Mozart is considered to be one of the greatest prodigies in the history of music. The son of a violinist, his extraordinary musical gifts were apparent almost from infancy. He was writing music by the time he was five and performing for the Austrian Empress at age six. His father took young Wolfgang on tour, showcasing the boy's unique talents for nobility and royalty all over Europe. Whatever strain this kind of showmanship put on such a young person, Mozart gained by being exposed to many different musical styles.
Although as a teenager he was no longer an attraction as a prodigy, Mozart had become a master composer. Works such as the Symphony No. 25 in G minor (K. 183) written in 1773, reveal his special abilities to create a dramatic musical atmosphere.
Mozart worked for the Archbishop of Salzburg from the mid-1770s until 1781. These were unhappy years, as Mozart was treated like a servant, like so many professional musicians in those days. He was unable to work outside of Salzburg without his employer's consent and had to fulfill many tedious duties. When he left the Salzburg court for Vienna and a career as a free-lance musician, it was a bold step. Few musicians, and certainly none of his stature, had attempted to survive outside the centers of patronage supplied by the church and the aristocracy. Mozart was in many ways very successful, and his serious financial problems seem to stem from mismanagement rather than lack of work. This was Mozart's most fertile period and contains his most greatest music, including the Jupiter and Prague Symphonies, the last set of Piano Concertos and the operas Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), Don Giovanni, and Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute). Mozart died at the age of thirty-five. Had he lived just twenty years more, the history of classical music certainly would have been noticeably different.