Monday, January 23, 2006

A Moral Force

I adore Papa! If he appeared insincere and not above reproach, I would be the first to criticize him - that is because fathers cannot deceive their daughters. Perhaps they can their sons or wives. I cannot speak for them.

And yet I do know that in our family, it is Wolfie who sometimes deceives Papa. For example, my charming brother is less than a moral force when he fails to mention his real reason for wanting to stay behind in Vienna. Forget the Archbishop. His fondness for the Weber daughters keeps him there. Which one now, we wonder?

Papa has got out his paint box again and is putting the finishing touches to the Knave of Hearts. N.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Some Huffing and Puffing

I have had a black dress made for concerts at the palace, which cost the best part of seventy gulden. I was hoping until yesterday that the Archbishop would feel obliged to pay for it, but he and Wolfie are in Vienna as I write and Wolfie is reluctant to return to Salzburg with His Grace. This is the gist of their latest spat:
‘Be off with you, you scoundrel, you vagabond, you insolent rascal, THERE is the door! I will have nothing more to do with you.’ That was the archbishop.
‘Nor I with you.’ That was Wolfie.
‘Are you threatening me?’ The archbishop.
‘You will have my letter of resignation tomorrow.’ Wolfie.
As my darling brother was unwilling to return to S. and is now deprived of lodgings with His Holiness, he has moved in with the Weber family. What to think? N.

Friday, January 20, 2006

A Letter from my Brother

- the following words from Munich to Papa, more or less:

‘My sister must not be lazy but practise harder than ever as people are looking forward to hearing her play! Give Pimperl a good pinch of snuff and my best wishes to Katherl Gilowsky’s bottom. A thousand kisses on your hands dear Papa and my cordial greetings to Nannykin with the hope that she is feeling better - Your most obedient son.’

It is news to me that I was ill. Papa is too quick to say I have the vapours when he finds me quiet. N.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Time Passes

My brother is in Munich putting finishing touches to his new opera, Idomineo, while here in Salzburg, my father has opened up his paint box. This is to stop himself from pacing up and down with worrying about Woferl - but it is also to calm himself generally. Papa is sempre agitato about all things except the art of water colour. He is painting a set of playing cards, which he has said he will give to me on my wedding day. And when will that be, I ask myself inside my head. N.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Katharina's List

On the coach journey back from the spa, Katherl confided that last Tuesday, she had been let down badly by an admirer. She would say no more about it, though I tried to draw her out. Instead, she concocted a descriptive list of Salzburg's remaining bachelors to amuse us both. This one is even shorter than the Baron Von Molk, that one is more skilful at sleigh drives, this one nifty at cards, someone else a fine dancer with an excellent leg - or two. Franz d'Yppold may be a fine partner in archery but he is more of a friend. So and so, though devout, is dull. Baron X has grey whiskers growing out of his ears, Herr Z might be rich but he plays the organ abominably and the violin more so. What to do? Remain a spinster and serve the archbishop as a maid, or in my case, take in piano pupils. We laughed away our future for the rest of the journey, being less than thirty years of age. Just. For the moment, I am content to live with Papa and Wolfie, although a short while ago, I was not so calm about my prospects. Now I pray that Papa shall live for a very long time and Wolfie will be exceedingly rich. N.

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Spas

‘What counts is the delight of meeting others.’ Katharina Gilowska and I are returning to Salzburg by coach after a visit to the spas. She leans forward on her seat until our bonnets are touching. 'Not that I am ever tired of you, Nan.'

I smile. I shake my head and say nothing.

‘It’s the pleasure of shopping and riding, playing cards and dressing up for balls - it's much more fun attending church or the theatre in another place.'

She eyes me shrewdly as I untie my bonnet strings and remember the days I spent at Gastein with Mama.

'Nanny dear, it’s walking up and down beside the springs in our bathing suits after we have enjoyed the waters.' She lowers her voice so the other passengers can't hear. 'It's... retiring to the assembly room for a gossip with the other bathers and listening to the latest dance music.’

"I know, I know, I know,' I mutter, still remembering.

She doesn’t mention the smell of dungeons where we change our clothes before and after we bathe. She forgets the tedium of a long coach journey there and back. Katharina Gilowska is permanently enthusiastic. She ignores my many moods and is of course, a true friend. N.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

A Conversation with The Scarlet Coat

'Will you play me your music now?'
'How long can you stay?'
'Until you wish me to go.'
'I'd like you to hear what I have written.'
'I will listen from beginning to end.'
'It isn't finished.'
'Then I will return when it is.'
Herr Hofmann bowed his head and left the room without another word. I placed the sketches of my opera in the bottom drawer and told Papa that I would make arrangements to go to the spa. N.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Archbishop's Heaven

At last! Wolfie has returned to Salzburg a wildly enthusiastic chatterbox. People call you a chatterbox when they DON'T want to hear what you have to say, but I find I always WANT to listen to my brother.

His Grace, the Archbishop is agreed that Wolfie will replace our dear, departed Adlgasser as court organist. His sudden death, mid chord, so to speak, is a strange blessing since Wolfie is the finest player in Europe.

The pity is he hates the archbishop and Salzburg in equal parts. What to do? Swallow his misery for a short while and stay here to comfort Papa? Why yes. Our father is even MORE distressed than Wolfie because his good friend, Lorenz Hagenauer has also died unexpectedly. The Lord has received three in one year - I will now pray for Mama, Adlgasser and Herr Hagenauer. There is never a good time for those you love to die. Back to my opera:

'Out damned spot! Out I say.' N.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Vexed with Wolfie

Papa is in a state. My beloved brother failed to pack two new caps of Brussels lace, Mama's gold watch, a length of GOLD lace and the amethyst ring which Madame d'Epinay gave to Mama a long time ago. The trunk arrived on the 10th December with all the other bibs and bobs, but not with these items. Papa is foaming at the mouth. Wolfie explained in a letter that he pawned the watch and gave the ring to the nurse who tended our mother, expressly to avoid her keeping back the wedding ring from her corpse! Perhaps the nurse has stolen the lace for her wedding day... I would delay coming home if I were you, Wolfie. Happy New Year. N.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

After the Song ...

Last night, I had an ambitious dream. I dreamt I was writing an opera and had chosen the play, Macbeth, by Herr Shakespeare for my libretto.

‘Come. Give me your hand. What’s done cannot be undone….’
My Scottish heroine is fierce and yet, not fierce.
‘To bed…to bed…there’s knocking at the gate.’
She sang it all da capo as if to prove she had lost her senses…
‘Come, give me your hand… come, come, come.’
She sang it again and again like a mad woman.

‘I tell you yet again, Banquo’s buried; he cannot come out on’s grave…’

The lady, in all her loneliness, jumped off her parapet in the third act. What would Wolfie think of that for an ending?

‘Let ME, let ME write this one, oh sister mine,’ I hear him say as I rise from my bed.

‘You can’t. I am,’ I reply. N.


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

No More of Love

If I write a song, ‘No More of Love,’ let it be made clear that the words are filched from an old, Italian madrigal. They are separate from my feelings for Count Anton Friedrich, Herr Franz D’Yppold, the Baron Von Molk , Jakob Hofmann or any other admirer from my past. I remain open to fresh enthusiasms, though quite now, my mind is on semiquavers and pearly cascades in the form of a C minor arpeggio or two.

‘I do not want to love …because I do not wish to suffer…. for the soul, when bound by love, is gnawed at by grief… and swallowed by pain… I wish no more to love, no, no, no, no.’

Aha. Yes, yes, yes, yes… I compose so well!
Maria Anna Walburga Ignatia Addlepated Mozart… Or just, plain Nan

Monday, January 09, 2006

My Dressing table

Before I can begin a new composition, I must clean my room, which is a mess... I have therefore resolved to keep my personal possessions in some order and out of reach of Miss Pimperl, the dog. After making this grand resolution, I play with the items on my dressing table - a small, silk tape measure that I wind on its bobbin, a fan that I fold and place on top of an embroidered, satin shawl. I remove the clay rollers for heating my curls. They used to lie next to my glass of cordial but as I keep singeing the back of my head, I have hidden all six of them in the second bottom drawer. To the right of my tape measure, I have placed a wooden hand mirror, a papier mache dish for earrings, a pair of silver tweezers in a red leather case and a miniature watercolour brooch of Mama, painted on ivory. It is not a very good likeness but it is all I have. There is just enough room left for a patch box containing a set of black taffeta patches, which I have yet to use - oh, and a roll of manuscript paper, a fresh quill, an ink pot and a small bag of rose leaves to improve my spirits. I am now a new woman. Beware. N.