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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is one of the most notable and internationally renowned composers in history. The name "Mozart" is recognizable to even the most lay musical ears. Though he led a short life of only 35 years, his genius was preserved in the magnitude of music he composed. Since he composed in practically every genre, it is evident why he is considered a "Master." There are few composers whose music seems to grow even more popular with time, but Mozart's music continues to thrive with each new generation. This essay will provide a concise overview of Mozart: the man and his music.

On Sunday, January 27, 1756, Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria. Mozart was the last child of Leopold and Anna Maria Pertl Mozart. Leopold was a European leader in musical pedagogy and devoted his life to the musical careers of his children. Both W.A. Mozart and his sister Maria Anna (Nannerl) started their musical training early in life. W.A. was a piano virtuoso from a very early age. During travels to foreign cities to perform with his father, he was exposed to various musical genres, including opera and orchestra. He was also influenced by many composers and was introduced to numerous composers' styles.

In 1763 Wolfgang's father, Leopold, took him and his sister on a concert tour of Europe. The children performed for Louis XV at Versailles and George III in London. They wowed their audiences wherever they performed.

In 1764, Wolfgang wrote his first symphonies and met Johann Christian Brahms, who had a significant influence on him. By the time he was a teenager, he had mastered the harpsichord, violin, and piano. While in Paris Wolfgang published his first works, four sonatas for clavier with accompanying violin. In 1768 he composed his first opera, La Finta Semplice (The Simple Pretense), which was presented for the first time a year later in his hometown of Salzburg.

In 1769 Wolfgang and his father set out on another tour of Italy. Here Wolfgang wrote a new opera, Mitridate rи de Ponto. He also wrote two more operas for Milan, Ascanio in Alba and Lucio Silla. Three years later in 1772 Wolfgang was appointed concertmaster to the Archbishop of Salzburg. He composed many sacred works while he was concertmaster, but this job was not good for him and he did not get along with most of the people around him; he soon quit this job to travel to Paris with his mother and look for a court position.

In 1777 Wolfgang and his mother, Maria Anna, went to Paris, France. While here Wolfgang composed many works, including The Paris Symphony (1778), although he could not find a permanent job there. His mother died in Paris later that year, which was devastating to Wolfgang.

He returned to Salzburg in 1779 and was appointed court organist to the archbishop. He composed many church works there, including the famous Coronation Mass. Mozart wrote the Idomeneo in Munich (1780) which was his first great stage masterpiece. Upon returning to Salzburg, Mozart's relationship with his employer the archbishop began to unravel, so he resigned.

In 1781 Von Colloredo called Mozart to Vienna. His career there started out wonderfully, despite the strain that his move from Salzburg to Vienna had on the relationship between he and his father. He was soon assigned to write The Abduction from the Seralio (1782). The emperor loved his music and later got him the job of court composer. Mozart became increasingly popular in Vienna. That year he married Constenze Weber, from Germany. His father was not happy with this decision.




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