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Early Mozart Biographies Project

(see abstracts below)

This project of the Mozart Society of America aims to make available full texts of the early biographies of Mozart on the MSA web site. Our goal is to provide convenient access to the biographical literature that has shaped our view of Mozart's life and work.

The initial phase of the project began with the "core repertory" of early biographies by Friedrich Schlichtegroll (1793/94), Franz Xaver Niemetschek (1st ed. 1798; 2nd ed. 1808), as well as shorter biographical documents by Daines Barrington, Ernst Ludwig Gerber, Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart, and Felix Joseph Lipowsky. We also include short biographical entries on Leopold Mozart and Wolfgang’s wife and sons.

Although some of these works have been published in facsimile, many are out of print and difficult to find. Similarly, early biographical entries in dictionaries and encyclopedias (e.g., Gerber's Lexikon) have rarely been published or translated in secondary literature. With these biographies available in a digital electronic format, it should be easier to trace the trajectory of Mozart's reception and criticism.

The texts are posted as images (PDF), and we eventually hope to convert them to hypertext (HTML) for greater ease of use and linking between files. The advisory board includes Paul Corneilson, Ulrich Leisinger, and John A. Rice. Marita P. McClymonds, Rachel Becker and Melanis Leinbach generously assisted with proofreading.

Editorial Policies

The texts in the EMB project have been laid out in pages or columns to reflect the original pagination. (In rare cases, there is no pagination in the original publication, e.g., Rees’s Cyclopedia.) Whenever possible, we have done two pages as a spread.

The texts reflect the original spelling and (for the most part) orthography (italic type, capitalization, punctuation) of the original publications. Spelling of names, places, and other words has not been corrected or modernized. Similarly, date and numbers are given as in the original publications.

Full bibliographical citations for each selection are provided, along with a facsimile of the original title page. (Many of these books will be digitally scanned and made available on Google Books. We have provided a link to works that are currently available. Some works are also available on other web sites (e.g., in HTML format.)

To Participate

All the texts are in the public domain and are copyright-free, and may be downloaded or used online. Simply click on the title to open the PDF.

If you would like to volunteer to proofread short selections of text, please send your name and contact information using our Contact Us form.

If you want to suggest additional texts to include on the MSA web site, please send a complete citation (author’s name, title, date and place of publication, and inclusive page numbers), a library shelf mark (if possible), along with your name and email address using our Contact Us form.

If you find a typographical error in a selection, please send us a correction. Please include the work by title, page or column, and a brief description of the problem.

EMB Contents

Barrington, Daines. "Account of a Very Remarkable Young Musician." Miscellanies. London: J. Nichols, 1781.

Bingley, William. Musical Biography: Memoirs of the Lives and Writings of the Most Eminent Musical Composers and Writers Who Have Flourished in the Different Countries of Europe during the Last Three Centuries. 2 vols. London: Henry Colburn, 1834. Vol. 2, pp. 355–65.

Burney, Charles. See Rees, Cyclopedia.

Busby, Thomas. "Life of Mozart." Walpoliana, no. IX (December 1798), 445–50.

Busby, Thomas. "Haydn and Mozart." A General History of Music from the Earliest Times to the Present. 2 vols. London: Whittaker, 1819. Vol. 2, pp. 388–415.

Choron, Alexandre, and François Joseph Fayolle. Dictionnaire historique des musiciens, artistes et amateurs, morts ou vivans, qui se sont illustrés en une partie quelconque de la musique et des arts qui y sont relatifs. 2 vols. S.v. “Mozart (Jean-Chrysostome Wolfgang Théophile).” Paris: Valade, 1810–11.

Gerber, Ernst Ludwig. Historisch-biographisches Lexikon der Tonkünstler, welches Nachrichten von dem Leben und Werken musikalischer Schriftsteller, berühmter Componisten, Sänger ... enthält. 2 vols. S.v. “Mozart (Leopold)” and “Mozart (Wolfgang Amadei, nach andern J.G. Wolfg.).” Leipzig: Breitkopf, 1792–94.

Gerber, Ernst Ludwig. Neues historisch-biographisches Lexikon der Tonkünstler, welches Nachrichten von dem Leben und Werken musikalischer Schriftsteller, berühmter Componisten, Sänger ... enthält. 4 vols. S.v. “Mozart (Leopold)”; “Mozart (Johann Chrysostomus Wolfgang Gottlieb)”; “Mozart, geb. Weber (Constanza).” Leipzig: A. Kühnel, 1812–14.

Lipowsky, Felix Joseph. Baierisches Musiklexikon. S.v. “Mozart, (Leopold)” and “Mozart, (Wolfg. Amadeus).” Munich: Jakob Giel, 1811.

Mozart, Constanze. “Einige Anekdoten aus Mozarts Leben, von seiner hinterlassenen Gattin uns mitgetheilt.” Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, 1 (6 Feb. 1799): cols. 289–91; idem. “Noch einige Kleinigkeiten aus Mozarts Leben, von seiner Wittwe mitgetheilt.” Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, 1 (11 Sept. 1799): cols. 854–56.

Mozart, Nannerl. “Noch einige Anekdoten aus Mozarts Kinderjahren. Mitgetheilt von dessen Schwestern, der Reichsfreyin, Frau von Berthold zu Sonnenburg.” Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, 2 (22 Jan. 1800): cols. 300–301.

Niemetschek, Franz Xaver. Leben des k. k. Kapellmeisters Wolfgang Gottlieb Mozart, nach Originalquellen beschrieben. Prague: Herrlischen Buchhandlung, 1798.

Niemetschek, Franz Xaver. Lebensbeschreibung des k. k. Kapellmeisters Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, aus Originalquellen, 2nd ed. Prague: Herrlischen Buchhandlung, 1808.

Rees, Abraham. The Cyclopedia; or, Universal Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Literature, s.v. "Mozart, Leopold" and "Mozart, John Chrysostom Wolfgang Theophilus" [by Charles Burney]. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, 1819–20.

Rochlitz, Friedrich. “Anekdoten von Mozart.” Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung 1 (10 Oct. 1798), cols. 20–24; (24 Oct. 1798), 49–55; (7 Nov. 1798), 81–86; (21 Nov. 1798), 113–17, (5 Dec. 1798), 145–52; (19 Dec. 1798), 177–80; 2 (April 1799), 480; 3 (March 1801), 450–52; (April 1801), 493–97; (May 1801), 590–96.

Sainsbury, John. A Dictionary of Music from the Earliest to the Present Times. Comprising the Most Important Biographical Contents of the Works of Gerber, Choron, and Fayolle, Count Orloff, Dr. Burney, Sir John Hawkins, etc., etc. together with upwards of a Hundred Original Memoirs of the Most Eminent Living Musicians; and a Summary of the History of Music. 2 vols. S.v. “Mozart (Leopold)” and “Mozart (Johann Chrysostomus Wolfgang Gottlieb).” London: Sainsbury, 1824.

Schlichtegroll, Friedrich. Nekrolog auf das Jahr 1791. Enthaltend Nachrichten von dem Leben merkwürdiger in diesem Jahre verstorbener Personen. 2. Jahrgang, 2. Band. Gotha: Justus Perthes, 1793.

Schlichtegroll, Friedrich. Mozarts Leben. Graz: Joseph Georg Hubeck, 1794.

Schubart, Christian Friedrich Daniel. "Salzburg." Ideen zu einer Aesthetik der Tonkunst. Edited by Ludwig Schubart. Vienna: J. V. Degen, 1806.

Stendhal. "Life of Mozart." The Life of Haydn, in a Series of Letters Written at Vienna; Followed by the Life of Mozart; with Observations on Metastasio; and on the Present State of Music in France and Italy. Translated by L.A.C. Bombet. London, 1817; reprinted, with notes by William Gardner, Boston and Philadelphia, 1839.

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