Mozart

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Mozart

  1. 1. Mozart<br /> Mozart was no doubt the greatest child star that ever lived. He was traveling all over Europe playing music by the time he was six. Because of his constant travels, Mozart eventually learned to speak fifteen different languages. <br />He wrote his first sonata for the piano when he was four and composed his first opera when he was twelve! Mozart could compose anywhere - at meals (he loved liver dumplings and sauerkraut), while talking to friends, while playing pool and even while his wife was having a baby. He composed very quickly and wrote huge amounts of music. It would take over 8 days to play all of his music, one piece after the next, without stopping. One famous piece that he wrote was Variations on " Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." <br />One night a mysterious stranger came to his door dressed in gray to hire Mozart to write a requiem mass (a kind of music that choirs perform at funerals). Mozart who was very afraid of ghosts and extremely superstitious, was terrified of the stranger who kept nagging him to finish the piece. He was already ill, and in his state of mind he became convinced that he was writing music for his own funeral. <br />During his lifetime, Mozart was very well-known but spent money faster than he could earn it. He was poor and in debt when he died of kidney failure at the age of 35 and was buried in a poor man's grave. Mozart is considered by some to be the greatest composer who ever lived. While most composers specialize in certain kinds of pieces, Mozart created masterful works for almost every category of music - vocal music, concertos, chamber music, symphonies, sonatas and opera. Mozart wrote over 600 works during his lifetime, including 41 symphonies (Eine Kleine Nachtmusik), and 27 piano concertos. Three of his most famous operas include The Marriage of Figaro, The Magic Flute and Don Giovanni. He is also famous for his Requiem mass.<br />Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart(1756 - 1791)<br />Mozart The Composer<br />Mozart the Composer ..." Mozart was a remarkable 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 he reached the age of four, he had exhibited already such extraordinary powers of musical memory and ear-sophistication that his father, Leopold (a highly esteemed violinist and composer in his own right) decided to sign young Wolfgang up for harpsichord lessons.<br />Almost from day one, the boy's reputation as an unexampled musical prodigy grew faster than wildfire. At the age of five, he was composing music; by the time he was six, he was a keyboard virtuoso, so much so that Leopold took Wolfgang and his sister Maria Anna on a performance tour to Munich and Vienna.<br />From that time on, young Mozart was constantly performing and writing music. He was the toast of Austria, and gave many concerts of prepared works and improvisation. Wherever he appeared, people gaped in awe at his divine gifts. By his early teens, he had mastered the piano, violin and harpsichord, and was writing keyboard pieces, oratorios, symphonies and operas. His first major opera, " Mitridate" , was performed in Milan in 1770 (when he was still only fourteen!), to such unqualified raves that critics compared him to Handel.<br />At fifteen, Mozart was installed as the concertmaster in the orchestra of the Archbishop of Salzburg. Things did not go very well; Mozart didn't get along with the Archbishop, and relations deteriorated to the point where, in 1781, he quit this lofty position and headed for Vienna - quite against his father's wishes.<br />Before joining Freemasonry Mozart wrote masonic music his first work was named " Ode to a solem Saint Johnslodge" and was written in Salzburg in 1772. The second was " Thamos, King in Egypt" which he wrote in 1773 and rewrote that composition in 1779.<br />About joining Freemasonry by Mozart is not more known then an adminastrive note that he was initiated as an Apprentice on december 14 in 1784 by a Vienneese Lodge ´Zur Wohltätigkeit´. The next note about Mozart is that the Ceremony of Passing took place on january 7 in 1785. in an other Lodge ´Zur wahren Eintracht´. Somewhere between that 7th of january and the following year the 22nd of april he must have been raised to Mastermason as he was present that day as a Mastermason when his father Leopold was initiated in the Lodge ´Zur Neugekrönte Hoffnung´.<br />Now a grown man, Mozart initially thrived in Vienna. He was in great demand as a performer and composition teacher, and his first opera, " The Abduction from the Seraglio" , was a hit. But life was not easy. He was a poor businessman, and finances were always tight, especially after his marriage to Constanze Weber. Political infighting at the Vienna court kept him from the patronage that composers of the period so relied upon, and he descended to a life of genteel poverty.<br />His music from the next decade - and it came at a blisteringly prolific rate - was only sporadically popular, and he eventually fell back on his teaching jobs and on the charity of friends to make ends meet. In 1788 he stopped performing in public, preferring to compose. But fortune never turned, and when he died in 1791 at the age of thirty-five, he was buried in a pauper's grave.<br />To say that Mozart was a composer of unequalled genius is scarcely scratching the surface of this man's remarkable gifts. He wrote music - complete and perfect, down to the last accent and inflection - as fast as he could think, and this astonishing rate of production continues to stupefyöte" scholars today. 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, 26 string quartets...the list is endless. And what makes these numbers doubly unfathomable is the peerless craft with which each piece of music was created. Mozart was a master of counterpoint, fugue, and the other traditional compositional devices of his day; more than this, he was perhaps the greatest melody writer the world has ever known. His operas range from comic baubles to tragic masterpieces. His " Requiem" , composed not long before his own death, stands with Bach's " St. Matthew Passion" as the supreme example of vocal music. His last opera " Die Zauberflöte" could have become a new brakethrough because this was very successful even in his own days had he not shortly thereafter died, but even to day this opera is awe inspiring.<br />Mozart was born in Salzburg (where his house can still be viewed today, not too far from some of the locations used in The Sound of Music!). His father Leopold was himself a musician and composer who taught the young Mozart at a very early age. So successful was this that Mozart was able to play the piano at the age of 4 and he was composing his own works from the age of 5. When he was 6, while learning the violin, his father took Mozart and his elder sister (Maria Anna, also a young pianist) on a tour of Europe lasting 4 years to exhibit their talents to a wide audience. The gifted pair were presented to and celebrated by the Nobility and Royalty of several countries, meeting Louis XV of France, Georges III of England and also Marie Antoinette who was also of a similar age. Wolfgang Amadeus was even decorated by the Pope.<br />Hence Mozart was immersed in music and in performing throughout his formative years. To demonstrate the skills of the young Mozart as a composer, we include here two of his early works composed around 1762 at the ages of 5 or 6. These works were originally catalogued by Ludwig von Kochel in 1862, giving them their " K" numbers which were intended to be chronological. We now know more about the dates of composition so that K.2 was actually composed before K.1 and there were a few works written between them.<br />Minuet in F (K.2) <br />Minuet and Trio in G (K.1) <br />The novelty factor of child prodigies wears off as they grow older, so Mozart had to struggle more as a teenager and young adult. He went on a second money-raising tour to Paris, where his mother who accompanied him died. Mozart returned to Salzburg but his relationship with the Archbishop (his father's employer) was not very good. It was at the age of about 25 that Mozart moved and settled in Vienna, where he married Constanze Weber and fathered 6 children (though only 2 survived). There as a freelance composer he struggled to make ends meet, frequently having to borrow money from friends. However, during this last decade of his short life he was at the peak of his phenomenal skill as a composer and wrote a large number of his best known works. He died leaving his last work (a Requiem) not quite finished, and following the most basic of funerals was buried in an unmarked pauper's grave. There is now a monument to Mozart in his adoptive city of Vienna.<br />Mozart's life remains a complicated puzzle. As a child, he seemed gifted beyond all measure, playing at age six before the empress, and composing at an even earlier age. By twelve he had written an opera, and his talents seemed to know no bounds. From this auspicious beginning, one would have predicted a future filled with prestigious royal appointments, the brilliant composer and performer constantly sought out by emperors and kings. But his career, which ended tragically with his death at age thirty-five, was a constant disappointment. When once asked about a meager court appointment he held, Mozart replied: " I get paid far too much for what I do, and far too little for what I could do." His music did not always please those in power: " Too many notes," Emperor Joseph II was reported to have said. And Mozart himself, who always felt that his talents were never adequately recognized, was often difficult. The difficulties of Mozart the man, however, are eclipsed by the enormous power of Mozart the musician. His music was often joyous and almost raucous, and yet he could also write melodies of simple and haunting beauty. Like Haydn and Beethoven, Mozart was just as comfortable writing simple, direct melodies as he was writing complicated contrapuntal works. There seems to have been no genre in which he was not comfortable, and we can rightly point to his best work in any of them as the epitome of that genre.<br />

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