Last year, I marked the death of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart by publishing the tale of his final hours, the facts of which are so often confused with the fiction depicted in the excellent play and film, Amadeus. In that same post I addressed the circumstances of his funeral, so often and erroneously reported as a pauper's funeral. Today I thought I would revisit the sad day on which the composer went to the grave, an event which is frequently misunderstood.
|Detail of the face of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart by Johann Nepomuk della Croce, 1780|
The composer went to his grave as one of half a dozen occupants of the plot in question, each person often memorialised by a simple wooden marker. Around the turn of the century, as was the custom, Mozart's remains were disinterred so that the plot might be reused and it is at this point that the location of his final resting place was lost as were so many in the era.
Mozart was certainly memorialised at services in Vienna and Prague and his widow, Constanze, received many donations towards the cost of her husband's funeral, as well as the upkeep of her family. I for one am certainly pleased that the composer didn't go to a pauper's grave, but this episode does offer a fascinating insight into some burial traditions that seem utterly alien to us today!