Mozart: The First Biography
"It is perhaps not for the critique of contemporaneous music that we turn to Niemetschek but, rather, to enjoy the warmth and affection that shine through in a manner rare in biography." - Music and Letters
"...this book includes much contemporary debate (on whether music is a victim of fashion, for instance, or on the paucity of good musical education), and is absorbing to read." - Jane Glover in Times Literary Supplement
Franz Xaver Niemetschek was born in 1766 in what is now the Czech Republic and came from a musical family, which gave him a deep appreciation and admiration for Mozart's genius. In 1798 he published his biography on Mozart, with a touching dedication to Haydn, the only one written by an eyewitness, and authorized by Mozart's widow Constanze. It is one of the earliest specimens of musical biography which, compared with other branches of biography, was still in its infancy even in the later part of the 19th century. In this sense, it is an important document of music history. However, this loving and intimate portrait of Mozart, based on documents, letters and other original sources, also conveys a vivid picture of the social and especially courtly life that formed the background of Mozart's sheer magical talents as composer and virtuoso.
Franz Xaver Niemetschek was born near Prague in 1766 and died in Vienna in 1849. He studied philosophy and taught at a secondary school until he received his PhD in 1802 and became Professor of Philosophy at the Charles University in Prague until his retirement in 1821.
Cliff Eisen teaches at King's College London and has published extensively on the life and works of W. A. Mozart.