by Stephanie Cowell (Wonders & Marvels contributor)
When Mozart was twenty-one and unemployed, he was invited to the home of a violinist Fridolin Weber who had four musical daughters, ages fourteen through nineteen. Aloysia was sixteen: she was gifted with a gorgeous voice and quite ravishing. The other three Weber sisters could not come close to her and she knew it.
Mozart was so much in love that he wanted to turn over his own struggling career to promote her singing. (Again, think what music we may have lost!) But there were several obstacles in his path. Her mother was a bit crazy; she thought Mozart would never make a penny and wanted her beautiful daughter to marry a wealthy man. His father was controlling; he didn’t want his son to marry anyone but to send all his money home (if Mozart ever made any).
Mozart had to travel in search of earnings, and when he finally found his love again in Vienna, she had forgotten him and was now pregnant by a tall and handsome actor. Mozart was not very tall and not very handsome. When his heart healed a little, he found himself as a boarder in the house of the three remaining Weber sisters. He could have married any of then, but that is a complicated story, so complicated that I wrote a novel about it called Marrying Mozart. He settled on the third sister and had a happy life. He also began to make a good deal of money now and then.
Mozart died at the age of thirty-five and his wife spent the remaining fifty years of her life preserving and sharing her husband’s music. By the time Aloysia was quite old, Mozart’s name was famous throughout Europe. One of his admirers came to visit the aging prima donna in Salzburg and Aloysia swore to them that Mozart had never ceased to love her. “But why did you refuse him so many years ago?” the admirer asked bewildered and she replied that at that time she was not capable of appreciating his talent and character…” Hmm.
So he didn’t get the first girl he loved but he got the right one for him and the right one to save his work for posterity. And if it were not for the music Mozart wrote for Aloysia Weber Lange, history would scare remember her name.
About the author: Historical novelist Stephanie Cowell is the author of Nicholas Cooke, The Physician of London, The Players: a novel of the young Shakespeare, Claude & Camille: a novel of Monet and Marrying Mozart. She is the recipient of the American Book Award. Her work has been translated into nine languages. Her website is http://www.stephaniecowell.com.