Superstar.
At sixteen my big sister Aloysia looked like the painted goddesses who reclined voluptuously above our heads on the ceiling of the opera house. Like them, she was blonde, rosy, round breasted and narrow waisted. Althouth she didn't fall in love with Mozart (as both he and my parents so ardently desired, I did.
It happened because Papa stanchly maintained that no matter how tight things were, we could "always spare a little beer and some of Josepha's fine liver dumplings." He was forever bringing home traveling musicians from the Court, absolutely certain that one of these fellows would be useful. Mama never believed his hospitality would yield anything to our advantage, but this peccadillo was the only one my father owned.
At sixteen my big sister Aloysia looked like the painted goddesses who reclined voluptuously above our heads on the ceiling of the opera house. Like them, she was blonde, rosy, round breasted, and narrow waisted. Although she didn’t fall in love with Mozart, as both he and my parents so ardently desired, I did.
It happened because Papa staunchly maintained that no matter how tight things were, we could “always spare a little beer and some of Jo’s fine liver dumplings.” He was forever bringing home traveling musicians from the Court, absolutely certain that one of these fellows would be useful. Mama never believed his hospitality would yield anything to our advantage, but this peccadillo was the only one my father owned.
Some of our guests were famous, most were not. All, however, had exciting stories to tell about the great courts they’d seen and famous performers they’d heard. Besides, once they set eyes on Aloysia, they were glad to spend an evening giving impromptu lessons.
The most notable wanderer Papa brought home was Wolfgang Mozart. He had stopped at the Mannheim Court on his way to Paris. After composing a piece for one of our noblemen, Herr Mozart had required a copyist.
He was, naturally, directed to my Papa, whose desperation was such that he took on every kind of odd job. Of course, Papa knew of him; this “miracle of nature” who’d been entertaining kings since his sixth year.
After the copying job was done, Papa took the pay he’d just been given and invited the famous Herr Mozart to The Ox. After downing a stein of our famous beer, they would join in a harmony of a familiar tune; the treachery of the nobility. It quickly became apparent that our families had much in common. The story of Papa’s fall, without the questionable details with which Mama liked to embellish it, was central. Years ago, as a bailiff for one Baron Schonau, Papa had provided handsomely for his growing family.
His master, finding him compliant (what poor man with four daughters to dower is not?) involved him in a crooked business deal. When the deal went bad, Schonau had the perfect scapegoat. In the end, we had to flee the Baron’s lands in the middle of the night to escape arrest.
On horseback, Papa decoyed the pursuing politzei away, while Mama and the rest of us were driven across the border of the electorate in a farm wagon. Under the hay was hidden our klavier and a wardrobe; the latter stuffed with a collection of whatever had come first to hand.
Mozart listened to this story of betrayal and ruin with great sympathy. He hated his master, Archbishop Colloredo, as thoroughly as Papa hated Baron Schonau. Mozart explained that his father, an educated man and an able musician, was constantly humiliated and bullied by the Archbishop. In fact, Wolfgang was in Mannheim because he had resigned his commission and was traveling through the world looking for another.
Archbishop Colloredo was Mozart’s devil and Baron Schonau was Papa’s. They called for more beer and pondered the great question of the day: whether a talented, hardworking man could make his way in a world dominated by aristocratic privilege.
“Would you share my table some evening, Herr Mozart?” asked Papa. “Nothing special, of course. Only what an unlucky German can offer. But my oldest girl cooks like an angel and my beautiful Aloysia, just sixteen, Herr Mozart, sings like one.”
Papa had sized up his companion. Such an invitation, a combination of earthly and musical pleasure, was irresistible.
This is a multi-faceted novel which brilliantly joins the nomenclature of romantic and historical fiction. I would highly recommend this novel to lovers of music, lovers of history, and just plain lovers
Mozart's Wife/Gregory Harris/BookPage
An entertaining and sometimes erotic look at a remarkable woman who earned the lifelong love of one of history's most remarkable men.
MidWest Book Review
Hardshell Word Factory & B&N, Amazon.com
There are books that stay with me long after I read them, and Mozart's Wife is one of them. Written from the viewpoint of Konstanze, Mozart's much maligned wife, the story starts when she, only a child, first gets a glimpse of the man who will some day be her husband. Then in love with Aloysia, her older sister, Wolfgang hardly notices Konstanze. But she catches his eye when she turns fifteen and he seduces and marries her.
I had scant knowledge of Konstanze before reading this book, except for what historians have written. Juliet uses personal letters and meticulous research to paint a vibrant portrait of a woman living in the late eighteenth century. The book captures Konstanze's day to day life, her struggles with everything from cooking to heating her house, to loving a man who is brilliant but fickle, unstable, and spendthrift.
Erotic, romantic, and moving, Mozart's Wife is a loving tribute to a woman who lived in the shadow of her husband. Capturing the love the couple shared, their tragedies as well, and bringing Mozart down to human level is this book's strong suit. Instead of reading about Mozart the genius composer, Juliet Waldron, using Konstanze as our guide, helps us fall in love and understand the man behind the music. For Konstanze, her husband's work was for paying the rent and the real passion and heartbreak in their life came from day to day living, their family and friends, and the births and deaths of their children. From her eyes, we see the love she has for her husband and their life as it unfolds in a succession of houses and cities.
Mozart's Wife is the story of a tragedy, but in it is all the ardor and brilliance of an exceptional man as told by his loving wife. I cannot recommend this book enough and look forward to passing it on to friends and family.
Very highly recommended.
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Reader Reviews for "Mozart's Wife"
|Reviewed by Michael Guy
|I'll be spending some time on your M.W. website. And being a bit financially depressed, (yes there are STILL composers today, who really are! (independent) and are paying highly for it)I may have to wait until October to buy this; I think it IS one I must read. As author of one semi-biographical H.F. novel (The Last Renaissance Man) who's main chararacter is modeled on English composer Henry Purcell, I'm impressed to see how you've treated a similar project. Of course, this novel focuses on his wife, a challenge that can be exploited, because like my Henry Purcell paralell, not too much known of her. Yet her husband and time period is well known. Purcell's music is well known but his life details are few. I think the less known about the life can be a virtue in historical fiction, if the writer is re-creative enough.
Most of all, I was intrigued by your article on your site: "A Day in the Life of a Historical Fiction Writer" (something like that) - I too seem to have no taste for some of the historical romance that seems to sell the most, simply because it just isn't historical to me.
I wrote mine in the first person and tried to capture details and at least some nuance of the period language and trappings of the time (17th century)
My problem was I lacked a good content editor. (independently published unfortunately)
It will be fascinating to see how you, a much more successful and mature writer (how many novels?) handles this challenge.
I'll let you know when I read it...
Sincerely, Michael Guy (author/composer: the Last Renaissance Man/CD: August Ocean Overture)
|Reviewed by Dianne Salerni
|Many a romance novel ends with marriage. The courtship, the chase, the first declarations of love … these things provide the backbone of the novel, and in the end there is marriage and, presumably, a happy ever-after. In Juliet Waldron’s historical novel Mozart’s Wife, however, the courtship and marriage of Konstanze Weber and Wolfgang Mozart is only the beginning. The true story begins with the wedded life that follows, when romance and love are truly tested. Konstanze begins the novel as a self-conscious young maiden, overlooked in favor of her more talented sisters. She falls in love with Mozart and can hardly believe that the astonishing young composer has chosen her for his one true soulmate. But marriage to the musical genius turns out to be a tumultuous existence for Konstanze, who quickly must mature into a wife, a mother, and household accountant. Konstanze, who grew up in a musical family, is not unappreciative of Mozart’s genius, but reality dictates that music be treated as a business, rather than an art. While Wolfgang Mozart follows his muse, creating the music he loves—whether there is a market for it or not—Konstanze tries to prevent them from falling into poverty. Mozart is flighty, unpredictable, and easily swayed by his friends. Konstanze has to wrest control of the household accounts from him just to keep their family from ruin. Like many women of her day, she finds herself constantly pregnant; every childbirth is a life-endangering horror, and the precious infants are easily carried off by disease. Grief for her children and scandalous rumors of her husband’s infidelity test the limits of her love, but Mozart’s emotional bond with his wife proves strong enough to last beyond his death—surprising even Konstanze. Juliet Waldron has created a believable, multi-faceted portrait of a wife loved but betrayed, adoring and yet resentful, capricious and sometimes spiteful. Mozart’s Wife is a memorable historical novel about a woman who has been long overlooked and often maligned by historians, but without whose intervention Mozart’s music might have been lost to the world forever.