Younger brothers can be a real pain. Or so I’ve heard. Having a small boy human around to leave stray Lego pieces by the side of your bed and ask you embarrassing questions in front of relatives can be a real headache and a half.
But spare a thought for Mozart’s sister. Poor Maria Anna Mozart. As a young girl she was the star of the stage, touring Europe as a pianist and performing in cities across England, France and Austria. When she turned 18 years old, however, everything stopped. And her younger brother, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, took on the performing crown, later becoming known as one of the world’s greatest composers.
It could have been bearable if these turn of events had happened for the greater good of all involved. But when you consider that Mozart’s sister had to give up her musical dreams in order to learn how to sew and find a husband, then it sort of makes us a little mad. Could you imagine having to give up all your hopes and dreams because your parents said you had to find a husband?
Of course, the 18th century was a completely different time for women. As members of a patriarchal society, women’s prescribed sole purpose was to meet a man, marry and produce heirs. And a woman making money from her own music would be thought of as a ‘prostitute’ – one of the biggest reasons why Maria’s father, Leopold Mozart, put an end to her touring.
Mozart’s sister could have been even greater than her brother
Naturally, this is all hypothetical. But when you consider the facts, Maria Anna had all the makings of a musical genius. For starters, she was taught to play the harpsichord by her father when she was just eight years old. She received rave reviews across Europe for her musical performances. And when she did play shows with her younger brother, she was often billed first.
Her proud daddy (no, not like Justin Bieber’s) even wrote in a letter in 1764: “My little girl plays the most difficult works which we have… with incredible precision and so excellently. What it all amounts to is this, that my little girl, although she is only 12 years old, is one of the most skilful players in Europe.”
After she turned 18, Maria Anna never toured again, but she did send at least one of her compositions to her brother, who remarked that he was ‘in awe that you can compose so well, in a word, the song you wrote is beautiful.’ Unfortunately for us, none of her compositions have survived, so we’ll never know quite how brilliant she was. But, when you have one of the greatest composers in the world calling a song you wrote ‘beautiful’, it’s fair to say she must have had some talent.
If you enjoyed reading the truth about Mozart’s sister, why not have a read of some of our other articles, including The 5 Types Of People You See At A Music Gig and Finally! H&M Features Its First Hijab-Wearing Muslim Model