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Who is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart?

Who is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart?

Mozart was a child prodigy. At the age of three he began to play the piano with four violins and at five and a half gave his first public concert. His hearing was absolute. Even as a four-year-old he could hear when a violin was detuned by a quarter tone. At the age of twelve, Mozart composed three operas, six symphonies and hundreds of other works.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on January 27, 1756 in Salzburg. His father recognized early on the outstanding talent of his son and that could be earned with it.

From Mozart's sixth year, the family was almost constantly traveling. The little Wolfgang played together with his five year older sister Maria Anna - the Nannerl - at almost all European princely courts. Among the listeners in 1765 was the King of England. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, only a few years older than Mozart, heard the seven-year-old play in 1763 and was able to remember the "little man" with a powdered wig and sword in his old age. Mozart's repertoire included small pieces of art that his father had come up with, such as playing with hidden keys or playing the notes of all kinds of music that the audience brought with them.

The constant traveling and frequent appearances did not pass without a trace of Mozart. He was smaller than other children of his age and often ill, often even life threatening. In 1765 he fell ill with typhus, two years later with smallpox. Mozart's cheerful nature contributed much to his popularity. However, as the family was constantly on the road, he had little opportunity to play with other children or make friends.

In 1769 he became archiepiscopal court concertmaster in Salzburg. Then he and his father did the first trip to Italy. After passing the entrance examination, he was admitted to the Bologna Accademia de Filarmonica. Shortly thereafter Pope Clement XIV awarded him the Order "Knights of the Golden Spur".

Wolfgang and his father continued their trip to Italy in 1770, this led them back to Florence, Rome, Naples, Pompeii, Rimini and back to Milan. During this time Mozart composed the opera seria "Mitridate", which had a length of six hours. At the beginning of 1771, Mozart was appointed honorary bandmaster of the Accademia filarmonica di Verona. After a short stay in many smaller towns, he and his father returned to Salzburg, where he worked on sacred works and symphonies. On August they began their second trip to Italy, where Mozart wrote the played theatrical serenade "Ascanio in Alba", which premiered for the wedding of Archduke Ferdinand. Later they traveled back to Salzburg. In 1772 he was employed by Count Colloredo and worked at his request on the opera "Il sogno di Scipione". Then Mozart was appointed concertmaster of the court orchestra. He began work on the opera seria "Lucio Silla". Despite many tasks he did not feel well in Salzburg and went with his father on the third trip to Italy. In Milan, he finished his opera, where it was also premiered.

In 1773, Mozart returned to Salzburg for four years before embarking on another concert tour in August 1777, this time only in the company of his mother. On this trip he met 17-year-old Aloysia Weber, who had a promising future as an opera singer. Mozart fell in love with her. Since the family in Leopold's eyes was not wealthy enough, he forbade his son to marry.

Mozart continued to travel to Paris. But the novelty he had had as a prodigy had vanished. The Paris public was more interested in the feud between the composers Niccolò Piccinni and Christoph Willibald Gluck. When Mozart's mother died in 1778, the now 22-year-old returned to Salzburg and accepted a position as Court Organist of the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg.

Mozart did not stay long in his hometown. Soon enough, the restrictions imposed on him by his employer became too much for him. Mozart quit his service and was literally kicked out by the Prince-Archbishop's agonized chamberlain.

Mozart moved to Vienna and lived with Aloysia Weber's mother. Since Aloysia had married in the meantime, he transferred his love to her sister Constanze. The two married in 1782, although father Leopold was still against such a connection.

For that time Mozart earned a lot of money. He received royalties for compositions, performances and lessons. His three wealthiest students alone paid him about 700 gulden a year, which would be about 15,000 euros today. But neither Mozart nor his wife could handle money. They were therefore constantly in debt and lived on the brink of ruin.

Mozart's restlessness was another problem. He never stayed in one place for a long time, constantly needed variety. He moved nine times in a single year. He urgently needed a job at Hofe, which would have given him a steady income. This opportunity arose in 1787. Emperor Joseph II was a great admirer of his music. At court, however, preferred the Italian composer Antonio Salieri. Mozart was bitterly disappointed when the Emperor Salieri assigned the post of Kapellmeister, but he had to content himself with that of the "Kammermusicus" and write popular music.

Mozart also resigned from this position and tried to get by without a permanent job. The last years of his life were marked by poverty and high debts. Nevertheless, during this time he wrote some of his finest works, including "Don Giovanni" and "The Magic Flute."

At the end of November 1791 Mozart became seriously ill. A few days before his death, Hungarian nobles offered him an annual honor of 1,000 guilders, and Dutch music lovers even more a few days later. This money would have solved his financial problems, but it was too late. Mozart died on 5 December 1791.

Two years later, his first biographer Friedrich Schlichtegroll wrote: "Just as Mozart became a man early in his childhood, so in almost all other circumstances he remained a child." In life, Mozart often stood in his own way, dissatisfied and unhappy. His work, however, is of perfect beauty. He was one of the greatest composers who lived.