Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Mozart was a fascinating musician and composer
whose legend continues to grow more than two centuries after
his death. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg,
Austria in 1756. Before the age of four, he had shown
great talents of musical memory and
ear-sophistication. His father, Leopold, then decided to
let Wolfgang start taking harpsichord lessons. The boy's reputation as a musical
prodigy grew fast. At five, he was composing
music, and a year later he was a keyboard master.
From that time on, Mozart was
performing in concerts and writing music.
By his early teens, he had mastered the
piano, violin and harpsichord, and was writing keyboard
pieces, symphonies and operas. His first major
opera was performed in Milan in 1770 when he
was only 14.
At fifteen, Mozart became the
concertmaster in the orchestra of the Archbishop of Salzburg.
Mozart didn't get along with the
Archbishop. In 1781, he quit and headed for Vienna.
thrived in Vienna. He was in great demand as a performer and
composition teacher, and his first opera was a hit. But life was not easy because he
was a poor businessman, and finances were always tight. His music from the next decade
was not very popular, and he eventually fell back on his
teaching jobs and on the charity of friends as his source of income.
In 1788 he stopped performing in public, preferring to
compose. He died in 1791 at the age of thirty-five.
Mozart wrote music, complete and
perfect, as fast as
he could think. In his short life, he
composed over 600 works, including 21 stage and opera works,
15 Masses, over 50 symphonies, 25 piano concertos, 12 violin
concertos, 27 concert arias, 17 piano sonatas, and 26 string
quartets. He was perhaps the
greatest melody writer the world has ever known.
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