On an Eldest Son

Karl’s dad died when he was seven and his little brother and only sibling was an infant. His memories of his birth father, understandably, are muddled and mixed. He was raised throughout the remainder of his youth by his doting mother (who used to be a professional singer as a younger woman) and his step-father and went to school in Prague. The step-father, a man named George, had little to do with him; he didn’t adopt Karl and was happy to send him off to school.

Karl apprenticed to a trading company in Italy. It didn’t suit him Following in his mother’s footsteps (and her deepest wishes), Karl then pursued music as a career when he found the business world too difficult to break into. He took music lessons with some of the most important Italian teachers in Milan, thinking that the occupation of his mother was also possible for him. Besides, it would please her greatly. He soon proved to be a gifted pianist, but he also knew that the music business was so fickle and insecure as a career.

Then, when the opportunity for a position with the Austrian government came along–and with it the promise of steady income, unlike the musician trade–Karl took it. He became an accountant for the government’s department in Milan and a translator for government officials who were stationed there. And so, the oldest son of the family became a life-long civil servant in Italy.

Karl soon realized that he made the correct choice of career in eschewing music for the security of public administration. The job allowed him to enjoy some of the finer things in life as he became an indispensable member of the Austrian delegation in Milan. He hobnobbed with Italian royalty, rubbed shoulders with musicians (with whom he could converse knowledgeably) and artists, and gained a reputation for being a hard worker who took his position seriously.

Karl eventually purchased a sizeable house in a village north of Milan in the foothills of the Alps not too far from Lake Lugano and Lake Como where he enjoyed his life before dying at age 74. Upon his death, he bequeathed the house to the village. As a life-long bachelor, Karl had no other heirs who would make a claim on the property. The grateful village erected a plaque on the house to Karl’s memory in honor of his gratitude.

Karl’s younger brother also never married. However, that little brother did decide to follow his mother’s example and pursue music. You see, music was in his blood because both of these boys also had a musical father. And it makes sense that the younger brother would pursue music as a career because he bore the same name as their father, the father that neither of them remembered well:

Wolfgang Mozart, Junior.


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