Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Niraj Shrestha

Music in Life October 17, 2006

The Classical Era in the western music was from 1730 to 1820. The Classical era sought dramatic effects, striking melodies, and clearer textures also know as the Sonata form. One of the best composers of this era that defined the music of the classical era was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who was born in January 27, 1756. In his lifetime he published more that six hundred compositions, Mozart was born to Leopold and Anna Maria Pertl Mozart in Salzburg now Austria. “There is a strange kind of human being in whom there is an eternal struggle between body and soul, animal and god, for dominance. I all great this mixture is striking and in none more than is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart” (Einstein 5). Mozart's father Leopold was one of Europe's leading musical teachers. His influential textbook Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule, was published in 1756, the year of Mozart's birth. There was nothing better than to learn from one of the best in Europe and that’s what happened, Leopold intensely started teaching music to his son, it is believed that his father stopped composing when saw the immense talent of young Mozart. His first compositions, a small Andante (K. 1a) and Allegro (K. 1b), were written in 1761, when he was five years old (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart-Wikipedia). Wolfgang's achievement followed in rapid succession, it wasn't long before the little boy wrote a composition of his own. At six measures, this andante in C major (K. 1a) is a mere wisp of a work. Other small compositions would follow. Inconsequential as they were, these bits and pieces were tokens of greater things to come (The Mozart Project). Mozart made several European journeys, beginning with an exhibition in 1762 at the Court of the Elector of Bavaria in Munich, then at the Imperial Court in Vienna and Prague. A long concert tour spanning three and a half years followed, taking him with

N Shrestha 2

his father to the courts of Munich, Mannheim, Paris, London. The Hague, again to Paris, and back home via Zürich, Donaueschingen, and Munich (wikipedia). During these trips he met lot of musicians like Johann Christian Bach, who befriended Mozart in London. Bach music has always inspired Mozart and they later went on to Vienna in late 1767. On this trip Mozart contracted smallpox, and his healing was considered by Leopold as a proof of God's intentions concerning the child (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart-Wikipedia). After one year in Salzburg, three trips to Italy, Mozart was commissioned to compose three operas: "Mitridate Rè di Ponto", "Ascanio in Alba", and "Lucio Silla", which were performed in Milan. During the first of these trips, Mozart met Andrea Luchesi in Venice and G.B. Martini in Bologna, and was accepted as a member of the famous Accademia Filarmonica. A highlight of the Italian journey, now an almost legendary tale, occurred when he heard Gregorio Allegri's Miserere once in performance in the Sistine Chapel then wrote it out in its entirety from memory, only returning to correct minor errors; thus producing the first illegal copy of this closelyguarded property of the Vatican (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart-Wikipedia). On August 4, 1782, against his father's wishes, he married Constanze Weber. Although they had six children, only two survived infancy. The year 1782 was an auspicious one for Mozart's career: his opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail ("The Abduction from the Seraglio") was a great success and he began a series of concerts at which he premiered his own piano concertos as director of the ensemble and soloist (wikipedia). During 1782–83, Mozart became closely acquainted with the work of J.S. Bach and G.F. Handel as a result of the influence of Baron Gottfried van Swieten, who owned many manuscripts of works by the Baroque masters. Mozart's study of these

N Shrestha 3

works led first to a number of works imitating Baroque style and later had a powerful influence on his own personal musical language, for example the fugal passages in Die Zauberflöte ("The Magic Flute") and in the Symphony No. 41 (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart-Wikipedia). In 1783, Wolfgang and Constanze visited Leopold in Salzburg, but the visit was not a success, as his father did not open his heart to Constanze. However, the visit sparked the composition of one of Mozart's great liturgical pieces, the Mass in C Minor, which, though not completed, was premiered in Salzburg, and is now one of his bestknown works. Wolfgang featured Constanze as the lead female solo voice at the premiere of the work, hoping to endear her to his father's affection(Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart-Wikipedia). When Hyden first heard the last three of Mozart's series he told Leopold, "Before God and as an honest man I tell you that your son is the greatest composer known to me either in person or by name: He has taste, and, furthermore, the most profound knowledge of composition” (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart-Wikipedia). Mozart was influenced by the ideas of the eighteenth century European Enlightenment as an adult, and became a Freemason. His lodge was a specifically Catholic, rather than a deistic one, Die Zauberflöte, his second last opera, includes Masonic themes and allegory. He was in the same Masonic Lodge as Haydn. Mozart's life was occasionally fraught with financial difficulty. Though the extent of this difficulty has often been romanticized and exaggerated, he nonetheless did resort to borrowing money from close friends, some debts remaining unpaid even to his death. During the years 1784-1787 he lived in a lavish, seven-room apartment, which may be visited

N Shrestha 4

today at Domgasse 5, behind St Stephen's Cathedral; it was here, in 1786, that Mozart composed the opera Le nozze di Figaro (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart-Wikipedia). Mozart's final illness and death are difficult topics for scholars, obscured by romantic legends and replete with conflicting theories. Scholars disagree about the course of decline in Mozart's health – particularly at what point Mozart became aware of his impending death and whether this awareness influenced his final works. The romantic view holds that Mozart declined gradually and that his outlook and compositions paralleled this decline. In opposition to this, some present-day scholars point out correspondence from Mozart's final year indicating that he was in good cheer, as well as evidence that Mozart's death was sudden and a shock to his family and friends. Mozart's attributed last words: "The taste of death is upon my lips...I feel something, that is not of this earth". The actual cause of Mozart's death is also a matter of conjecture. His death record listed "hitziges Frieselfieber", a description that does not suffice to identify the cause as it would be diagnosed in modern medicine. Dozens of theories have been proposed, including trichinosis, mercury poisoning, and rheumatic fever (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart-Wikipedia). He had no requests and no messages to leave, except to ask Constanze to keep the news of his death secret untill Albrechtsbeger – the musician next in line to him for the post at the Stefanskirche (Marcia Davenport,379). Mozart died around 1 a.m. on December 5, 1791 in Vienna. Some days earlier, with the onset of his illness, he had largely ceased work on his final composition, the Requiem. Popular legend has it that Mozart was thinking of his own impending death while writing this piece, and even that a messenger from the afterworld commissioned it. However, documentary evidence has

N Shrestha 5

established that the anonymous commission came from one Count Franz Walsegg of Schloss Stuppach, and that most if not all of the music had been written while Mozart was still in good health (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart-Wikipedia). Because he was buried in an unmarked grave, it has been popularly assumed that Mozart was penniless and forgotten when he died. In fact, though he was no longer as fashionable in Vienna as before, he continued to have a well-paid job at court and receive substantial commissions from more distant parts of Europe, Prague in particular (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart-Wikipedia). Mozart was one of the greatest musician and a composer of all time, he was the one who described what the classic music is and was one of the essence of the Classical Era. Mozart traveled a lot in his younger years all around Europe performing for the aristocrats he was never close to his home and died and an untimely death. One can imagine a boy who composed his first music piece at age five would have given to the world , in form of his music, if his death was not this early. The achievements of Mozart can never be matched, what he did for the world of music in just thirty five years of his life is just more than amazing and extraordinary and cannot be ever matched.

N Shrestha 6

Work Cited
Einstein, Alfred. Mozart his Character his Work. NY, United States: Oxford University Press, 1945 (Translated by Arthur Mendel and Nathan Broder).

Davenport, Marcia. Mozart. NY United States: Charles Scribners’s Sons, 1932.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart-Wikipedia. October 10th 2006. Wikipedia Foundation. October 11th 2006. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozart>.

The Mozart Project. July 10th 1998. The Mozart Project (Steve Boerner). October 11th 2006 <http://www.mozartproject.org/index.html>.

N Shrestha 7

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.