The day after Mozart and his mother arrived in Paris in 1778, she wrote
to her husband in Salzburg that "den wolfgang ist die zeit lang weill
er noch kein Clavier hat..." (For the moment Wolfgang is bored because
he still hasn't got a keyboard instrument). Twelve days later she reported
of their rented room that "der eingang und die stiegen ist so öng
das es ohnmöglich wehre ein Clavier hin auf zu bringen. der wolfgang
mues also ausser haus bey Monsier le gro Componieren weill dorth ein Clavier
ist..." (The entrance and the stairs are so narrow that it would
be impossible to bring a clavier upstairs, so Wolfgang has to compose
away from home at M. Le Gros' place, because there is a keyboard instrument
there.) Three years later Mozart, in Vienna on his own, wrote to his father,
"Mein zimmer wo ich hinziehe ist schon in Bereitschaft; —izt
gehe ich ein Clavier zu entlehnen, denn, bevor das nicht in zimmer steht,
kann ich nicht darinn wohen, dermalen weil ich eben zu schreiben habe,
und keine Minute zu versäumen ist." (The room into which I'll
be moving is already ready —I'm going now to rent a clavier, for
if there isn't one in the room, I can't move in. Since I have much to
compose right now, I don't want to waste a minute!) These passages strongly
suggest that Mozart required his clavier to compose—perhaps to invent
and develop ideas by improvising, perhaps also to experience physically
what he had heard in his imagination.
[top two images] Letter by Mozart's mother, Maria Anna,
to her husband Leopold. Paris, April 5, 1778.
[lower two images] Letter by Mozart to his father. Vienna, August 1, 1781.
view image 2
view image 3
view image 4
© 2002 Division of Rare & Manuscript
2B Carl A. Kroch Library, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 14853
Phone Number: (607) 255-3530. Fax Number: (607) 255-9524
reference questions, send mail to:
If you have questions or comments about the site, send mail to: webmaster.