Anna Maria Mozart, née Pertl (1720 – 1778)
Mozart’s mother, travel manager and minder
Adio ben mio leb gsund, Reck den arsch zum mund. Ich winsch ein guete nacht, scheiss ins beth das Kracht, thus writes Mozart’s mother to her husband Leopold. The family obviously enjoyed crude forms of expression.
To judge by her letters, she was an energetic, funny and confident woman. She was twenty-seven – quite old for the time – when she married the court and chamber composer Leopold Mozart. It was a love match, something that Leopold would not allow for his children. They started very soon to plan a family, and Anna Maria went through and survived seven pregnancies in eight years. But only Nannerl and Wolferl lived for more than six months.
When their exceptional musical talent became evident, the entire family went on a monster tour with their child prodigies. They traveled 4,400 km by carriage in three years, visiting Germany, Belgium, France, England, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
But as soon as Nannerl grew older and was no longer marketable as a child prodigy, the mother and daughter had to remain at home, leaving father Leopold and son Wolferl to continue touring.
In 1777, however, Leopold asked Anna Maria to accompany their son on tour as organizer and minder. They did not believe that the 21-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus was serious and sensible enough to seek a situation in the princely courts. The tour was a fiasco. Mozart was unhappily in love and unsuccessful in his career. His mother was left on her own, cold and bored, in the miserable pensions where they stayed. She felt like a captive in the dark and damp rooms with unpalatable food. Mozart did not concern himself with her. He did as he pleased. Anna Maria could no longer protect him; on the contrary, she had become a burden.
In Paris she fell ill, lost her hearing, went into a coma and died at the age of fifty-eight – probably of typhoid fever.
Mozart disobeyed his father’s order to return home immediately and followed his loved one Aloysia to Mannheim and Munich.