Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, rock star of his time
A little night music to salve the spirit
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's music lifts my mood and transforms my spirits. Whatever I am experiencing, Mozart makes it better.
When my friend died several years ago, I sat in my car after the funeral, sobbing for what seemed like hours. Eventually, I had to drive home, so I popped my well-worn tape (that's how long ago it was) of Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik into the cassette player on my dash and listened to the entire piece, not once but twice.
I got home safely that night and was able to attend a gathering of another sort, and with a totally different group of people, without dampening the mood with my sadness.
To this day, whenever I need a lift, Mozart's "Little Night Music" transports me instantly to a calmer place. It can be a soothing meditation companion. At other times, it is a stirring mood lifter that sends the heart into raptures.
Mozart was a child star, the talk of the circuit. His father, a classical musician himself, and the quintessential stage-father/manager, booked his child prodigy in courts across Europe. Some stories claim the father was more interested in the money the child could bring the family than in the toll the constant travel and performances took on the boy's health.
Some posit the young man suffered from bipolar disorder, citing his compulsive composing at breakneck speed, often followed by depression. Personally, I suspect it was more a matter of inspiration and exhaustion, the result of birthing a new work to the world.
Rock star of his time
The rock star of his time, Mozart generated adulation, sometimes jealousy, and quite often controversy wherever he went.
Just like rock stars of today, he delighted unsuspecting audiences, showing up unannounced at local venues and jamming with fellow musician-composers such as Haydn, trying out new works and having a grand time.
Like many of our stars, he went through good times and bad, living the high life, then falling deep into debt when the sales (in his case, patrons providing commissions and stipends) fell on the dry side.
He chafed at having to write what his patrons and the public wanted to hear rather than letting his creativity soar, and longed for the days he could compose exactly the music his brain and heart heard.
Mozart was taken from our world far too young. I have always wondered what gifts he would have left us had he been permitted a longer life.
Here, a short synopsis of the composer's biography, told in interviews with various musicians and historians, illustrated throughout with portraits and paintings depicting his life and times.
What I love most about this video are the pictures of Mozart and his family
The ultimate cross-over artist
Mozart wrote, and won popular acclaim for, more than 600 compositions in his short 35 years. What's more he composed in nearly every genre of the time, and played well nearly every instrument.
That would be like Paul McCartney writing and performing hundreds of hit songs not only in rock, but in country, rap, blues, and hip-hop, then branching out into chamber music, symphonies and opera and excelling with each. Well, in truth, McCartney has done quite a bit of that in his much longer lifetime, but that's another story.
I especially like this read on Mozart's life and music because it lets us see him (one chapter is actually titled, "What did Mozart look like") in his home and court surroundings, and because Wates takes us on little lyrical journeys through his music.