Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was the most comprehensively gifted musician who has ever lived. Mozart was a particularly prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, chamber, instrumental, operatic and choral works. He is among the most enduringly popular of classical composers.
Mozart showed prodigious ability from his earliest childhood in Salzburg. He began to play the harpsichord at the age of three and he composed from the age of five and performed before European royalty. He also played the violin and the viola to soloist standard. Mozart`s ability was to combine a dazzling musical imagination with total mastery of style and form, and a matchless beauty of expression. At 17 he was engaged as a court musician in Salzburg, but grew restless and travelled in search of a better position, always composing abundantly.
Whilst visiting Vienna in 1781, he was dismissed from his Salzburg position, but he chose to stay in the capital, where he achieved fame but little financial security. During his final years in Vienna, he composed many of his best-known symphonies, concertos and operas, and the Requiem K626. The circumstances of his early death have been much mythologized, and he was survived by his wife Constanza and his two sons.
Mozart learned voraciously from others, and developed a brilliance and maturity of style that encompassed the light and graceful along with the dark and passionate. His influence on subsequent Western music is profound. Beethoven wrote his own early compositions in the shadow of Mozart, of whom Joseph Haydn wrote "posterity will not see such a talent again in 100 years".............(Read more.....)..............(Biographical video)
His Place in History
Mozart belonged to the Classical period of the latter half of the 18th century. Other composers established the musical forms of that period - the sonata, the symphony, the concerto and the string quartet. But Mozart enriched these forms to a degree that amazed even haydn, who became one of his most devoted friends.
Mozart also showed great spirit by standing up for what he saw as his rights at a time when most composers still worked for aristocratic masters. After being dismissed by his employer, the Archbishop of Saltzburg, he made his way as best he could as an independent artist.
It is possible to see Mozart`s streak of independence in the wider context of the Storming of the Bastille in 1789 (above) and the start of the French Revolution, with its ideals of personal liberty. His greatest works display a degree of personal expression that echos the revolutionary times he lived in, and in that sense he paved the way for the 19th century Romanticism.
1773 - Exsultate, Jubilate, for soprano and orchestra
1774 - Symphony No. 29
1779 - Sinfonia Concertante
1780 - Opera, Idomeneo
1781 - Horn Concerto No. 4, Seranade in B flat, Piano
Sonata No. 11 in A
1782 - Opera, The Abduction from the Harem.
1783 - Symphony No. 36 `Linz`
1785 - Piano Concerto No. 20 and No. 21; 6 string
1786 - Opera, The Marriage of Figaro; Symphony No. 38, `Prague`; Piano Concerto No. 23 and 24.
1787 - Opera, Don Giovanni; Seranade, Eine klien
1788 - Symphonies No. 39, 40 and 41, `Jupiter`
1790 - Opera, Cosi fan tutte
1791 - Opera, The Magic Flute; Clarinet Concerto;
Piano Concerto No. 27; RequiemMass; Sleigh
Ride (from Three German Dances)
1756 - Born 27th January, in Saltzburg, Austria.
1762 - Father Leopold takes him to Paris and London
1768 - First operas produced in Vienna.
1769 - First visit to Italy.
1778 - Return visit to Paris. Death of his mother.
1781 - Dismissed from post with the Archbishop
of Saltzburg. Settles in Vienna.
1782 - Marries Constanze Weber.
1785 - Meets Haydn who praises him as `the
greatest living composer`.
1787 - Visits Prague for production of his latest
operas. Death of his father.
1789 - Visits Dresden, Leipzig and Berlin with his
future patron, Price Karl Lichnowsky.
1791 - Dies in Vienna, 5th December, and is
buried in an unmarked grave.
MOST FAMOUS WORK
The Marriage of Figaro.
For this story of love and intrigue, of comedy and sadness, Mozart wrote some of the most glorious music and also revolutionized the whole form and style of opera.