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‘Your friend and servant Constanza, wife of Councillor von Nissen, former widow of Mozart’

The Mozart Foundation in Salzburg has accepted six letters about the making of the Requiem. Release below.

constanze mozart

 

Dr. Armin Brinzing, head of the Bibliotheca Mozartiana was able to accept six letters (in some cases sketches) from the estate of Maximilian Stadler, owned privately in Germany, as a permanent loan to the Mozarteum Foundation. The correspondence about the so-called “Requiem conflict” no longer exists in complete form and yet it gives us a vivid insight into the efforts made by Mozart’s widow and those who supported her to preserve the memory of the great composer. It is thus a very pleasing addition to the collection of the Bibliotheca Mozartiana.

Maximilian Stadler was in his day not insignificant as a composer and knew Mozart personally. After Mozart’s death he rendered outstanding services to his widow Constanze and her later second husband Georg Nikolaus Nissen by helping them to order Mozart’s musical legacy. He was probably also asked by Constanze to complete some of the works that Mozart had left behind as fragments.

Stadler was therefore predestined to emerge as a counterpart to the German author and composer Jacob Gottfried Weber who unleashed the so-called “Requiem Conflict” in 1825. At that time important facts about the creation of the Requiem and its completion by Franz Xaver Süßmayr were still unknown to the public, which led to all sorts of speculations. Weber even went so far as to assert in various publications that of the alleged Requiem ultimately “not one single piece was purely Mozart’s work”. He also maintained that although there were enough documents to show that Mozart had worked on a requiem before his death, this “genuine” requiem had been lost.

In the context of this conflict Stadler approached the public with several publications as the defender of the authenticity of the Requiem. Stadler was well informed about what had occurred as he himself had at times participated in the efforts to complete Mozart’s Requiem. In one of the letters he writes about it to Constanze Nissen-Mozart:

“For my part I did nothing other than fulfil my duty in saving the honour of your immortal husband and I will continue to defend it until his undignified opponent (Jacob Gottfried Weber is meant here) has been silenced.”

Besides some letters by Stadler (drafts) there are two letters by Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart (Mozart’s younger son) and a letter by the German music publisher Johann Anton André (who had bought Mozart’s musical legacy from his widow Constanze in 1799). Together with these loans a letter written by Constanze Mozart that is unfortunately incomplete is also added to the collection in the Bibliotheca Mozartiana. She signed this letter to Stadler as follows:

“Your friend and servant Constanza, wife of Councillor von Nissen, former widow of Mozart”

 

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Comments

  1. I think it’s rather wonderful to refer to “your immortal husband” instead of “your late husband” as we so prosaically say now. If I am brave enough, I will try for the former at some point. Big danger of sounding insincere, I suppose.

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