Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a prodigious musician and one of the greatest composers of all time. He wrote over 600 works including sonatas, symphonies, masses, chamber music, concertos and operas, marked by vivid emotion and sophisticated textures.
Born in Salzburg, Austria, Mozart was an exceptional talent from a very early age. At three he was playing the clavichord, and a year later began writing short compositions. He was a musician capable of playing multiple instruments and gave his first public performance at the age of five at Salzburg University. Between 1763 and 1766 he toured Europe with his father and his sister Nannerl, playing concerts and performing before royalty.
After being appointed Konzertmeister at the Salzburg Court in 1769 he made several tours of Italy to study opera, and composed two of his own, Mitridate and Lucio Silla. Returning to Austria, he wrote all of his violin concertos along with settings of the Catholic mass, symphonies and chamber music, as well as the opera Idomeneo, which became a sensation in Munich. In 1782 Mozart married Constanze Weber, which was also the year his opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail was staged with great success.
In the 1780s he composed many sonatas and quartets, and appeared as soloist in the fifteen piano concertos he wrote. Mozart received many commissions for operas and produced a string of masterpieces: The Marriage of Figaro in 1786, Don Giovanni in 1787, Così fan tutte in 1790, and The Magic Flute in 1791.
During his final years in Vienna, he composed many of his best-known symphonies, concertos, and operas, and portions of the Requiem which was left unfinished at the time of his death. The Magic Flute was the last opera Mozart composed; it was premiered on 30th September 1791 – roughly three months before he died. Mozart himself conducted the orchestra, while the librettist, Emanuel Schikaneder, sang the role of Papageno.
Mozart is not known for radical formal or harmonic innovations. His most popular works have a natural flow and irresistible charm, expressing humour, joy or sorrow with both conviction and mastery. His operas, piano concertos and later symphonies are brilliant examples of high art.
Mozart has a chocolate named after him: the Mozartkugel, a round sweet of marzipan and nougat, covered in dark chocolate.
About this Contributor
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- Wolfgang Amadeus
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- Minutes created
- Collection 2 #9
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