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Classic FM Drive with John Brunning 5pm - 7pm
Meet the cast of characters in Mozart's life - his family, his friends, his rivals and his loves.
A small-time composer in his own right, Leopold was 37 years old when his Mozart was born. He quickly realizes his son’s potential — not just as a composer, but also as a pension. Just to be safe in his old age, his daughter also has a huge musical talent that he puts to good use as well.
Four and a half years older than Mozart, Nannerl was a very good piano player and used to tour with her younger brother as part of the Amazing Mozart Roadshow, often playing in the same concerts. Mozart wrote her countless letters, many of which still survive today. Nannerl was actually her nickname — her real name was Maria Anna. (DPA DEUTSCHE PRESS-AGENTUR/DPA/Press Association Images)
Mozart married Constanze when he was 26, having, some years previously been smitten by her sister, Aloysia. Constanze's family was not particularly well-off and Leopold did his best to put Mozart off the idea. They seemed to make a very good couple.
We're calling him 'a rival' not 'the rival' because Salieri is not quite the baddie that popular mythology has made him out to be. Yes, he was in competition with Mozart on a number of occasions but no, he almost certainly didn’t bump him off. Despite history telling a different story, during their lifetimes, Salieri was often more popular than Mozart.
A nice little cameo role for the composer Haydn. A big friend of Mozart, he was already 24 when our hero was born and yet lived a full 18 years after Mozart died.
The man who finished Mozart’s last masterpiece, the Requiem, following the composer's death. It was probably a thankless task, when you think about it: do it well and you go down in history as “the man who finished Mozart's last masterpiece." Do it badly and it’s worse — “the man who ruined Mozart's last masterpiece." You can see him transcribing here, on Mozart's deathbed.
The man who gave his name to the verb to 'mesmerise', he was a doctor of medicine and friend to Mozart.
Schrattenbach was Leopold’s boss in Salzburg. He was eventually succeeded by Colloredo.
Full kennel name: The Archbishop Hieronymus, Count Colloredo of Salzburg. (You can see why we’re calling him just 'Colloredo'.) Both a prince and an archbishop, he became the Mozarts' boss when the boy was just 16.
Lorenzo Da Ponte wrote the words for Mozart’s three biggest opera hits, The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni and Cosi fan tutte. He was quite a character in his time and scandal of one sort or another was never far away from him. He was much sought after as a lyricist by other composers too.
A countertenor for whom Mozart wrote his Exsultate, jubilate.
Leopold’s landlord in Salzburg and recipient of many letters.
They met only fleetingly, if indeed at all, and Beethoven was only 21 when Mozart died. So only a walk-on part for Beethoven.
Johann Christian was Johann Sebastian’s son. He became friendly with Mozart when they both spent time in London.