Thoughts on letters between Amadeus Mozart and his father

“My Dearest Father” is a booklet from the collection of Penguin little black classics and contains a selection of letters between Mozart and his father written between October 1777 and July 1778.

This little book was given me by my twin sister for my 19th birthday last year. Though the book itself is very thin, it took me a while to finish it. Honestly, I was very surprised when I read the first letters. Before diving into a more elaborate explanation, it is convenient to have a notion of why I would be interested to these read letters. As many of my friends and acquaintances know, I am a passionate listener to classical music. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is without doubt one of my favourite composers. There is something so exquisite and perfect in his music that I am intrigued to understand the man behind the music. Though I read a few biographies for gaining a deeper understanding of Mozart, I still had a lot of questions about Mozart as a person and hoped his letters would give me more information behind his genius.

My expectations about the letters were very high but unfortunately my first impression was quite a disappointment. One easily forgets that letters were the only way of communicating when one was travelling in that time. Because of that, it is no surprise that the letters between father and son were about the financial situation of the Mozarts, upcoming music tours, possible jobs and networking.

The main topics of the letters were just practical ones but the fatherly love from Leopold Mozart is highly present. His constant concern that Mozart is about to do something stupid did me realise that Amadeus Mozart was just a very talented person trying to survive in the competitive environment of composers.

Obviously, my point of view about Amadeus Mozart is more nuanced after reading a very small amount of his letters but I am still convinced that reading his other letters will give me a deeper insight. On the other hand, is it even possible to understand Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s genius? Maybe it is enough to enjoy his music apart from the life he lived.

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