Saturday, July 30, 2011

Happy Birthday, Nannerl!

Nannerl in 1763, wearing a dress given to her by
Empress Maria Theresa when she and Wolfgang performed for her.
Mozart's sister, Maria Anna Walburga Ignatia Mozart, or Nannerl for short, was born on July 30, 1751 in Salzburg. She was the fourth child born to Leopold and Anna Maria Mozart, but the first to survive infancy.

Nannerl was one of Mozart's greatest heroes. As a child he would watch her play the piano and take lessons from Leopold, and then he would try to play her pieces. Like her brother, Nannerl was a child prodigy, but since she was a woman, she couldn't pursue a career like him. 

On August 23, 1783, Nannerl married twice-widowed Johann Baptist Franz von Berchtold zu Sonnenburg and moved to St. Gilgen (the town where her mother was born). She took care of his five children and eventually had three of her own, two daughters and one son. 

Nannerl in 1785.
Wolfgang often composed piano duets to perform with his sister while they were young. In 1765, at nine years old, he composed this piece, which the two performed together:


On October 29, 1829, Nannerl passed away in Salzburg, where she lived after her husband died in 1801. 

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