Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, one of the finest composers the world has ever known, had two great loves in his life; the first was music; and the second was Constanze Weber, whom he married in Vienna on August 4, 1782. She was 20, he was 26. By the time they married, Mozart's life had already been a long succession of journeys in search of a patron who would free him from financial insecurity and allow him to devote all his energy to composing music. His concert tours began in Salzburg, where he was acclaimed as a musical prodigy at the age of five. He and his elder sister, Maria-Anna, performed in the courts and cathedrals of many of Europe's greatest cities: Munich, Augsburg, Mainz, Frankfurt, Paris, London, and Vienna. In 1772, Mozart at 16 had already written 25 symphonies and his first string quartets. His travels brought him much honor, but not much money, and he tended to be extravagant with what little he earned. It was in September 1777, while staying in Manneheim with his mother, that Mozart first met Constanze's family, the Webers. He fell in love with her eldest sister, Aloysia, a singer of some promise but little experience. Mozart made grand plans to take her to Italy and start her in a career in opera, but his father Leopold, who never trusted the Weber family, persuaded him against it. A year later Aloysia's feelings for Mozart had cooled, and he wrote to his father on December 29, 1778,
"I can only weep. I have far too sensitive a heart."
Nevertheless, Mozart stayed in close touch with the family, and on December 15, 1781, he wrote again to his father revealing his plans to marry:
"Owing to my disposition, which is more inclined to a peaceful and domesticated existence than to revelry, I, who from my youth up have never been accustomed to look after my belongings, linen clothes and so forth, cannot think of anything more necessary to me than a wife...A bachelor in my opinion is only half alive."...