Mozart Essay, Research Paper
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Mozart is perhaps the greatest musical genius who ever lived. Mozart ’s full name
is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Most people called him Mozart or Wolfgang. Mozart was
born in Salzburg, Austria, January 27, 1756. His father, Leopold, perhaps the greatest influence on Mozart’s life, was the vice Kapellmeister (assistant choir director) to the Archbishop of Salzburg at the time of Mozart’s birth. Mozart was actually christened as “Joannes Chrysotomus Wolfgangus Theophilus,” but adopted the Latin term “Amadeus” as his name of choice. Mozart was one of seven children born to Leopold and Anna, however, only one other sibling survived.
By the age of four it was evident that he possessed tremendous musical talent and music memory. His father, a master violinist and composer, decided to enroll young Wolfgang in harpsichord lessons. At age five Mozart was composing music and by age six he had mastered the keyboard. By his early teens, he had mastered the piano, violin, and harpsichord. He began composing minuets at the age of 5 and symphonies at age 9. In 1762, Mozart and his elder sister Maria Anna (best known as Nannerl) who was also a gifted keyboard player, were taken by their father on a short performing tour, of the courts at Vienna and Munich. Encouraged by their reception, they embarked the next year on a longer tour, including two weeks at Versailles, where the children enchanted Louis XV. In 1764 they arrived in London. Here Mozart wrote his first three symphonies, under the influence of Johann Christian Bach, youngest son of Johann Sebastian, who lived in the city. In Paris, Mozart published his first works:four sonatas for clavier: with accompanying violin in 1764. After their return to Salzburg there followed three trips to Italy between 1769 and 1773.
In 1768 he composed his first opera, LA FINTA SEMPLICE, for Vienna; but
conflicts prevented its performance, and it was first presented a year later at Salzburg.
Mozart was a successful composer and violinist. He used the form of concerto (like the
Symphony, in several section) to display the qualities of wind instruments, like the horn.
His crowning achievements in concerto form, however, are for piano and orchestra – in
all 25 works. Mozart’s performances of his own piano concertos had much to do with the
development of the instrument.
In 1770, he began to master the two types of Italian opera: opera buffa (comic opera) and opera seria (serious opera). A trip to Vienna in 1773 introduced Mozart to the influence of Haydn, whose Sturm und Drang string quartets had recently been published. In Rome Mozart heard a performance of Allegri’s Misere; the score of this work was closely guarded, but Mozart managed to transcribe the music almost perfectly from memory. In 1777,Mozart’s family visited Paris. His mother fell ill and died during their visit. Her death on July 3rd left Mozart grieving and in isolation. He reluctantly returned to Salzburg full of dread, and was greeted by his father with these words: “If your mother had come back home from Mannheim, she wouldnot have died… You would have got to Paris at a better time… and my poor wife would still be (alive) in Salzburg.”
Mozart married Constanze Weber, against his fathers say, on August 4 1782 in St. Stephen’s Cathedral. The following year, Mozart experienced the birth and death of their first “fine sturdy baby, round as a ball,” Ramiund Leopold. Despite this grief, Mozart remained buoyant in Vienna where he continued producing concerto after concerto, while Constanze tended to their second son, Karl Thomas. On Mozart’s first visit to Milan, his opera Mitridate, r di Ponto was successfully produced, followed on a subsequent visit by Lucia Silla. The piece showed signs of the rich, full orchestration that characterizes his later operas. In 1783, Mozart and Constanze visited Salzburg, where he helped Michael Haydn out of a difficult spot, by writing some violin duets. He completed a set of string quartets, and in so doing, deeply impressed Josef Haydn who was the greatest master of music for string quartets.
In 1786, Mozart’s London friends took part in the first performance of The
Marriage of Figaro. After the premier and mere “qualified success” of The Marriage of
Figaro Mozart began to feel his artistic isolation. The death of his third son only added to his feelings of loneliness and misunderstanding. Despite his bad luck of the premier, the opera was a triumph for Mozart in Prague, and he wrote his “Prague”symphony as a tribute to its generous people. One of Mozart’s greatest and most well known pieces of music is THE MAGIC FLUTE; which was produced by a suburban theatre in Vienna. The year 1787 started well for Mozart but the death of his father on May 28 marked the beginning of his decline. During these last four years of his life, the financial difficulties that had dogged him for so long continued, yet during these years he composed his most radiant masterpieces. Although, to Mozart’s delight, Constanze had given birth to a daughter, the family’s financial problems were going from bad to worse. His greatest operatic success after Figaro was DON GIOVANNI written in 1787, composed for Prague where Mozart’s art was especially appreciated.
Mozart’s fame began to fall after Figaro. The nobility and court grew
increasingly nervous about his revolutionary ideas, and his new musical style was not
understood by many. He sank into debt and was assisted by a brother Freemason, Michael Puchberg. Mozart had joined the Masons in 1784 and remained an ardent member until his death.
In July of 1791, Mozart was working in his summer-house when a man called to see him. He would not say who he was, only that he came with a message. A nobleman had told him to ask Mozart to compose a Requiem Mass – a Mass for the Dead. But the nobleman wished to pass the music off as his own. Mozart agreed, not knowing the strangers true intention.
Mozart may had died of a number of illnesses. The official diagnosis was miliary fever, but the truth is that the physicians who attended him were never quite sure what Mozart died of. He suffered from rheumatic pain, headaches, toothaches, skin eruptions, and lethargy. A common theory today is that Mozart died of uremia following chronic kidney disease. Regardless of the cause, Mozart became bedridden for the last two weeks of his life. He died at shortly after midnight on December 5th, 1791, aged thirty-five years, eleven months, and nine days.
Einstein, Alfred. Mozart, His Character, His Work. New York, 1962.
Knepler, Georg. Wolfgang Amad Mozart. Cambridge, 1994.
Landon, H.C. Robbins. 1791: Mozart’s Last Year. New York, 1988.
Steve Boerner. The Mozart Project, Revised December 20, 2000
? . The Mozart Story,
Mozart_bug@hotmail.com. Mozart Addicts Home Page