The family into which Mozart was born has never received a rigorous contextual study which does justice to the complexity of its relationships or to its interactions with colleagues, friends, and neighbours in Mozart's native city, Salzburg. Most biographies of Mozart have undervalued the many passages in the rich family correspondence which do not bear directly on him. This book draws on the neglected material, most of which has never been translated into English. At the heart of the work is a detailed examination of the letters, supplemented by little-known archival material from the papers of the Berchtold family, into which Mozart's sister Nannerl married. Additional information concerning Salzburg's local history, especially the working conditions at court and the provision for dependants of court employees, enables the hopes, expectations, and fears of the Mozarts to be located in the context of the social conditions there.;As well as providing a sympathetic account of the other members of the family, all of whom were profoundly affected by the experience of sharing their lives with Mozart, this approach gives new significance to the events of Mozart's life; not only are they set against the background of his familys expectations of him, but the ways in which the source material has to be used for this purpose necessarily involves fundamental improvements in its interpretation. Ruth Halliwell challenges most previous views of the characters in Mozart's family (especially of his father, Leopold), and of the relationships within it. She also introduces a wealth of characters from the Mozarts's circle in Salzburg, from chambermaids to princes, and demonstrates the relevance of the gossip stories the Mozarts told about them to the larger outlook of the members of the family. In an important final section, Halliwell traces the roles of Nannerl and Mozart's wife Constanze in using, controlling, and handing on the biographical source material after Mozarts death. She discusses their dealings with publishers such as Breitkopf & Hartel, and with the authors of the earliest biographies of Mozart.;This complex topic here receives an account which not only illuminates the characters of both women and the relations between them, but also addresses the question of how myths were able to creep into the Mozartian biography at so early a stage and take tenacious hold.