“God, who has been far too good to me, a miserable sinner, has bestowed such talents on my children that, apart from my duty as a father, they alone would spur me on to sacrifice everything to their successful development. Every moment I lose is lost for ever. And if I ever guessed how precious for youth is time, I realize it now. You know that my children are accustomed to work. But if with the excuse that one thing prevents another they are to accustom themselves to hours of idleness, my whole plan would crumble to pieces. Habit is an iron shirt. And you yourself know how much my children and especially Wolfgang have to learn. But who knows what plans are being made for us after our return to Salzburg? Perhaps we shall be received in such a way that we shall be only too glad to shoulder our bundles and clear out. But at least, God willing, I am going to bring back my children to their native town. If they are not wanted, it is not my fault. But people shall not get them for nothing.”
Leopold Mozart – Letter from Munich, November 15th, 1766
“His Princely Highness does not keep in his service liars or charlatans or cheaters of people, who would travel to all places with his Grace’s permission and deceive people, but honest men who, to honor the homeland and its Prince, are announcing to the world a miracle which God allowed to be born in Salzburg.
I owe this to God Almighty, otherwise I would be the most ungrateful creature. And if it would ever be my duty to convince the world of this miracle, then I would have to do it right now, when all that is called wonder is laughed at and every miracle is contradicted. So I will have to convince them! Wasn’t it a great joy and victory for me to hear a follower of Voltaire tell me in astonishment: “It is the first miracle I’ve seen in my life!”
Leopold Mozart – Letter from Vienna, July 30th, 1768
Leopold Mozart has brought to completion God’s Work. Without his attentive, meticulous and loving guidance, maybe Wolferl would not have become Mozart – the sublime musician! The family letters are priceless Moments stolen to Time. They let us have a glimpse into the life of Wolfgang and Nannerl, of Leopold and Anna Maria. And looking at Mozart as a child, we can see an exceptional educator-father beside him. Leopold Mozart was an advocate of the illuminist educational ideals of the time, attaching much value to high education, for both his son and his daughter. In modern terms we could say that Leopold Mozart is the first teacher to have applied the principles of non-formal education: that education in which the child learns through self-discovery, an education which privileges the child, his/her talent, natural inclinations and abilities, discovers and cultivates them.
Leopold was the first who understood that in his family a miracle had been born, and that he owed it to the world to cultivate that miracle! Wolferl had a happy childhood, unlike Ludwig van Beethoven. Leopold Mozart instructed his son not only with professionalism and method, but most of all with affection and care. Nannerl confesses, in a letter written after her brother’s tragic death, that never in their childhood had Wolfgang been obliged to study, but on the contrary, he had to be taken away from the piano after many long hours in which he would not do anything but play or write music! It is clear that his children’s natural gifts could only make Leopold’s work more pleasurable, but even in this situation his qualities of a teacher remain extraordinary.
Of this Leopold Mozart, as well as of Anna Maria and the environment of love and respect in which the Mozart children have grown up, Enrik Lauer speaks in a book written with tenderness and humour, Mozart und die Frauen.
Years after having seen the two Mozart children perform in London, violinist Stephen Storace, impressed by “the Mozart Model”, would raise his own son and daughter in the light of the same principles and methods that Leopold Mozart had used. Stephen junior and Anna (who would become the famous singer Anna Storace, Mozart’s first Susanna) have learned to play the piano and read musical scores, in addition the son has had violin lessons and the daughter harp and guitar lessons, and has also learned napoletan songs and popular arias from italian operas, thus bringing into light her innate passion for singing, her greatest talent. The two Storace children have grown up in the musical and theatrical environment, they assisted in performances and rehearsals and have had social relations with the artists in their father’s circle of friends. After a few years they left for Italy, in order to continue the improvement of their artistic talent in the Naples Conservatory, where their father had also studied.
Undoubtedly, neither of the Storace children has become “a second Mozart”. Since 1756 until today, a second Mozart was never born, and will never be again. But Mozart can be alive in every child who is guided to discover and know him! And this is the only way in which his spirit, his soul, his divine creation can be preserved!
As much as is in our power, we wish to encourage and support the children who will step in the Musical Studio to discover humanity’s most wonderful child! When they do, they will love him forever!
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