Mozart Minute: Father Trouble
Mozart’s relationship with his father, Leopold Mozart, was legendarily intense.
In 1781, when Mozart was 25 years old, that relationship came to a tipping point. At that time, Mozart’s musical gift was bursting at the seams, but by the summer of 1781, Mozart had already been sacked by the Prince Archbishop of Salzburg, Hieronymous Colloredo, for insouciant behavior. As author David Cairns points out in Mozart and His Operas, the letters Leopold wrote to Mozart during this time, scolding him for the reports of his bad behavior at the end of his time at Colloredo’s court, do not survive.
But Mozart’s responses to them do, including this one, which must have struck the ever-clinging Leopold as the final insult: “It saddens me that, from the way you reacted to my last letter – as if I were a compete scoundrel or else a fool or both – you clearly have more faith in the idle gossip and scribblings of others than you have in me – that in fact you have no confidence in me at all. But I can assure you that all this doesn’t bother me. People may write what they like till they’re blue in the face and you may believe them as much as you please, it won’t change me by a hair’s breadth. […] But there’s no point in going on about it, as the absurd tales God alone knows who puts into your head will always outweigh any reasoning of mine.”