Chances room that if girlfriend asked random students on campus to surname a timeless composer, Mozart would certainly be one of the best-known names. A child-prodigy whose life and career to be cut brief by illness, the stands as among the truly an excellent talents the music history. He produced masterworks in all the significant genres, despite he is perhaps finest known because that his operas. This set him except Haydn and Beethoven, that composed reasonably little because that the operatic stage.

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Introduction


Figure 1. Mozart c. 1780, information from portrait through Johann Nepomuk della Croce


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 1756–5 December 1791), baptised as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was a prolific and influential composer of the timeless era.

Mozart showed prodigious capacity from his earliest childhood. Already competent on keyboard and also violin, he written from the age of five and performed before European royalty. In ~ 17, the was engaged as a court musician in Salzburg, but grew restless and travelled searching for a much better position, constantly composing abundantly. When visiting Vienna in 1781, he was dismissed from his Salzburg position. He decided to continue to be in the capital, whereby he completed fame but little financial security. Throughout his last years in Vienna, that composed plenty of of his best-known symphonies, concertos, and also operas, and portions the the Requiem, i m sorry was largely unfinished at the moment of his death. The scenarios of his early fatality have been much mythologized. He was survived by his mam Constanze and also two sons.

He composed over 600 works, plenty of acknowledged as pinnacles that symphonic, concertante, chamber, operatic, and choral music. That is amongst the many enduringly renowned of timeless composers, and his influence on succeeding Western arts music is profound; Ludwig valve Beethoven composed his own early works in the zero of Mozart, and Joseph Haydn created that “posterity will certainly not check out such a talent again in 100 years.”

Biography

Family and also childhood

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born ~ above 27 January 1756 come Leopold Mozart (1719–1787) and also Anna Maria, née Pertl (1720–1778), at 9 Getreidegassein Salzburg. This was the capital of the Archbishopric that Salzburg, one ecclesiastic principality in what is now Austria, then part of the divine Roman Empire. He was the youngest of seven children, 5 of whom passed away in infancy. His elder sister was Maria Anna (1751–1829), nicknamed “Nannerl.” Mozart was i was baptized the job after his birth at St. Rupert’s Cathedral. The baptismal record provides his name in Latinized kind as Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart. That generally dubbed himself “Wolfgang Amadè Mozart” as one adult, yet his surname had many variants.


Figure 2. Mozart’s birthplace in ~ Getreidegasse 9, Salzburg


Leopold Mozart, a aboriginal of Augsburg, was a boy composer and also an competent teacher. In 1743, he to be appointed as 4th violinist in the musical facility of counting Leopold Anton von Firmian, the judgment Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg. Four years later, he married Anna Maria in Salzburg. Leopold came to be the orchestra’s deputy Kapellmeister in 1763. During the year of his son’s birth, Leopold released a violin textbook, Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule, which completed success.

When Nannerl to be seven, she started keyboard lessons v her father while she three-year-old brother looked on. Year later, after she brother’s death, she reminisced:

He frequently spent much time in ~ the clavier, picking the end thirds, which he was ever striking, and also his pleasure showed that it sounded good. . . . In the fourth year of his period his father, for a game as it were, began to teach the a couple of minuets and pieces in ~ the clavier. . . . He could play that faultlessly and with the greatest delicacy, and also keeping exactly in time. . . . In ~ the period of five, the was already composing small pieces, which he played to his father who wrote lock down.

These early pieces, K. 1–5, were tape-recorded in the Nannerl Notenbuch.

There is part scholarly conflict of even if it is Mozart was 4 or 5 years old once he created his an initial musical compositions, though there is tiny doubt that Mozart written his very first three pieces of music within a few weeks of every other: KVs 1a, 1b, and 1c.

Solomon note that, while Leopold to be a devoted teacher to his children, over there is evidence that Mozart was keen come progress past what he was taught. His very first ink-spattered composition and his precocious initiatives with the violin to be of his own initiative and also came as a surprise to his father. Leopold ultimately gave increase composing once his son’s musical talents became evident. In his at an early stage years, Mozart’s father to be his only teacher. Along with music, he teach his youngsters languages and scholastic subjects.

1762–73: Travel

During Mozart’s youth, his family members made several European journeys in i m sorry he and Nannerl carry out as boy prodigies. These began with one exhibition, in 1762, at the court that the Prince-elector Maximilian III that Bavaria in Munich, and at the royal Court in Vienna and Prague. A long concert tour spanning three and a half years followed, taking the family to the courts of Munich, Mannheim, Paris, London, The Hague, again come Paris, and earlier home via Zurich, Donaueschingen, and Munich.

Mozart wrote his very first symphony once he was eight years old. The is probable that his father transcribed most of it for him.


Figure 3. The Mozart household on tour: Leopold, Wolfgang, and also Nannerl. Watercolor through Carmontelle, ca. 1763


During this trip, Mozart met a number of musicians and acquainted himself v the functions of various other composers. A specifically important influence was Johann Christian Bach, whom Mozart went to in London in 1764 and also 1765. The household again visited Vienna in late 1767 and also remained there till December 1768.

These trips were often difficult and travel problems were primitive. The household had come wait because that invitations and also reimbursement indigenous the nobility and also they sustained long, near-fatal illnesses much from home: an initial Leopold (London, summer 1764) then both youngsters (The Hague, loss 1765).

After one year in Salzburg, Leopold and Mozart set off for Italy, leave Mozart’s mother and sister in ~ home. This travel lasted native December 1769 to March 1771. As with earlier journeys, Leopold wanted to display screen his son’s abilities as a performer and also a quickly maturing composer. Mozart met Josef Mysliveček and also Giovanni Battista Martini in Bologna and was accepted as a member that the famous Accademia Filarmonica. In Rome, that heardGregorio Allegri’s Miserere twice in performance in the Sistine Chapel and also wrote it out from memory, thus developing the very first unauthorized copy of this very closely guarded home of the Vatican.

In Milan, Mozart wrote the opera Mitridate, re di Ponto (1770), which to be performed with success. This led to further opera commissions. He returned with his father later on twice come Milan (August–December 1771; October 1772 – in march 1773) because that the composition and also premieres the Ascanio in Alba (1771) and Lucio Silla (1772). Leopold hoped these visits would an outcome in a professional appointment because that his kid in Italy, however these hopes were never realized.

Toward the finish of the last Italian journey, Mozart composed the first of his works to be still extensively performed today, the solo motet Exsultate, jubilate, K. 165.

1773–77: Employment at the Salzburg court

After lastly returning through his father from Italy ~ above 13 march 1773, Mozart to be employed as a court musician through the ruler of Salzburg, Prince-Archbishop Hieronymus Colloredo. The composer had a an excellent number that friends and also admirers in Salzburg and had actually the chance to occupational in many genres, including symphonies, sonatas, string quartets, masses, serenades, and also a couple of minor operas. Between April and December 1775, Mozart emerged an enthusiasm for violin concertos, developing a collection of five (the only ones he ever before wrote), i beg your pardon steadily enhanced in their musical sophistication. The critical three—K. 216, K. 218, K. 219—are now staples the the repertoire. In 1776 he turned his initiatives to piano concertos, culminating in the E-flat concerto K. 271 of early 1777, considered by critics to be a breakthrough work.

Despite these creative successes, Mozart flourished increasingly discontented through Salzburg and redoubled his efforts to discover a place elsewhere. One reason was his short salary, 150 florins a year; Mozart longed to compose operas, and also Salzburg detailed only rare occasions for these. The instance worsened in 1775 once the court theater was closed, especially since the various other theater in Salzburg was largely reserved for visiting troupes.

Two long explorations in search of job-related interrupted this lengthy Salzburg stay: Mozart and also his father saw Vienna indigenous 14 July come 26 September 1773, and Munich indigenous 6 December 1774 to March 1775. No visit to be successful, despite the Munich journey resulted in a popular success v the premiere of Mozart’s opera La finta giardiniera.

1777–78: journey to Paris

In respectable 1777, Mozart resigned his position at Salzburg and top top 23 September ventured the end once more in search of employment, with visits to Augsburg, Mannheim, Paris, and also Munich.

Mozart became acquainted through members the the famous orchestra in Mannheim, the best in Europe at the time. He also fell in love with Aloysia Weber, one of 4 daughters the a musical family. There were prospects of employment in Mannheim, yet they pertained to nothing, and Mozart left because that Paris on 14 in march 1778 to proceed his search. Among his letter from Paris hints at a feasible post as an organist in ~ Versailles, yet Mozart was no interested in such an appointment. He dropped into debt and also took come pawning valuables. The nadir that the visit occurred when Mozart’s mommy was bring away ill and died top top 3 July 1778. There had actually been delays in calling a doctor—probably, according to Halliwell, due to the fact that of a absence of funds. Mozart remained with Melchior Grimm, who, as personal secretary of the battle each other d’Orléans, stayed in his mansion.

While Mozart was in Paris his father to be pursuing avenues of employment for him in Salzburg. With the assistance of the regional nobility, Mozart was available a short article as court organist and also concertmaster. The yearly salary was 450 florins, but he was reluctant come accept. By the time relations between Grimm and also Mozart had cooled, and also Mozart moved out. ~ leaving Paris in September 1778 for Strasbourg, he lingered in Mannheim and Munich, still hoping to attain an appointment outside Salzburg. In Munich the again encountered Aloysia, now a really successful singer, however she to be no longer interested in him. Mozart ultimately returned come Salzburg on 15 January 1779 and also took up his brand-new appointment, but his discontent through Salzburg stayed undiminished.

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Among the far better known works which Mozart wrote on the Paris journey space the A young piano sonata, K. 310/300d and also the “Paris” Symphony (No. 31), which were performed in Paris ~ above 12 and 18 June 1778.