Sunday, July 12, 2009


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791), was a very prolific and greatly influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over six hundred works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music. He is among the most enduringly popular of classical composers and one of the greatest musicians in history.

His parents were Leopold Mozart, a business-minded composer, brilliant violinist and an assistant concertmaster at the Salzburg court , Maria Anna Pertl. Of the seven children, only Mozart and his older sister, Maria Anna or "Nannerl" as family called her, survived infancy.

Mozart showed prodigious ability from his earliest childhood in Salzburg and his father encouraged and pushed his son. He began to play the harpsichord at the age of three. Already competent on keyboard and violin, he composed from the age of five , and wrote his first minuet at six.At seven, he went on his First European Tour with his family. Before his ninth birthday, Mozart composed his first symphony, wrote his first oratorio at age eleven, and his first opera the following year. His teenage years were productive years as he forged more travels, compositions and early performances.

During Mozart's formative years, his family made several European journeys in which he and Nannerl were shown as child prodigies. These tours included Munich, Vienna, Prague, Mannheim, Paris and London. During these trips Mozart met a great number of musicians and acquainted himself with the works of other composers. A particularly important influence was Johann Christian Bach, whom Mozart visited in London.

After coming from the tour of Vienna, Wolfgangus tried to concentrate on improving and learning new skills in music, for this reason he did not plan any tour till 1770. In next three years from 1770 to 1773, Mozart toured Italy three times and gave many outstanding performances. While on tour of Italy, Mozart even wrote two of his famous operas 'Mitridate' and 'Lucio Silla'. Mozart showcased his talent and astonished his audience when he adopted Italian style in his music.

As a young man, while in one of his European travels in Mannheim, Mozart fell in love with a young soprano, Aloysia Weber. His love was not reciprocated. A year laterhis beloved mother died in Paris. With double heartache of his mother and first love, he returned to Salzburg. He found work at the court but was unhappy with its restrictions. He left Salzburg for Vienna in 1781, and decided to go solo, a freelance musician.

Here also Wolfgangus could not get any suitable post for himself. After Wolfgangus's all the unsuccessful trials, Leopold called him back to Salzburg, where he managed to arrange a high level post for his son. For next two years, Wolfgangus, worked at Court and played concerts at Courts and Cathedrals. He actively participated in concerts, serenades and also composed music for dramas.

At the end of two years Mozart was sent to the court at Vienna where he was not allowed to work for the post he wanted the most, he finally gave up trying to perform at the court in Vienna and got out of the job around 1781. After that period, Mozart received many golden opportunities to make a fortune when he created music while he was not at any post. Soon, Mozart started going in public, he played music in public functions, published his work and also started teaching music.

Mozart always learned voraciously from others, and developed a brilliance and maturity of style that encompassed the light and graceful along with the dark and passionate—the whole informed by a vision of humanity "redeemed through art, forgiven, and reconciled with nature and the absolute". His influence on all subsequent Western art music is profound. Beethoven wrote his own early compositions in the shadow of Mozart.
Mozart usually worked long and hard, finishing compositions at a tremendous pace as deadlines approached. He often made numerous sketches and drafts.

Mozart gained a reasonable popularity by publishing some beautiful sonatas music compositions, by performing in concerts and Operas and managing concerts on his own, without any assistance. He not only composed music for the concert but he also managed the orchestra. He married Constanze Weber, Aloysia's younger sister. Mozart earned enough to live a comfortable life, but because of his improper management of money and expenses, and frequent gambling, he was never able to save money for future and always had to borrow from others when was in need of money. The final years in Vienna yielded many of his best-known symphonies, concertos, and operas, and the Requiem. The circumstances of his early death have been much mythologized. He was survived by his wife Constanze and two sons.
Mozart composed hundreds of beautiful and unique music works which include over 20 operas, about 14-15 Masses, 30-40 concerts (piano and violin), 50-60 symphonies, and 20 sonatas etc. Even after his death, Mozart remained and will remain one of the most favorite musicians for millions of his fans.

Mozart's symphony no. 40 is one of his most famous and most people will recogonise it even if they cannot name it. Here is a video of the immortal composition.

Divya Gurnay

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