When Leopold and Anna Maria Mozart peered at their tiny newborn son, perhaps they had a sense that he was going to be something very special, for they named him Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart. A few years later, their five-year old son was composing a concerto and entertaining in courts and noble houses. Leopold let the world know that his son was “The miracle which God let be born in Salzburg.” He became his son’s ambitious promoter and took 7-year old Mozart and his sister on a European tour. Soon Mozart’s music was published, and at age 13, he was appointed honorary Konzertmeister at the Salzburg court. As a young teenager, Mozart became known for his ability to assimilate a wide variety of styles and enrich them with his inventiveness. The Salzburg court position was confining and did not satisfy Mozart’s need for creativity.
In 1769, Mozart and his father set out on tour explore Italian operatic music and give concerts along the way. Their tour is well documented in his father’s letters home. He was commissioned to compose an opera that would open the season in Milan. They toured all the great opera venues and even had a papal audience. And really, what 13-year old’s trip to Italy would be complete without composing and conducting an opera in Milan? Back in Salzburg, Mozart composed oratorios, operas, symphonies, piano concerti, and masses.
Mozart’s next tour was to Munich, Augsburg, Mannheim, and Paris, where Mozart composed Concert Spirituel before returning to Salzburg and composing three symphonies, piano concerti, sonatas, and the Coronation Mass. In 1780, Mozart was delighted with a commission to compose an Italian opera to be performed in Munich. Idomeneo, re di Creta premiered, and the twenty-five-year old set off for Vienna. There Archbishop Colloredo did not treat him with due respect nor did he let him play at concerts. Mozart used “unecclesiastical language” and left. He took up residence in the family home of his first love, Alosia, and fell in love with her sister, Constanze. He was working on Die Entführung in 1782.
Pianist, conductor, composer, teacher–Mozart was a very busy young man. His music has been described as complex and other times acceding to popular tastes, playful but also formal and dark, original yet sometimes borrowing local flavors, military on occasion and then romantic, sometimes a little racy, sometimes fully sacred. The man was as complex and unpredictable as his music. He was a small man with a huge presence. He danced and played billiards. He lived in the company of nobility and his place in history was recognized during his lifetime, but Mozart constantly struggled with finances and died at age thirty-five. He left 600 works, including 16 operas, 41 symphonies, 27 piano and five violin concerti, 25 string quartets, and 19 masses.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart by Stanley Sadie, Encyclopaedia Britanica https://www.britannica.com/biography/Wolfgang-Amadeus-Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: the slightly different Mozart biography www.mozart.com/en/hom
Image, top: Birthplace of Mozart in Salzburg, Austria – Adobe Stock
Image, body, top left: The “Edlinger Mozart”; https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Edlinger_Mozart.png
Image, body, lower right: Mozart (Unfinished) by Lange, 1782; https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mozart_(unfinished)_by_Lange_1782.jpg
The Longmont Chorale performs, “Requiem: Mozart’s Last Words” on Sunday, March 11, 2018 at 3PM at LifeBridge Christian Church in Longmont. The Chorale and guest soloists are accompanied by instrumentalists from the Longmont Symphony Orchestra.
The Longmont Chorale is a nonprofit Longmont choral group, an SATB choir which performs four major concerts in Longmont each season. Concert tickets and information are both available at LongmontChorale.org/Tickets.
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