Friday, March 24, 2017

Who would I have dinner with? Nannerl Mozart

One of the posts I read this month during the SOL Challenge was on what five people would you choose to have dinner with and why? What a cool question, I thought, and immediately began thinking who I would choose. Now, several days later, I would swap out at least one of my original choices, but I would definitely keep Nannerl Mozart.

Nannerl was the older sister of the famous Wolfgang Mozart. She was also enormously talented. The two of them toured together with their parents through much of their childhood. She was a pianist and she may have also played violin, she may have composed music. No one knows for sure. It's pretty clear that Wolfgang was the favorite of their father Leopold. On one tour with the family of four, smallpox struck the town they were staying in. Leopold took Wolfgang and fled to the countryside, leaving his wife and daughter in town. Nannerl was left behind when the two children were older -- Leopold and Wolfgang toured alone with the goal of finding a position for Wolfgang.

While Wolfgang struck out on his own, she stayed home with her father. There seemed to be no thought that she could also have a career in music, though there were a number of successful women pianists in Vienna at the time. She also appeared to have a romantic relationship with Captain Franz Armand D'Ippold. She did not marry him, though he remained a family friend. No one knows what happened; Nannerl kept a diary, but her entries are brief accounts of her day - going to church, visits, teaching, and msuci making. Did her father forbid her to marry? Did someone else interfere? We just don't know. She finally did marry, a widower with five unruly children, who lived in a remote village. So Nannerl was effectively packed away.

And what kind of musician would she have become if she had the opportunities her brother had? What would her life have been like? This is why I want to have dinner with her, to find out the answers to these mysteries and to see what she was really like. I wonder if she would share her thoughts?


  1. I have never heard about her, thanks for the history lesson.

  2. This is an interesting question. It really is making me think about who I would have dinner with. Any I loved the lesson. I had never heard about her either.