Did Mozart Have Jewish Friends: Essay

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Jewish musicians have influenced all other genres of music for centuries now. Whether it is in American Dixieland jazz, Israeli rock, or classical music, the unique Jewish sound has spread far and wide. One of the most famous composers that was influenced by the Jews was Mozart. In fact, the one Jew that had the biggest impact on his life was Lorenzo Da Ponte, who was a Jewish poet turned Catholic. Together, they created three historically famous opera works, which were ‘Le Nozze di Figaro’, ‘Don Giovanni’, and ‘Cosi fan Tutte’. Da Ponte made this possible, since he was the original author of these works, which Mozart then took inspiration from. Da Ponte was converted to Catholicism when his father, Geronimo Conegliano, converted his entire family in order to marry a Catholic woman. He later was ordained as a priest, which is where he began writing poetry in both Italian and Latin.

There were also a few other people that really were big influences in both Mozart’s life, as well as in Jewish culture. First of which was Emperor Joseph the second, who enacted the Edict of Toleration in 1782, which greatly relaxed restrictions on Jews in Austria and surrounding regions. Joseph was also the man who was responsible for hiring Lorenzo Da Ponte, whom would later be introduced to Mozart and create their famous works. In fact, it was not until the death of Emperor Joseph, that the collaboration of Mozart and Da Ponte came to an end. Da Ponte was forced to leave Vienna and eventually flee to London. Emperor Joseph was an extremely supportive patron of Mozart, helping with funding, resources, and general encouragement and support. He even gave Mozart positions within his It was during Joseph’s time as Emperor that the Jewish and Catholic communities lived in harmony together. The Edict of Toleration allowed Jews to have Catholic servants, as well as allowing Catholics to have Jewish servants. Under his revolutionary law, Jews lived fairly close to as equals with their Catholic neighbors. This stayed true until Joseph died, leaving Emperor Leopold to rule.

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Another influence that was particularly close to Mozart was Raimund Wetzlar von Plankenstern, who was Mozart’s landlord during his rough period spent in Vienna, Austria. Wetzlar was a Jew that was converted to Catholicism, as were much of Mozart’s Jewish influences. His father was a very wealthy Jew who was involved in real estate. Mozart lived in his estate, and Wetzlar commonly let Mozart use his spacious third floor for ballrooms and concerts. In fact, Mozart asked Wetzlar to be his child’s godfather. Though not mentioned often, Mozart remarks in his writings that Wetzlar was a good and close friend to him.

Even though anti-Semitic sentiment was running rampant in Germany and Austria during his time, Mozart was influenced heavily by his many friendships and other relationships with Jews. Thanks to this, Mozart was able to gain support even when he was struggling greatly. Whether in the form of a patron, a musical inspiration, or even an honest friend, each relationship that Mozart had with these people was essential to his career.

Works Cited

  1. https://www.jpost.com/Arts-and-Culture/Music/With-a-little-help-from-his-friends
  2. https://www.cjnews.com/featured/jewish-learning/mozart-casanova-jewish-poet
  3. https://lists.h-net.org/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl?trx=vx&list=h-antisemitism&month=9601&msg=OlzOUd9iiso/13W2z2kufg
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Did Mozart Have Jewish Friends: Essay. (2023, January 31). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 16, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/did-mozart-have-jewish-friends-essay/
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