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Mozart and his Tombstone - Titbits
2081    Dibyendu Banerjee    30/09/2018

Born as Johann Chrysostom Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Austria on 27 January 1756, Mozart showed a prodigious propensity from his early childhood. At three he was picking out chords on the harpsichord, at four he used to play short pieces and at five he composed and performed before European royalty. He only lived a scant 35 years, but within this short span, he composed more than 600 works and his influence is profound and proverbial on subsequent Western art music. His compositions still continue to fascinate people, even after more than 250 years of his death.


Mozart died in his home on 5 December 1791, probably due to rheumatic fever and in accordance with the contemporary Viennese custom, was buried in an unmarked plot in the common grave, at the St. Marx Cemetery outside the city of Vienna. The term ‘common grave’ does not mean a communal grave, it is a graveyard meant for the common people, not for an aristocrat. Common graves were subjected to excavation after ten years for reuse, the graves of aristocrats were not.


During 1850, efforts were made to identify the grave of Mozart and as ensured by the cemetery staff, a memorial stone designed by Hanns Gasser was erected there in 1859. However, the monument was later moved to the central cemetery to join the cluster of ’Musician’s grave’, along with the like of Beethoven. This means that, the memorial was removed, not the remains of Mozart.

In the meantime, a large stone slab was installed to mark the grave’s location in the St. Marx Cemetery and subsequently, it was further decorated with a stone angel and a column. But, nobody knows whether the marked location is the actual plot where Mozart was buried. Apart from that, in those days the common graves were subjected to excavation after ten years for reuse. This means, they typically dug up the remains of Mozart after ten years and reused the site for a new burial.


Nobody really knows the plot, where Mozart was buried and nobody has the slightest idea about what happened to his remains, once they reused his plot.

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Author Details
Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.
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