Hayley Mills


1W: Nannerl Mozart

1M; pianist

2M: pianist and cellist OR pianist and singer OR pianist and violinist

“Miss Mozart of ten and Master Mozart of six Years of Age, Prodigies of Nature; taking the opportunity of representing to the Public the greatest Wunderkind that Europe or that Human Nature has to boast of. Everybody will be astonished to hear Children of such tender age playing the keyboard in such a Perfection—it surmounts all Fantasy and Imagination, and it is hard to express which is more astonishing, the Execution upon the clavier, playing at sight, or Master Mozart’s own Composition.”

Written by their father, Leopold Mozart

Nannerl Mozart? She doesn’t warrant a mention in either the stage or movie adaptation of Amadeus. Exactly, and this is why her story is so important. Next to Leopold Mozart, their father, no one was artistically and emotionally closer to Wolfgang Amadeus than his elder sister. There exists a treasure trove of family letters and diaries that give ample proof of their deeply felt relationship.

Nannerl Mozart

She was as much a wunderkind pianist as her famous brother; both siblings were escorted throughout Europe by father Leopold in spreading the word of the two geniuses. But then her use was up, and she was married off at age 30 to a widower with five young children. She lives exiled in the remote village of St. Gilgen. There, cut off from all she knows and treasures, she awaits any news of her brother, and checks the mail daily for word and new work by her brother. Her one source of joy.

January 27, 1806, Salzburg. Nannerl’s returns to her father’s home to sort out things after his death. This date is her brother’s birthday. He’d have been 50 years old; dead now 15 years. There was a great silence between brother and sister the last years of their lives. Great sadness.

Hayley Mills, Katherine Helmond, Jenny Sterlin and Michael Learned have all brought wonderful things to this not so happy story. One amazing coincidence: Soon after I sent the script to Michael she called and asked me if Nannerl indeed lived in St. Gilgen. Yes, I answered, absolutely. Well, she added, so did I as a young girl but with fond memories. When we got together she brought along a faded black-and-white photo of her in Austrian garb seated with her sisters in St. Gilgen square. It brought goose bumps and tears to all of us in the room.

Music: Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert