Work so that you don’t have to work

Herr Richter, the pianist, is going on a tour that will take him back to Holland, his native country – I have given him a letter introductionto the Countess Thun at Linz. – He also wishes to visit Salzbourg, so I gave him a 4-line note for you, my dearest father … He plays well as far as execution is concerned, – however – as you will hear – his playing is too coarse – too belabored – without any taste and feeling. – Apart from that he is the best fellow in the world – and not a bit conceited.  – When I played for him, his eyes were totally fixed on my fingers – then he burst out: Good God! – how hard I have to work, until I sweat, and – still I get no applause – and you, my friend, your playing is so playful.  Yes, I said, but I too had to work hard so that I don’t now have to work so hard anymore…

Mozart, in a letter to his father, Vienna, April 28, 1784.

Cited in: Spaethling, Robert (2000) Mozart’s Letters; Mozart’s Life. London: Faber and Faber, p.368.