Legendary Leopolitans No. 5: Mozart’s forgotten son

  • Legendary Leopolitans No. 5: Mozart’s forgotten son
Issue 24, May 2010.

 Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart (26 July 1791 – 29 July 1844), also known as F. X. Mozart or simply Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Jr., was the youngest child of six born to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his wife Constanze. He was spend much of life in the shadow of his father’s greatness while making a major contribution to the growth of musical education in 19th century Habsburg Lviv

Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart was actually born in Vienna just five months before his illustrious father’s death and was the younger of his parents’ two surviving sons. He was a composer, pianist, conductor, and teacher. The reason he is known to history by a number of different names is the fact that while he was originally named in honour of his father and his father’s student and close friend, Franz Xaver Sussmayr, at some later point in life his mother Constanze changed Franz Xaver’s name legally to Wolfgang Amadeus. Whatever drove her to do so, it was a fair reflection of the dominating role his dead father would play in Mozart junior’s life.
Wolfgang possessed a good musical talent and received the best musical tuition which money could buy or which influence could secure. Haydn himself took great interest in his education and taught him without remuneration,  firmly believed in Wolfgang’s ability. At the age of eleven Wolfgang delighted Constanze by composing a Rondo for piano for her name-day. In 1805 Constanze decided to present the fourteen year old Wolfgang to the public with his first concert. The theatre in Vienna was full and Constanze herself led Wolfgang onto the stage where they were greeted with thunderous applause. Wolfgang’s concert brought forth many favourable reviews but the Allgemeine  Musikalische Zeitung struck a cautionary note: “May he not forget that for while now the name Mozart will inspire leniency, in the future it will entail great expectations.” Over the next two years Wolfgang became a highly successful performer and was much sought after in Vienna. A number of his early compositions were published at this time by Andre and Breitkopf & Hartel. In May 1808, an overview of the state of music in Vienna, published by Ignaz von Mosel, named Wolfgang amongst the outstanding pianists and composers of the time. He was included in the list with such luminaries as Beethoven, Streicher and the blind pianist, Theresia Paradis. As he grew older, however, Wolfgang realised that as a musician, he would forever be compared to his immortal father. It was a crippling discovery that thwarted his musical development and prevented him from discovering his own individuality. In the era of Beethoven, Schubert, Liszt and Schumann, Wolfgang floundered, imprisoned by his father’s musical legacy.
At the age of seventeen Wolfgang accepted a position as music teacher in Halychyna (modern-day West Ukraine). He travelled first to Pidkamin where he gave music lessons to the daughters of Count Baworowski. Although the pay was good, Wolfgang is said to have felt lonely in the rural backwater, so in 1809 he accepted an offer from the imperial representative, von Janiszewski to teach his daughters music in the West Ukrainian town of Burshtyn. Besides
teaching, he gave local concerts, playing his own and his father’s pieces. These concerts introduced him to the mportant people in Halychyna and within two years he had moved to Lviv (then known as Lemberg) where he was to spend more than 20 years teaching.
In early 19th century Lviv Wolfgang became the teacher to the two young daughters of the Chief Government Councillor, Ludwig Cajetan von Baroni-Cavalcabo. Their mother, Josephine was three years older than Wolfgang. She was a beautiful woman who had married to a man many years her senior – a 19th century imperial trophy wife, in other words. Josephine also possessed a beautiful singing voice and Wolfgang often accompanied her on the piano. The Baroni-Cavalcabos gave musical soirees which needed rehearsals. Alone during these sessions, Wolfgang and Josephine fell in love, a love which would last all their lives. Except for two concert tours, undertaken by Wolfgang to test the waters of a concert career, Josephine and Wolfgang never parted. Thus Wolfgang became locked in a soul-destroying menage a trios for the rest of his life. While in Lviv he lived in the apartment on Kurbas street, but this building has unfortunately since been demolished so there is no memorial or information about his life for modern  generations to remember him by. Nevertheless, his influence spread wider than teaching aristocratic daughters and seducing oligarchs’ wives. Between 1826 and 1829, he conducted the choir of Saint Cecilia, which consisted of 400 amateur singers. In 1826, he conducted his father’s Requem during a concert at the Greek Catholic cathedral of Saint George. From this choir, he created the musical brotherhood of Saint Cecilia, and thus the first school of music in Lviv.
In 1838, he left for Vienna and then for Salzburg, where he was chosen the Kappellmeister of the Mozarteum. From 1841, he taught the pianist Ernst Pauer. During the winter of 1843 Wolfgang became ill with a stomach ailment and in the spring of 1844 went to Karlsbad seeking a cure. He was accompanied by his friend and pupil, Ernest Pauer. Wolfgang’s condition worsened and Josephine hurried to Karlsbad to be at his bedside. He died in Karlsbad, with Josephine by his side on July 29, 1844. Memorial services, with performances of Mozart’s Requiem were held in his memory in Salzburg, Vienna and Lemberg. He left his entire estate, most of it inherited fro m his mother, to Josephine who in turn donated all Mozart memorabilia to the Mozarteum. The shadow of his father loomed large over him even in death. The following inscription was etched on his tombstone: “May the name of his father be his epitaph, as his veneration for him was the essence of his life.”