Winter am Wolfgangsee

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Family Mozart in St. Gilgen and Mozart Fountain

Mozart’s mother, Anna Maria Walburga Pertl, was born on 25 December 1720 in what is now the county court in St. Gilgen, Ischlerstrasse No 15. On 23 August 1784 Mozart’s sister Maria Anna Walburga Ignatia, known as Nannerl, moved into the house as Baroness Berchtold zu Sonnenburg.

Wolfgang Nikolaus Pertl, Mozart’s grandfather, was born on 6 December 1667 in Salzburg, in 1686 he entered St. Peter’s grammar school in Salzburg and prepared to go on to university. Looking through the cast lists of theatrical performances in Salzburg from that time, the name Pertl appears over and over again as a singer (both in the choir and as solist) in performances of the Salzburg Benedictine Theatre.

By the time Pertl graduated from the University of Salzburg in 1697 (?) as a lawyer, he had not only increased his knowledge of law but also he had become well acquainted with the great musical tradition of Salzburg. In the town on the Salzach he witnessed the ceremonies of the state household under Prince Archbishop Johann Ernst von Thun (1687-1709) and met the very cream of artists engaged in music and the performing arts. While Pertl was a student in Salzburg, operas, festive serenades, dramas of the Benedictine order and staged allegorical cantatas were performed.

Pertl soon became a successful lawyer. After doing his articles in Vienna and Graz, he was a clerk in the state archiepiscopal treasures in Salzburg in 1706; by 1707 he was assistant secretary and in 1712 secretary to the Court Chamber. On 22 November 1712 he married the widow Eva Rosina Barbara Puxbaum (1681-1755). From 1712 to 1714 the young couple lived in Berggasse No. 12 in Salzburg; in 1714 he was appointed official co-administrator of St. Andrä in the Lavant Valley, at that time part of Salzburg. There he undertook legal and administrative duties. At the end of 1715, following a severe illness, he was employed for a time as clerk of the county-court in Maria Saal. On 21 June 1716 Pertl took his magistrate’s oath before a committee of the court district of Hüttenstein/St. Gilgen. In addition to judical matters he hat to fulfil various administrative duties as magistrate.

The present day county-court in St. Gilgen was completely rebuilt during the time when Pertl was magistrate and for this he was gighly respected. The building had already been declared in need of renovation in 1708. Between 1719/20 the house by the lake was built according to plans by the court architect Georg Huber – between 11 march 1719 and 27 April 1720 the Pertls lived in what is now the Kendler Inn (Kendlerwirt). It cost 4827 guilder, 50 farthings to build the house, the costs were covered by the state archiepiscopal exchequer.

The large marble coat of arms above the entrance was made by the Salzburg sculptor Wolfgang Weisskirchner for 50 guilder. It contains an inscription praising the Price Archbishop Franz Anton von Harrach: “This formerly dilapidated house was completely rebuilt by Franciscus Antonius, Archbishop of Salzburg, Legate of the Holy Apostolic See and Prince von Harrach of the Holy Roman Empire”.

Anna Maria Walburga Pertl, who was born on Christmas Day 1720 in the magistrate’s court in St. Gilgen and was baptized on the same day in the nearby parish church of St. Giles, only spent four years in her place of birth. Following the death of her father in 1724, her mother decided to move, taking Anna and her elder sister Maria Rosina Erentrudis (born on 24th August 1719) to Salzburg.

On 21st November 1747 Anna Maria Pertl married Leopold Mozart (1719-1787), a violinist and conductor from Augsburg. Mozart’s mother’s main virtues were her sense of duty, her kindness and tactful reserve. Of the seven children she bore between 18th August 1748 until 27th January 1756, only two survived; Maria Anna Walburga Ignatia, born on 30th/31st July 1751, known as Nannerl, and Wolfgang Amadeus, born on 27th January 1756. Both were child prodigies. The travels which took Mozart’s mother to Vienna (18th September 1762 – 5th January 1763), Western Europe (9th June 1763 – 29th November 1766), a second time to Vienna (11th September 1767 – 5th January 1769) and finally to Mannheim and Paris (23rd September 1777 – 3rd July 1778), meant that she experienced life at the glamorous courts of Europe. She was able to enjoy the wonder and admiration bestowed on her children and the fact that the name Mozart really meant something in the musical world.

When Mozart’s mother died on 3rd July 1778 in Paris, the world lost a woman who had given her life to the arts, a woman who was frank, honest and benevolent towards everyone. On 20th July 1778 Leopold wrote to Wolfgang in Paris of his mother: “Your beloved mother was well-known from childhood and loved by everyone, for she was kind to all and offended nobody.”

It cannot be denied that Nannerl Mozart was always overshadowed by her brother, she gave up an artistic career for the sake of her brother. Nannerl was a highly talented pianist and a permanent source of encouragement for the young Wolfgang. The happiest and most successful time of her life was during the travels she made with her brother. His “dearest sister”, the “carissima sorella”, the “Schwester Canaiglie with the wonderful face of a horse”, whom Wolfgang wanted to give “a hundred hugs and kisses”, was Wolfgang’s confidante, her respected her judgement and was full of praise for her own compositions.

Maybe it was by chance or a quirk of fate: on 23rd August 1784 Nannerl married a successor to the post of her grandfather, the Baron Johann Baptist Berchtold zu Sonnenburg who was born on 22nd October 1736 in Salzburg.

It was Sonnenburg´s third marriage, she had to take on five children from his former marriages, between the years 1785 and 1790 she bore him three more.

After Berchtold´s death on 26th February 1801 in St. Gilgen, Nannerl decided to leave the town and move to Salzburg to the Barisani house in the Sigmund-Haffner-Gasse No. 12. In 1825 she went blind; following her death on 29th October 1829 she was buried in a communal grave in St. Peter’s churchyard.