tween Mozart and the reader. On thencontrary, the intention of this study is tonmake the distance between both sidesneven greater between Mozart’s innernlife and our inadequate conception of itsnnature.”nWho was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart?nTo his contemporaries, Mozart wasnmany men: the “little man with wig andnsword” according to Goethe; the childnwho dazzled court audiences with hisnneat suites and clever variations; thenboon companion of the Viennese musicalnunderclass who tossed off overtures betweennbilliard shots; the uppity courtnfiinctionary; the improvident spendthriftnpleading for yet another loan. Only a fewnof his contemporaries, most notablynFranz Joseph Haydn, recognized Mozart’sngenius. Unfortunately, before the worldnwas convinced of his excellence, Mozartnwas dead.nIt is through the haze generated bynthe Romantics that most of us havenglimpsed Mozart. To the Romantics, sufferingnand genius were as one. In Mozart’sntale, the Romantics found the perfectnraw materials for mythmaking: a misunderstoodngenius, a stru^e against a corruptnaristocracy, poverty, despair, annearly death, and a pauper’s grave. ThenMozart legend quickly grew and gainednacceptance. Kierkegaard suggested thenformation of a sect to revere Mozart.nKarl Barth proclaimed that the angelsnsing his arias. That this Mozart bore littlenresemblance to the actual man botherednno one.nWho, then, was the real Mozart? Thenanswer is elusive, but it’s clear that, artistically,nhe was neither the Romanticndeity, the “correct” court musician, norneven the “little man with wig and sword.”nNo doubt he was partly all of these things,nand something more. While Mozart wasnpoor, his poverty was at least in part duento his unwillingness to meet the demandsnof the aristocracy, and he certainly didn’tndwell in a garret. Mozart lived well, evennwhen he couldn’t afford it. And althoughnhe believed himself to be equal to Haydn,n(and both towered above all other composers),nMozart certainly had no con­n26inChronicles of Colturenception of himself as the world-straddlingnartiste. Nor did Mozart feel that the demandsnof self-expression should necessarilynprecede those of making a goodnincome. Speaking of his “Paris” symphonyn(#31), Hildesheimer says: “Hisnmain purpose was to please, and he didnplease.” The same might be said of thenbulk of his compositions. Even in thosencases where one thinks Mozart is emoting,nit is largely the result of craft. Musically,nMozart vras a classicist to his bones.n”The prototype of the great sufferer,” asnHildesheimer points out, “is not Mozartnbut Beethoven.”nAnd yet, if Mozart’s form hardly fitsnthe romantic attire his hagiographersnhave stitched for him, neither was hencomfortable in the artistic straitjacket ofna proper court kapellmeister. His disputesnwith his employer, the fatuousnArchbishop Collerado, are legendary.nFurther, as an independent composer—nespecially in his last years—^he strayednfrom producing “what was wanted,” deliveringninstead unappreciated worksnthat were more difl&cult—^and better—nthan requested. He began to write fornhis own satisfaction, producing afternwhat for Mozart was uncommon labor anseries of quartets dedicated to his friendnHaydn, and writing in an incredible sixnweeks his last three symphonies (#39,n#40, #41), his supreme orchestralnaccomplishments. Mozart’s operasnnnseemed to reveal a man somewhat uneasynin the role of musical entertainer.nWhile such works as The Abductionnfrom the Seraglio and The Impressarionwere simply superior fluffery. The Marriagenof Figaro and Don Giovanni bothnoffered healthy measures of social criticism.nThe Viennese aristocracy understood—andnstayed away. CosiFan Tuttenand The Magic Flute went farther; thenfirst a stinging attack on sexual mores,nthe second an almost medieval moralitynplay combining illusion, special effects,nmysticism, and wonderous music tonpopularize the ideals of the Enlightenment.nBut even here, as is always thencase with Mozart, it is possible to assumentoo much. Was the social commentarynhis own, or did it stem from the freethinkingnviews of his librettists Da Ponte andnSchikaneder? Given Mozart’s reticencenwhen it came to expressing politicalnviews, it seems dubious.nIf Mozart the artist is elusive, Mozartnthe man must remain forever beyondnthe periphery of sight. Hildesheimernsays that his death “is easier to imaginenthan his life, which … is shrouded innmystery and always will be.”nIt is in the area of finding the realnMozart through the smoke screens sentnup by his biographers that Hildesheimernis, paradoxically, at both his best and hisnworst. When he attacks the critics he isnon soUd ground. For example, numerousnof Mozart’s proponents have rhapsodizednabout the composer’s love ofnVienna, Bernard Paumgartner going sonfar as to claim that “the city on thenDanube embraced the storm-tossed artistnwith maternal arms.” In feet, Mozartndisliked the city and longed to makenEngland his home. Vienna, in return,nignored his works, in effect destroyingnhim. This self-delusion is apparentnthroughout the biographies. Whether thensubject is his mother’s death, the intensitynof his religious beliefs, his allegednuse of D minor to signal the tragic, or hisnrelationship with his domineering butnwell-meaning father, the biographers allnhave a theory, an excuse, an analysis ofn