Tuesday Jan 27, 1756 to Wednesday May 11, 1791
EuropeWolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791), baptised as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical period.
At the age of five, he was already composing little pieces, which he played to his father who wrote them down, these early pieces, K. 1–5, were recorded in the Nannerl Notenbuch. There is some scholarly debate about whether Mozart was four or five years old when he created his first musical compositions, though there is little doubt that Mozart composed his first three pieces of music within a few weeks of each other: K. 1a, 1b, and 1c.
The same year in October Leopold brought both kids off to Vienna. This great city, just as it is today, was the beating heart of music in Austrian lands. The youngsters were once again heard by the powers that were and invited to play at the Viennese court, which they did on 13 October.
The family set out in the early summer of 1763 and visited Wasserburg on their way to Munich, from where Leopold wrote that Mozart had started to play the organ, as soon as Leopold had explained briefly what they did, Mozart was off playing as if he had been practicing for several months.
On 18 November Mozart arrived at Paris. His family and he would end up living there for 5 months. The family was allowed to live in Rue St Antoine in the home of Count Maximilian Emanuel Franz von Eyck and gave a concert for Louis XV on 1 January 1764. The Mozart 's reputation followed them and they were fed by the aristocracy everywhere they went.
A momentous event for classical music occurred in Paris in 1764. In five movements, a violin sonata was published: the first was fast; the second was slow; two minuets followed, followed by a final fast movement. An eight-year-old Mozart had switched from actor to composer. His first recorded music was this, his Opus 1.
Mozart, the boy wondered, enchanted anyone who was everyone from noblemen to royalty. Leopold revealed his attention and was also no doubt grateful for the hard cash produced by his offspring. The King presented him with music from Wagenseil, Bach, Abel and Handel and at first sight he played them all. He played the King's own organ so well, that people said that playing his organ was better than playing his piano. He then accompanied the Queen in a poem, and the flute player in a piece of flute and piano.
Leopold moved his family to recover from a chill and sore throat caught at an open-air concert at the house of the Earl of Thanet in Grosvenor Square, here on 5 August 1764. A blue plaque commemorates their stay. Mozart wrote his first two symphonies, K16 and K19, to keep himself busy.
Nannerl was ill with intestinal typhoid as a result, Mozart was forced to play his first ever solo concert. All went well. He also published six violin sonatas. By now, and no doubt with some encouragement from his father, he had already taught himself to play the instrument.
Wolfgang had shown the first smallpox symptoms. Because of the incubation time of the disease (about 12 days), it can be known that he had already contracted it in Vienna, Leopold called Doctor Wolff and Mozart was told to rest for at least a few months, he was so sick that he could see nothing for nine days and had to spare his eyes for several weeks after his recovery, Mozart was much better in December and the family mooted.
Leopold attempted to set his son up as an opera composer. He was working on a proposed order from Emperor Joseph II that the young boy should write an opera, rival musicians were not eager for a preteen composer to upstage himself. There were reports that the opera was a sham — that the work was really composed by Leopold, not Wolfgang. The premiere was repeatedly postponed. Finally, Leopold gave up and took his son back to Salzburg, and the opera, where the score was first performed the following year.
The world of Mozart was evolving, very dramatically. He was assigned the Konzertmeister post to court in Salzburg. Though the position came without pay, it's hard to overestimate the importance of this opportunity. This was a 13-year-old boy given the job as a composer and conductor to the archbishop-prince of one of the Holy Roman Empire 's main principalities.
Mozart went on tours of Italy as a teenager, accompanied by his father. During the first of these, Leopold and Wolfgang visited Rome (1770), where Pope Clement XIV conferred on Wolfgang the Order of the Golden Spur, a kind of honorary knighthood. Mozart earned his official insignia the next day, consisting of "a golden cross on a red sash, sword, and spurs," indicative of honorary knighthood.
Mozart began working on his recitations in October 1770, The opening night at the Teatro Regio Ducal on 26 December, with Mozart conducting himself, was an even better experience, The opera was called Mitridate, rè di Ponto. It is now overshadowed by the later operatic work of Mozart, and is rarely performed today as a result.
In late October Mozart and Leopold left for Milan and arrived in early November. Their reason for traveling was to begin rehearsals for the new opera commissioned the year before.t was called Lucio Silla, and it was released on Boxing Day. Initially it performed really well, notching up 20 performances in its first month.
The person singing the lead role in Lucio Silla was a castrato named Venanzio Rauzzini in his late 20s. Mozart was especially fascinated with him, and he wrote him a three-movement motet, 'Exsultate, jubilate,' which women sopranos generally sing these days. To both composer and artist the last movement was a bit of a show-off. Mozart gave himself the challenge of setting only one term for the entire campaign, "Alleluia." Rauzzini would have loved it with its fast-paced and amazingly catchy vocal line. This was first heard on 17 January; at the Theatine Church in Milan in 1773. Exsultate, jubilate, for Mozart, is an important piece and one of the few pieces he wrote before adulthood that has remained among his most popular works.
Mozart paired with the grand old man of the world of libretto, the 74-year-old poet Metastasio. This wasn't an opera, this wasn't an oratorio, it was a 'dramatic serenade' that was performed successfully on May 1 of that year at the enthronement. Sadly, while it was definitely of high quality and certainly significant at the period, it has not survived the test of time to claim a place in the general repertoire.
Mozart wrote the bassoon concerto at the age of 18, and it was his first concerto for a wind instrument. In this piece, Mozart gave his bassoon soloist a real run-out on the instrument, with fast, florid passages that are still something of a challenge today, never mind the much more unfavourable 1770s instrument.
The resulting work, when a commission came from Munich that year, Lafinta giardiniera (an opera buffa) is yards more accomplished than his former comic work, Lafinta semplice. Naturally it also offered a justification for Mozart to leave Salzburg. On 6 December the same year, he and his father arrived in Munich to attend the rehearsals of the new opera.
Siegmund Haffner, approached them with a request for music for his sister’s wedding, Mozart happily obliged. Hard as we might imagine today, the resulting Haffner Serenade was planned to be played at Marie Elisabeth Haffner 's wedding on July 21, 1776 for talking, cooking, drinking guests. Once again, the Haffner Serenade is one of Mozart 's early achievements — a brilliant work, full of complexity and imagination, despite receiving little attention from the audience at its first performance.
1777 marked the beginning of a very long departure from Salzburg life. Mozart became deeply dissatisfied with his hometown and again requested leave. He became so irritated by yet another offer for leave that he dismissed both Mozart and Leopold, while Mozart agreed to leave in a pointedly laconic manner anyway. As a result, a carriage was hired and he set off — without his father but this time with his mother — on 23 September and left first for Munich and then for Augsburg.
Mozart met his distant cousin, Maria Anna Thekia, whom he affectionately nicknamed "Bäsle," while in Augsburg. She seems to have shared the sense of humour with Mozart and they soon became good friends, maybe even lovers. His letters to her indicate an transformation in him that shows he was more like every other 21-year-old in that respect. He finally ripped himself away from Basle and moved on to Mannheim with his mother.
He and his mother moved on to Mannheim, became pleasant with the Mannheim musicians, did some teaching and playing, accepted and partially fulfilled a flute music commission from a German surgeon, and fell in love with Aloysia Weber, a soprano, the second of four daughters of a music copyist. He has also written numerous sonatas for piano, some with violin. He put a scheme to his father for traveling with the naive and reckless Webers to Italy, and met with an angry response from Leopald.
Idomeneo's first dress rehearsal was coinciding with the 25th birthday of Mozart. His father Leopold had arrived with Nannerl in Munich sometime between then and the premiere. The first night-the only fair night-went really well. Mozart had achieved the popularity he had wished for, but for another 5 years the opera would not be performed again.
In the spring of 1778 Mozart eventually pushed himself away from Mannheim, arriving in Paris at the beginning of April, even though Mozart obtained a commission from the Paris Opéra for some incidental ballet music. He worked on Les petits riens in the month of May, and he saw it performed on 11 June. He was especially badly treated during this time by the Duchess of Chabot, who seemed to view him as nothing more than a hired hand, playing for her art class while she and her guests ignored his performances.
A 16-year-old composer arrived at Vienna on 7 April 1787 newly. He was already acquainted with Mozart 's music by all accounts, and was excited to meet him. It's said he was playing music with him and he also had some lessons from him, probably. the name of the young composer was Ludwig van Beethoven.
The composer was called to Vienna the following March, where his employer, Archbishop Colloredo, participated in the festivities for Joseph II 's accession to the Austrian throne. Mozart, fresh from his adulation in Munich, was offended when Colloredo regarded him as a mere servant, and particularly when the archbishop forbade him to perform at Countess Thun's before the Emperor for a fee equal to half of his annual Salzburg salary. In May, the ensuing quarrel reached a head, Mozart attempted to withdraw and was rejected. Permission was granted the following month but the composer was dismissed in a grossly insulting manner, administered by the steward of the archbishop, Count Arco. Mozart decided to settle in Vienna as a freelance performer and a composer.
After Mannheim, she had been unwell, complaining of a sore throat and ear infections, and while she was keen for them to move on, Leopold declined to countenance her return home, to recover there. Things quickly got worse in Paris. She began suffering from chills and a fever along with constant headaches and died on July 3.
The only thing that brightened up for Mozart in 1779 had been a commission for a new opera from Munich. He was now 24. Idomeneo, who was now resident in Munich, had come as a commission from the Bavarian elector. Mozart had probably finished the recitations before he left home. Then he would have traveled to Munich to complete the arias only after meeting with the singers and practicing. Mozart was always keen to hear how a person would sing before he wrote them an aria.
Mozart was infamous enough to be challenged to a duel by December. Another pianist had arrived in town, Clementi himself was a supremely respected pianist, and was invited to court on this occasion as part of the general merrymaking surrounding the presence of the Grand Duke and Duchess of Russia. Mozart and Clementi were asked to become musical gladiators for the amusement of the court, and participated in a piano virtuosity contest, Mozart got off best and this certainly made his name the power of good.
In 1783 Mozart and his wife were in Salzburg visiting his family. His father and sister were kind to Constanze, however the visit inspired one of Mozart 's great liturgical pieces, the Mass in C minor, to be written. It was premiered in Salzburg, though incomplete, with Constanze singing a solo role.
Constanze gave birth to a baby boy named Raimund Leopold, but the Mozarts took a trip to Salzburg to see Leopold, leaving Raimund Leopold in Vienna as a young infant. Their son died when they were away, so the Mozarts left for Vienna.
Mozart met Joseph Haydn in Vienna around 1784, and the two composers became friends. When Haydn visited Vienna, they sometimes played together in an impromptu string quartet. Mozart's six quartets dedicated to Haydn (K. 387, K. 421, K. 428, K. 458, K. 464, and K. 465) date from the period 1782 to 1785.
Constanze delivered their second child, Karl Thomas, on September 21. Karl Thomas will live to the ripe old age of 74, unlike his brother Raimund. His parents moved house very early in his childhood, again. This time it was to the Domgasse which was much more salubrious. And salubriousness brought expense with it, with the flat costing a staggering 450 gilder a year for the Mozarts.
On 14 December 1784, Mozart became a Freemason, admitted to the lodge Zur Wohltätigkeit ("Beneficence"). Freemasonry played an essential role in the remainder of Mozart's life: he attended meetings, a number of his friends were Masons, and on various occasions, he composed Masonic music, e.g. the Maurerische Trauermusik.
Mozart stepped away from keyboard writing around the end of 1785, and started his famous operatic partnership with the librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte. In 1786 the popular premiere of The Marriage of Figaro was celebrated in Vienna. Later in the year its reception in Prague was even warmer.
In January 1786, Mozart had taken on a new commission for opera. Without doubt his decision was motivated by the appeal that came from the emperor himself, in memory of the sister of the emperor. The welcome sum of 50 ducats was given him by Emperor Joseph II itself. In addition, Mozart produced an opera, called The Impresario.
Friedrich Wilhelm II offered him the post of chief Kapellmeister in Berlin, on a salary that could almost certainly have put an end to his financial issues. The response Mozart gave was to turn it down. He wrote to a friend, saying: "I do like Vienna… the Emperor is good to me and I’m not particularly bothered about money".
Mozart fell ill while in Prague for the premiere, on 6 September 1791, of his opera La clemenza di Tito, which was written in that same year on commission for the Emperor's coronation festivities, His health deteriorated on 20 November, at which point he became bedridden, suffering from swelling, pain, and vomiting.
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 was nursed in his final illness by his wife and her youngest sister and was attended by the family doctor, Thomas Franz Closset. He was mentally occupied with the task of finishing his Requiem, the cause of Mozart's death cannot be known with certainty, Mozart died in his home on 5 December 1791 (aged 35) at 12:55 am.