Was Mozart outshined by his sister?

· May. 11, 2022, 12:00 am

The tiny St. Johanneskirche am Imberg is rumored to have been the favorite little hideaway of Wolfgang and Nannerl Mozart as children. Dating back to the year 1319, this "kirchlein" is the oldest church on the east side of the Salzach River that flows through the center of Salzburg.

Colorado pianist Katie Mahan takes us inside this little church where you can imagine Wolfgang and his sister Nannerl playing hide-and-seek or a game of tag, which they apparently loved to do there. Nannerl was nearly 5 years older than Mozart, and in this episode Katie reminds us that Nannerl was considered the better keyboard player in those early years.

"She was actually given higher billing because she played so well," says Mahan. However, when Nannerl turned 18 and became eligible to be married, her father ended her tours with her brother. Mahan says it was to protect her reputation. "In those days, if you earned money as woman for your performances, then that was looked upon very negatively. It almost put you down to the level of a prostitute."

In this episode, Katie introduces us to the musical relationship between Wolfgang and his very talented sister, Nannerl.

A new episode of Mozart Snapshots drops every Wednesday on this page and during Midday Mozart at noon.


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