Presentation on theme: "Nannerl The woman behind Symphony Start. Maria Anna Walburga Ignatia Mozart (nicknamed “Marianne” or “Nannerl”) was born in Salzburg, the first of her."— Presentation transcript:
Maria Anna Walburga Ignatia Mozart (nicknamed “Marianne” or “Nannerl”) was born in Salzburg, the first of her parents’ two surviving children. The second was Wolfgang Gottlieb, her only sibling. --- When she was seven years old, her father Leopold started giving her harpsichord lessons. --- It was watching her practice that inspired Wolfgang to learn music. In other words, it was she that gave us the gift of Mozart’s music.
When they were children, their father took them on a tour of Europe to showcase their glittering talents. By all accounts, Nannerl was as talented as her brother. --- However, from 1769 onwards, she was no longer allowed to perform, as she had reached a marriageable age and was expected to stay at home quietly. She was forbidden to perform or compose, or to practice any instrument besides keyboard ones.
Up until then, Nannerl had written a few pieces of music, some by herself, and some together with Wolferl. All have been lost. We do not know for sure if she obeyed her father after his order to stop composing. We do not know if she published under another name. However, later in life, we do have some letters of Wolferl’s praising her compositions. Who knows?
Plain-looking Marianne attracted a surprising amount of suitors, all eligible. However, her father had loftier plans for her. He orchestrated a marriage between her and the much older, widower Count du Sonnenburg. By all accounts their marriage was a peaceful and reasonably happy one, but all experts agree Nannerl was really in love with a captain named Franz D’Ippold, who reciprocated her feelings. It seems they were even engaged an amount of time before her marriage, until Leopold Mozart expressed his displeasure. Nannerl, as always, obeyed him and ended the relationship. Wolfgang sent her frantic letters to follow her heart and even rebel, but they went unanswered and unobeyed. To this day, we have no idea what went on in the mind and heart of Mozart’s sister in that difficult period. She eventually had three children of her own.
Experts disagree on her later relationship with Wolfgang. She definitely inspired him in his childhood and early adolescence, but after her marriage her letters to him seem to dwindle and disappear. He wrote her a few unanswered ones. No one knows what caused this strain between them. We do know that in his will, Leopold Mozart left Nannerl everything except for a few chairs. We do know he heartily opposed Wolferl’s marriage to the childish Constanze Weber. Maybe it was a sort of mutual jealousy, a sort of bitterness wreaked by their domineering father. We’ll never know for sure.
After Mozart’s death, Nannerl seems to have had a burst of zeal of maintaining her brother’s place in musical history. She, along with Constanze, gathered all of his scores, even going as far knocking door to door asking for manuscripts. Her work greatly helped Kochel in later cataloging and chronologically organizing Mozart’s works. Once again and for the last time, Nannerl saved the Mozart we know today.
In my books, I’ve tried to create a character as close as possible to Nannerl – one that would explain her seemingly bizarre actions and her lack of rebellion. Maybe we’ve approached her situation wrongly, maybe we’re imagining her as someone like Wolfgang a little too much, maybe that’s what’s putting us on the wrong path to finding out the answers about her. Whatever the reasons to her reactions to everything are, I know that she definitely has much to say to the women of today – and perhaps that’s why her story is so enduring, so touching, and so fascinating. Nannerl, in whatever time period she lived in, has a message that is as immortal as Mozart’s music – and maybe her own. -M. W.
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