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Joseph Lange (1 April 1751 Würzburgmarker - 17 September 1831 Viennamarker) was an actor and amateur painter of the 18th century. Through his marriage to Aloysia Weber, he was the brother-in-law of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Life

His first marriage, in 1775, was to Maria Anna Elisabeth Schindler, daughter of Philipp Ernst Schindler, a miniature painter and director of painting at the Viennese porcelain factory. Maria Anna died on 14 March, 1779 of pneumonia.

He married Aloysia in Vienna on 31 October, 1780. Under the marriage contract, he was obliged to support Aloysia's widowed mother Cäcilia with an income of 700 florins per year.

Mozart married Aloysia's younger sister Constanze in Vienna in 1782, and thus became Lange's brother-in-law. The Mozarts and the Langes seem to have been friends, as the written record preserves various occasions that they socialized together, as did Wolfgang and Joseph individually. Both Lange and Mozart were Masons; see Mozart and Freemasonry.

In 1783, Lange performed in one of Mozart's works, a "Masquerade" (pantomime with music) composed for Carnival. The characters were traditional figures of the Commedia dell'arte, and the music was composed by Mozart (K. 446). Lange played Pierrot, and Mozart himself took the role of Harlequin.

He painted his famous (unfinished) portrait of his brother-in-law in 1783. The painting is usually printed showing only Mozart's face, leaving out the incomplete portion (the original intent was evidently to portray Mozart seated at the piano).



Constanze, interviewed in old age by Vincent and Mary Novello, said this portrait was "by far the best likeness of him."

Lange also painted a portrait of Constanze in 1782:



During Leopold Mozart's visit to Vienna in 1785, Lange drew a portrait of him as well, but this is lost.

In 1787, Lange appeared in another work by Mozart, his opera Der Schauspieldirektor. He took the spoken role of Herz., his wife Aloysia taking one of the two primary soprano roles, Madame Herz.

A report from 1788 indicates that he had given up painting by that time.

As of 1795, he lived separated from Aloysia. In 1808, he published his autobiography. From around 1800 on he lived together with a Therese Koch with whom he had three daughters.

Assessment

The tenor Michael Kelly, writing in his 1826 reminiscences, called Lange an "excellent comedian"; that is, player of comedy. Kelly had spent the early years of his career in Vienna as an opera singer.

Notes



References

  • Lange, Joseph, Biographie des Joseph Lange, Vienna: Peter Rehms sel. Witwe, 1808.
  • Blümml, Emil Karl, Aus Mozarts Freundes- und Familien-Kreis, Vienna: E. Strache, 1923.
  • Deutsch, Otto Erich (1965) Mozart: A Documentary Biography. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
  • Einstein, Alfred (1962) Mozart: His Character, His Work. Oxford University Press.
  • Solomon, Maynard (1995) Mozart: A Life. New York: Harper Collins.



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