These are the words which begin almost every one of the surviving letters that Mozart wrote to his wife, Constanze.

Her name was Constanze Marie Weber, one of several daughters of an inconsequential musician, and she was born in Zell, a small town in central Germany, on January 5, 1762.
"Dearest,
   Most Beloved
        Little Wife..."
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At first glance there seemed little that was special about her.  Josepha and Aloisa, her two oldest sisters, were both well-known opera singers in their day.  Josepha was the first Queen of the Night in "The Magic Flute", and in her youth, Aloisa was the toast of Munich and Vienna.  Constanze was the "plain" one, who had a pretty singing voice, but was no diva. 

Her family was on the same social plane as the Mozart family, though the Mozart's were certainly more famous.  Like Mozart, her father was a violiist as well as a music copier, but he had never been successful in either endeavor.  All the same, his daughters were all taught music, as well as French and Italian.

Aloisa's main claim to fame, of course, lay in the fact that she was Mozart's first serious love, but she jilted him in favor of her budding career, thinking him "such a little man..."   In the end, it was Constanze that he fell truly in love with and married.
Much has been said, during the later decades of the 19th and most of the 20th centuries, to redefine her as everything from a mindless sex-kitten to a murderess, with everything else unpleasant in between.  Most of this was the work of dour biographers who read no further than the jealous letters of Mozart's pathologically possessive father, and who simply couldn't imagine Constanze as the proper wife for Mozart.  Elaborate fntasies have been spun, suggesting every other conceivable woman who crossed mozart's path as the woman he "should" have chosen.  People have tried to read between the lines of mozart's letters to find proof of an unhappy marriage, and a deceitful, unworthy woman. 
Stanzi at the age of 19
Stanzi at the age of 64
Yet the facts are with us, all the same.  Mozart adored his "Stanzi-Marini"    (a word-play on Constanze Marie)  with all his soul, and his letters to her are filled with affection, longing, and playfulness.  If her letters have not survived, it was because Mozart himself accidently lost them along the way--for Constanze saved each and every one of his, removing very little from the eyes of posterity--and those were most likely removed for political reasons, given the times she was to live through.

And Constanze loved her Wolfgang.  She spent the remanider of her life -- fifty years after his death -- making sure that his music was not forgotten.  She defended him at every turn, and was responsible for both the founding of the Mozarteum in Salzburg, ad for making Salzburg itself the Mozart center of the world.  She died in Salzburg, March 6, 1842, at the age of eighty.

We owe this great lady everything.  And Mozart himself would have said, "Well done, Stanzi-Marini."
Stanzi as portrayed in "Amadeus"
(Recognize the dress?  For a better view, click HERE.)





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