I don't wish to go into the biographical aspects of Constanze's life in this post, mainly because it would just be boring. Her biography is readily available in other places on the web. (If you're interested, the Wikipedia article on her is quite good, although it leans heavily in her defense.) You can also read about some of the controversy surrounding Constanze in her handling of Mozart's last work (uncompleted), his Requiem in D minor, in this Wikipedia article.
Much controversy has existed throughout the last two-hundred years over the relationship that Mozart had with his wife, Constanze. From the personal testimonies of those who knew the Mozarts in the last few years of Mozart's life, the marriage seemed to be strained, at best. There are many conflicting and confusing reports, many of them originating from the Mozarts themselves. Constanze's own testimony from years later is difficult to trust, for most of it was given years after Mozart's death under the auspices of her second husband, Georg Nissen, who was actively working to clean up Mozart's sullied reputation, as he was working on Mozart's biography. It is believed, with much certainty, that Constanze and Nissen destroyed most of Constanze's letters to Mozart, as well as many of Mozart's to her, only keeping those that held her in a favorable light. And of the ones that were kept, certain words and entire paragraphs have been blacked out.
In the early years of their marriage, shortly after the birth of their first child, Mozart and Constanze took an extended trip to Salzburg. The trip had two purposes: The first, for Mozart to meet with a librettist who was working on an Italian libretto for Mozart to compose an opera for Emperor Joseph's new Italian opera company, and the second, for Leopold and Nannerl (Mozart's older sister), to meet Constanze and possibly form a better opinion of her. Leopold knew that while Constanze was the daughter of a music copyist and had a solid musical education, she was out-shined by her older sisters, Josepha and Aloyisa (the latter with whom Mozart had a love affair a couple of years earlier and who later scorned him). Constanze was, for the most part, largely uneducated and common, and Leopold considered her a poor and uneven match for his brilliant, highly educated, well-traveled, and worldly son. So while they were in Salzburg, Mozart created an opportunity to show off Constanze's musical abilities by dragging out bits of an unfinished mass and adding more to it, creating a portion for Constanze to sing her herself, and dedicating it to her. Mozart's Great Mass in C minor has gone down through history as one of his greatest sacred works, some believing it to be even greater than his Requiem. Although many have believed that the entire soprano solo was composed for Constanze to sing, clearly it is not, for most of the solo sections in this mass, especially in the opening Kyrie, would have been entirely too difficult for her to manage. It is most likely that Constanze sang only the Et Incarnatus est, which while one of the loveliest and most lyrical sections in the entire mass, is not nearly as technically demanding as the rest.
The following is a scene from Chapter 10 of So Faithful a Heart.
He turned his head to watch Constanze as she sat on the lawn playing with their son, holding him in her lap and kissing his fat little fingers. She was a good wife and a good mother, and he cared for her a great deal, but she’d never ignited his soul. She was pretty enough with her large dark brown eyes and thick, straight, dark hair that hung like a drape. She was charming and sweet, with a playful sense of humor, very like his. But after he met
, he found it difficult not to compare them and find his wife lacking. Nancy
He thought back to the days when he’d rented a room from Constanze’s mother not long after he’d arrived in
and split from Archbishop Colloredo’s service. Frau Weber saw opportunity to still bring Mozart into the family after the break-up with Aloysia and she manipulated things in such a way that he and Constanze often found themselves in tempting and compromising situations. Then when they finally succumbed and went too far with their petting, she forced him into a contract of marriage with her daughter, threatening to ruin him if he refused. He married Constanze in August of 1782 and Vienna Nancyarrived in the following January. Vienna
“I shouldn’t have married,” he thought with regret. “If only I had waited six months.”
He had never known a woman like
. She was independent, intelligent, educated, and outspoken. She possessed a wicked sense of humor, which played itself out beautifully both on the stage and off, with an air of confidence and strength that he had never observed in any woman he’d ever known. To him, she was a woman who thought like a man and that fascinated him. Then when they became friends he discovered the many things that they had in common, not the least being their mutual love and dedication to music. She was his musical peer in many respects and that was her greatest appeal. Nancy
“How could I have resisted her? I’m only a man,” he thought as he picked up the book, opening it to where he’d left off.