Genius: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Born January 27, 1756 in Salzburg, he was baptized under the name of Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart. His father, Leopold Mozart, took charge of his musical education. He was conductor at the court of the Archbishop of Salzburg as well as violinist, composer and pedagogue.
From the age of six, Mozart shows exceptional gifts for the pianoforte, the ancestor of the piano and for the violin. He was amazed by his ability to improvise and decipher scores.
In 1762 his father decided to take him on a tour of the courts of Europe, where he was triumphant. These trips were trying for the child. From this period date the first sonatas for harpsichord and violin, a symphony, and a first test of opera-bouffe, La Finta Semplice (1768). Decorated by the Pope of the Order of the Golden Spur, he was also appointed concertmaster to the Archbishop of Salzburg in 1769.
That year, he composed Bastien and Bastienne, inspired by Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s “Devin du village”. In 1770, he was commissioned his first opera seria,of ancient inspiration. This Mithridate, Re di Ponte, created in Milan, ensured Mozart an international success as a composer.

Back in Salzburg, Mozart managed to win, despite the lack of interest in the music of the new archbishop Colloredo. The wide leisure that left him his load
as a concertmaster allowed him to devote himself to composition. But Leopold, Mozart’s father decides, with the Archbishop’s consent, a new tour in Europe in 1777, and Mozart, accompanied by his mother, went on tour in the German courts and in Paris.

In search of a stable position in a European court, Mozart experienced several disappointments. Attracted by the musical prestige of the city, he went to Mannheim where he hoped to be recognized. He then went to Paris but the effect “child prodigy” had disappeared, and
the twenty-two-year-old was no more than a musician among many others.
He fell in love with the singer Aloysia Weber. Love failure, financial difficulties, Mozart was marked by the arrogance of the aristocrats and lived the death of his mother in Paris as an intimate drama. The return to Salzburg in 1779 put an end to the darkest period of the composer’s life.
Mozart, with his musical maturity, invented a particular style and began to exploit new musical means. The success of Idoménée (1781) gave him the favors of the Salzburg court until the repeated quarrels with the archbishop forced him to leave for Vienna.
Helped by some friends, he hoped to live there by giving lessons, and concerts
by subscriptions. It was at this time that the Emperor of Austria, Joseph II, commissioned him a new Singspiel in German. Mozart, inspired by the then-popular turqueries, composed L’Enlèvement au serail in 1782, the year in which he finally married Aloysia’s sister, Constance Weber.

When he arrived in Vienna everything was fine. The subscriptions were full, thanks to the kindness of Baron van Swietten, who was his friend until the end of life
of Mozart. Little by little, the lack of interest in Mozart’s music took hold and the couple began to have serious financial difficulties.
In collaboration with the great librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte, Mozart was finally able to give
the full extent of his talent with operas such as The Marriage of Figaro (1786), Don Juan (1787) and Cosi fan tutte (1790). Once again, love is at the rendezvous of Mozart’s operas.

Canova sculptor of the 18th century immortalized the theme in “Psyche revived by the kiss of love”.
If Don Juan’s success in Prague was resounding, Mozart continued to suffer from Viennese indifference and cabals mounted against him by his colleagues like Antonio Saliéri. Only an imperial commission, the opera seria Clemence of Titus (1791), on a libretto of Metastasio, gave Mozart a little hope.
While working on a new Singspiel on a magical theme, The Magic Flute (1791), Mozart received a visit from a man dressed in black who commissioned him a requiem. He left unfinished this ultimate and dark work. On the night of November 20, he suddenly feels very tired. Constance summons the doctor immediately. Dr. Klosset considers that his condition is serious. Swelling in the hands and feet suggests kidney disease. Mozart’s state of health rapidly worsened, and Dr. Klosset sought the advice of Dr. Sallaba, Chief Medical Officer of the General Hospital. He visits Mozart on November 28th and considers that the disease is no longer curable. Mozart has only 7 days to live. He died in Vienna on December 5, 1791.

As everyone knows, Mozart was buried in a mass grave, but not thrown away. At the time, in the mass graves, we buried 16 people,
by row of four bodies, out of four. The pits were turned every ten years, and the gravedigger who buried Mozart in 1791 recovered his skull in 1801.
His last symphonies were created under the direction of his pupil Franz Xaver Süssmayr (1766-1803), who completed the composition of the Requiem.1
His untimely death did not prevent Mozart from becoming one of the most famous musicians in the world. The quantitative (more than 600 works) and qualitative importance of Mozartian music demonstrated an immense power of imagination and this, from its
younger age.

He has approached all genres with talent: symphonies, chamber music, works for pianoforte and concertos, but also vocal music, religious works, not forgetting of course the opera. He composed with a puzzling ease and often without correcting his scores, his first intuition being often the best. His work has synthesized the Italian lightness and contrapuntal know-how of the Germans.
Moving from lightness to gravity, concertos are beautiful examples of contrasts and rich colors.
In his operas, Mozart has created real characters, human and fragile; For the first time in the history of the opera, they are also engaged works like “The Marriage of Figaro” after the play of Beaumarchais, or “The magic flute” opera Masonic and not a simple entertainment as it is often believes. Between strength and tenderness, between gaiety and tragedy, Mozart’s language is universal.

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