Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the great composer | Sunday Observer

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the great composer

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Opera Nozze of Figaro (Marriage of Figaro) Illustration to Act 1
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Opera Nozze of Figaro (Marriage of Figaro) Illustration to Act 1

 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was one of the greatest composers of music and opera during the classical era. He was born on January 27, 1756 in Salzburg, Austria as the youngest child of Leopold and Anna Maria Mozart and was christened the next day as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart. Wolfie and Wolferl became his pet names.

Leopold Mozart was a minor composer and an experienced music teacher and, therefore, music played a major part in the Mozart home. From a very young age Mozart showed great talent for music. When Leopold started to give his sister Maria Anna (Nannerl) music lessons when she was seven, three year old Wolfie was a very interested onlooker.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Soon, Leopold started teaching little Wolfie. Both children were also taught by him Nannerl was also a talented and accomplished musician. By the time he was five, little Wolfie was playing the harpsichord and the violin and he was composing little pieces .

Little Wolfie’s early pieces K 1–5 were recorded in the Nannerl Notebuchen. There is a debate about Mozart’s age when he wrote these pieces. Some say he was four while others say five. However, it has been established that the first three pieces were composed within a few weeks of each other. He had his first piece of music published when he was seven-years-old. Some say Mozart wrote his first opera when he was 12 while others say it was when he was eight.

Sister Nannerl says, "He often spent much time at the clavier, picking out thirds, which he was ever striking, and his pleasure showed that it sounded good’...In the fourth year of his age his father, for a game as it were, began to teach him a few minuets, and pieces at the clavier... He would play it faultlessly and with the greatest delicacy and keeping exactly in time... At the age of five he was already composing little pieces which he played to his father who wrote them down."

Tours

When they were young Mozart, Nannerl and their parents visited Europe several times and the talented brother and sister played before Royalty and Nobility. One such tour took three and a half years. Mozart had played before King George 111 in London. It was in London that he also met Johann Christian Bach (son of composer Johann Sebastain Bach) who influenced him.

After a while Mozart and Leopold went to Europe again leaving Anna Maria and Nannerl at home in Salzburg. In Rome, Mozart heard the Vatican’s closely guarded piece of music, Gregorio Allegri’s Miserere performed at the Sistine Chapel and wrote it down from memory - the first time this music was written by an outsider.

When he was 17 years old Mozart found employment at the court of Salzburg but he was restless and went looking for better opportunities in Vienna, Austria’s captial. While he was there he was dismissed from the Court of Salzburg so he decided to stay in Vienna. It was during this time that much of his great works of music was composed.

In 1782 he married Constanze Weber.

Mozart’s works of music number over 600 and include the operas, The Magic Flute, Don Giovanni and Cosi fan tutte, the very popular Eine kline nacht music (A little night music) symphonies such as the Symphony in C major (Jupiter), the symphonies in E flat major and G minor. Other works include piano and violin concertos, chamber music and the Requiem which was largely unfinished at the time of his death.

He received the Order of the Golden Spur from Pope Clement XIV in Rome in 1770.

Though he was very popular in Vienna his work did not bring him much money.

He went to Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic and the people there loved him. His opera,The marriage of Figaro premiered there in 1787.

Death

Mozart died in Vienna on December 5,1791 and is buried at St. Marx cemetery.

After Mozart's death a person named Kochel, tried to put Mozart’s works in chronological order and gave them a number. The number helps us to know specifically which work is referred to. For example, the Symphony in G minor K 183 is different from Symphony in G minor K 550.

The letter K stands for Kochel and sometimes the number is written with a KV in front (KV 550). The KV stands for Kochel Verzeichnis meaning Kochel catalogue. The highest number is K626 for Mozart’s Requiem in D minor which was unfinished at the time of his death.

This was commissioned by Count Franz von Walsegg to commemorate his wife’s death anniversary on Februrary 14 and Mozart started work on this in late 1791. At Conztanze, Mozart’s request another composer Franz Xaver Sussmayr completed the Requiem and it was delivered to Count Walsegg in 1792.

Comments