[Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus. (1756–1791)] Nissen, Georg Nicolaus von. (1761–1826)
Biographie W. A. Mozart's. THE FIRST BIOGRAPHY OF MOZART
Leipzig: Breitkopf & Hartel. 1828. First edition.
Biographie W. A. Mozart's. Nach Originalbriefen, Sammlungen alles über ihn Geschriebenen, mit vielen neuen Beylagen, Steindrücken, Musikblättern und einem Facsimile. Nach dessen Tode hrsg. von Constanze, Wittwe von Nissen, früher Wittwe Mozart. Mit einem Vorworte vom Dr. Feuerstein in Pirna. 2 volumes in 1. 1 lithogr. Portrait (Nissen), 6 lithogr. folding sheets (12 music pp). 8vo. XLIV (including subscriber's list), 702 pp. Lacking the various portraits and facsimiles other than as noted present. In original decorative blue wrappers, heavily damaged and worn, spine barely holding together with many pages loose and split from blocks, Nissen portrait heavily foxed, significant tears with losses through first ten pages, a few other small tears, chips and stains later in the volume. Ownership inscriptions to inner front wrapper, one dated 1829. A very troubled example, but nevertheless a quite rare copy of the first major biography of Mozart, written by Constanze Mozart's second husband, "even today as a source of valuable material of importance" (Wolffheim). Nissen married Mozart's widow Constanze in 1809. This work, which Constanze saw into print after Nissen's death in 1826, made public for the first time many hitherto unknown documents and details of Mozart's life from direct knowledge and personal contacts, and has served as a basic source ever since (see New Grove, 13: 253). Eitner VII, 97. - Fétis VI, 248. - Wolffheim II, 577.
Nissen was a Danish diplomat and music historian. "After academic studies (1778–81) he became authorized agent of the General Post Office in Copenhagen in 1781. He entered the diplomatic service in 1792, and was assigned to Vienna as Danish chargé d’affaires in 1793. Four years later he befriended Mozart's widow Constanze, whom he assisted in selling and publishing Mozart's scores; he married her in 1809, in Pressburg (now Bratislava) Cathedral, proving a devoted husband and father to Mozart's two sons. After serving for ten years in Copenhagen he retired in 1820 to Salzburg, where he began collecting materials (now in A-Sm) for his Biographie W.A. Mozarts: nach Originalbriefen, Sammlungen alles über ihn Geschriebenen, mit vielen neuen Beylagen, Steindrucken, Musikblättern und einem Facsimile (Leipzig, 1828 [recte 1829], suppl. 1828 [recte 1829]; 2/1849; Fr. trans., 1869). This was the first major biography of the composer. Nissen was aided in his task by the Salzburg choir director Anton Jähndl (1783–1861) and the Altötting organist and composer Maximilian Keller (1770–1855). After Nissen's death Constanze commissioned the unstable Dresden physician and music bibliophile Johann Heinrich Feuerstein (1797–1850) to complete the work. It made public many hitherto unknown documents and details of Mozart's life from oral testimony, including from his wife and sister-in-law, and has served as a basic source ever since." (Grove Online)