Daily Rituals How Artists Work: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

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Daily Rituals How Artists Work: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

In 1781, after several years searching in vain for a suitable post with the European nobility, Mozart decided to settle in Vienna as a freelance composer and performer. There were ample opportunities in the city for a musician of Mozart’s talent and renown, but staying solvent necessitated a frantic round of piano lessons, concert performances, and social visits with the city’s wealthy patrons. At the same time, Mozart was also courting his future wife, Constanze, under the disapproving gaze of her mother. All this activity left him only a few hours a day to compose new works. In a 1782 letter to his sister, he gave a detailed account of these hectic days in Vienna:

“My hair is always done by six o’clock in the morning and by seven I am fully dressed. I then compose until nine. From nine to one I give lessons. Then I lunch, unless I am invited to some house where they lunch at two or even three o’clock, as, for example, today and tomorrow at Countess Zichy’s and Countess Thun’s. I can never work before five or six o’clock in the evening, and even then I am often prevented by a concert. If I am not prevented, I compose until nine. I then go to my dear Constanze, though the joy of seeing one another is nearly always spoilt by her mother’s bitter remarks.… At half past ten or eleven I come home—it depends on her mother’s darts and on my capacity to endure them! As I cannot rely on being able to compose in the evening owing to the concerts which are taking place and also to the uncertainty as to whether I may not be summoned now here and now there, it is my custom (especially if I get home early) to compose a little before going to bed. I often go on writing until one—and am up again at six.”

“Altogether I have so much to do that often I do not know whether I am on my head or my heels,” Mozart wrote to his father. Apparently he was not exaggerating; when Leopold Mozart went to visit his son a few years later, he found the freelancer’s life just as tumultuous as promised. He wrote home from Vienna, “It is impossible for me to describe the rush and bustle.”


If you want to read more, you check the book “Daily Rituals How Artists Work” by Mason Currey on his website , cheers! ♥ #cosmicorgasm

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