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A Mozart Biography
Wolfgang Amadeus - the early years
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, at the tender age of five, showed an amazing gift for composition and playing the piano. His father, Leopold Mozart, gave up his own career as a musician to teach Wolfgang and his sister, Nannerl, also an accomplished pianist. The Mozart family made several European tours. At 13, Wolfgang was appointed Concert Master at the Salzburg Court by the Archbishop. During this time he had the opportunity to tour Italy and develop his interest in opera.
Mozart's 25th Symphony (K183, composed at the age of 17)
Travel, love, grief and rebellion
Wolfgang traveled to Rome where he attended a performance in the Sistine Chapel of Allegri's Miserere, and then later wrote it down from memory. He then visited the hometown of Europe's most notable orchestra, Mannheim. Here he had a brief love affair with Aloysia Weber, which ended when Leopold sent Wolfgang and Wolfgang's mother to Paris. Wolfgang was extremely unhappy in Paris, and while they were there, his mother became ill and died. Mozart returned to Salzburg with a rebellious attitude and was subsequently dismissed by the Archbishop. Mozart has been quoted as having said he was "dismissed with a kick in the pants."
Success in Vienna
At 25, Wolfgang settled in Vienna, where his career developed quickly. He achieved great success with his Die Entführung aus dem Serail opera and performed as both soloist and conductor during a piano concerto concert series. In 1782 he married Aloysia's sister, Constanze, against his father's wishes. During this time he also familiarized himself with the music of Handel and Bach, and became friends with the great composer Joseph Haydn, who also introduced him to freemasonry. Wolfgang joined the Freemasons in 1784 and spent the next three years trying to convert his father before his father died.
Mozart Piano Concerto 23
Queen of the Night aria from The Magic Flute
Declining career - flourishing creativitity
The late 1780s was a difficult time for Mozart financially, but was one of his most creative times. His career declined, his finances diminished, and he was forced to move his family to the suburbs where he could find more economic dwellings. However, the Clarinet Concerto, the opera Die Zauberflöte, the unfinished Requiem and the final piano concerto were created during this period and were among his most admired works.
New hopes, then death
During his last years, his financial situation improved. His death at the end of 1791 brought much speculation about the circumstances surrounding it. Some believe another composer, Antonio Salieri, had a hand in his death, and some believe that Wolfgang was poisoned. His body was laid to rest in accordance with the 1784 laws of Austria: in an unmarked, communal grave.
Mozart Requiem Introitus
What is your favorite Mozart piece?
Tell us about your love of Mozart and why you wouldn't want to be without his music! What is your favorite among all his beautiful compositions?