Maria Constanze Mozart (1762 – 1842)
Mozart’s second Weber sister, wife and estate trustee
I want to make my wife happy and not achieve my own happiness through her, wrote Mozart to his father explaining his desire to marry Aloysia Weber. Mozart wanted a marriage for love and not a marriage of convenience. But Leopold would not allow it.
A few years later, Mozart sought once again to marry. Another Weber sister! Once again Leopold protested.
In 1777 Mozart had met Aloysia Weber, already a celebrated soprano, in Mannheim. He fell in love with her and wanted to marry immediately. He even composed music for their wedding mass. But Aloysia rejected him, and father Leopold was also against it, fearing that Mozart’s career would suffer as a result of a marriage for love.
He ordered his son to leave for Paris. Aloysia married another man shortly afterwards. In 1781 Mozart met the Weber family again in Vienna. This time he had eyes for Aloysia’s younger sister Constanze. He fell in love with the 20-year-old but this time has the courage to defy his father and marry her.
To judge by their letters, they enjoyed each other’s company, even if their life together was not easy. To maintain the cult of genius surrounding Mozart, many biographers blamed Constanze for their unhappy life and described her as frivolous, compulsive, unfaithful and selfish.
Vicious rumors? Or simply a lack of understanding for women of that time? Whatever the case, Constanze became pregnant six times in eight years, but only her sons Carl Thomas and Franz Xaver survived infancy.
The pregnancies took their toll on Constanze’s health. She had leg ulcers and bedsores and requiring treatment. Added to this were the many moves and constant financial problems.
Mozart made a good living, earning an average of 5,000 florins per year from his compositions, concerts and lessons. By comparison, a servant girl earned 12 florins in a year!
But he had an extravagant lifestyle, with expensive clothes, instruments, furniture, apartments, travel and gambling. After his death in 1791, Constanze was left alone with the children, the debts and many unfinished manuscripts. She didn’t sell the compositions immediately, however, but kept them.
She wanted to compile an edition of his collected works. She married Georg Nikolaus Nissen, who helped her with the estate and wrote the first Mozart biography. Constanze Nissen, née Weber, Mozart’s widow, died at the age of 80 years.