Agnes’s Secret Friend

In my second children’s story – The Night Agnes Florence Emily Danced Before the Emperor – the principal character is of course Agnes, always looking for peace and quiet in a noisy world. The other notable character – her secret and very special friend – is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whose music lulls her to sleep each night.

In the story, Agnes – together with Mozart – travels back to 18th century Vienna where she meets the Weber sisters, all of whom Mozart knew well. Aloysia, his first love, Constanze, who he married, Josepha, a fine soprano singer like Aloysia, and Sophie who he knew later in his short life. As Agnes bids Vienna farewell to return to present day London, the four Weber sisters sing Nehmt Meinen Dank or in English Accept My Thanks.

In the spring of 1782, only four months before his marriage to Constanza, wrote this piece (K.383) for her older sister Aloysia, who he had originally hoped to marry. It was performed on the 10th of April in Vienna to an audience of Aloysia’s patrons. This beautiful and delicate piece of music could perhaps be interpreted as Mozart’s farewell to the woman he had loved passionately, now a famous and acclaimed singer. It’s also in the tradition of an 18th century licenza: an artist bidding farewell to his or her public in music before embarking on a long tour.