1842: The Fate of Mozart’s Wife after his Death

1842: The Fate of Mozart’s Wife after his Death
Photo Credit To Costanze Mozart by Lange 1782

Mozart’s wife Constanze died on this day, having outlived him for over 50 years! Namely, she was already 80 at the time of her death, while Mozart died relatively young, in his mid 30s. The couple spent only around 9 years in marriage, but Constanze managed to bear as many as six children during that time. Unfortunately, four of them did not survive infancy (infant mortality rates were much higher then than they are today).

When Mozart died, Constanze was left a widow at the age of only 29. However, she didn’t give up. Despite initial difficulties, she managed to provide financial security for herself and her children, and later even prospered. This is unusual if we take into account the fact that she and her husband almost always had financial difficulties during the time they were married (there are several theories about this, blaming anything from her over-spending to Mozart’s gambling debts).

As a widow, Constanze was the landlady of Danish diplomat Georg Nikolaus von Nissen. After some time, the two began living together, and were later married, some 18 years after Mozart’s death. They did not have any children.

Nissen and Constanze moved from Vienna to his native Denmark, where they lived in Copenhagen for a while. Nissen was interested in Mozart’s life, and started writing his biography, together with Constanze. They later moved to Mozart’s birth-city of Salzburg, where they had access to sources on Mozart’s early life. They were also helped in these endeavors by Mozart’s sister, Nannerl.

Coincidentally, Constanze also outlived her second husband – Nissen died in 1826. She became widowed again, this time at the age of 64. She continued to live in Salzburg until her death, together with her sisters – Aloysia and Sophie – who were also widows. It is interesting that Mozart, it seems, courted all three sisters in his youth.

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