The Work of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
- Written by Nathan Drake
Wolfgang Amadeaus Mozart was a dominant figure of the classical era. Born January 27th, 1756 to Leopold and Anna Maria Pertl Mozart who had seven children however only Mozart and Mozart's sister, Maria, survived. Mozart is considered to be one of the greatest composers in musical history and is widely recognized. Deemed a child prodigy at age 5, he began his journey composing minuets and performing before European royalty. As Mozart grew up he only became more proficient with his skills perfecting a style and form.
Salzburg, Austria is where Mozart spent his childhood with his father Leopold being a heavy influence on him in his early days. Leopold was an assistant choir director and taught his children not only music, but academics as well. Mozart was not pushed and made his own efforts to further advance himself with music. With Mozart being the prodigy he was, the whole family made several European journeys. Leopold thought it wise to showcase his son's talent for establishing him as a performer. The journeys where often rough and conditions terrible, wearing on the family. A break was taken in their hometown of Salzburg for a year before Leopold and Mozart left for Italy, this time leaving his mother and sister behind. It was towards the end of this Italian journey that Mozart wrote a piece still widely performed today, the solo motet Exsultate, jubilate.
Mozart’s best known works where done in his late stage between 1781 and 1791. Four famous Operas where done with in this time, "Abduction from the Seraglio" 1782, "The Marriage of Fifaro" 1786, "Don Giovanni” 1787, and "The Magic Flute" 1791. He also started, but did not finish three church pieces, Ave Verum Corpus, Mass in C Minor, and Requiem. It proved to be a time of great productivity even though it was during this time his final illness struck and on December 5th 1791, Mozart passed away. Mozart has composed over 600 works. His works vary between many different types of pieces including opera, symphonies, violin concertos, masses, piano concertos, and more. This made Mozart versatile as he could easily write in every major genre. Even though these genres where not new, Mozart breathed a new sophisticated light into them. During Mozart's time, European music was dominated by a style galant. Galant music basically simplified composing techniques and was considered to be more city music than court. Galant was the opposite of Baroque which focused on more elaborate compositions. Baroque emerged once again in even newer forms through Mozart. Mozart's travels not only as a young kid with his father Leopold, but even in adulthood, allowed for him to take in and adapt valuable features of other’s music. Often, Mozart's work stood out from typical classical style but the central traits where still there. Clarity, balance, and transparency are all trademarks of his works.
Ludwig van Beethoven was heavily influenced by Mozart. Beethoven was aware and knew much of Mozart's work, basing much of his own compositions on several of Mozart’s. Part of Mozart's 40th symphony was even adapted into Beethoven's own 5th symphony. Not only Beethoven was influenced, Mozart was idolized by composers Richard Wagner and Peter Tchaikovsky of the late nineteenth century. Weber and Wagner's German operas where also strongly influenced by Mozart’s piece the "The Magic Flute". Many classical musicians still use his works as a standard in training. Past or present, Mozart’s work was beautifully crafted and timeless, to be cherished by all generations.
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