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Other Side Drive: Wednesday Segments

todayFebruary 6, 2013

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-Danny Recio

EP2 Revolutions

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a name most of the western world

recognizes. The man behind this name is one of the most cherished

musicians in history. January 27th marked Mozart’s two-hundred and fifty-

seventh birthday. Born in Salzburg, Austria to a successful violinist and

composer, Leopold Mozart; Mozart was pushed into music at an early age

by his father. He began at three by mimicking his sister as she practiced.

His father soon began to teach him and soon it was obvious that Mozart

had a gift, even with his father’s guidance; that devoted a lot of time to the

education of his children. By age six Mozart began performing all over

Europe as a child prodigy with his sister. During his trips he was exposed

to many members of high society and other great musicians; one of which

was Sebastian Bach whom would become a heavy musical influence

throughout Mozart’s life.

The performances and exposure to such great artists were helping

build Mozart into the great composer he would become. By the time he was

21 he had already composed a number of: symphonies, string quartets,

sonatas, serenades and operas. He would then go onto compose the Piano

Concerto Number 9 in E flat major. At this point Mozart was the assistant

concert master in Salzburg but he was then summoned to Vienna by the

Archbishop. He was becoming discontent with his position in Salzburg but

he did not receive the attention he hoped for when he arrived in Vienna.

The Archbishops hospitality was a bit cold. He was treated more as a

servant than a guest and so after a dispute Mozart offered to resign and

the Archbishop at first refused but then had immediately removed. Without

work Mozart decided to stay in Vienna and began taking on pupils, writing

music, and playing a few concerts.

In 1782 Mozart married Constanze Weber. His father greatly

disapproved of their union but eventually gave his blessing. They had six

kids but only two sons survived infancy. Mozart found European fame with

the composition of the opera Die Entfuhrung. He began to make

considerable money from performances and the publication of his music

and his family now enjoyed a very comfortable lifestyle. With more

freedom Mozart began focusing on performing self-produced concerts as a

soloist; he would organize a number of performances sometimes in

unconventional places such as large rooms of apartment buildings and

ballrooms of expensive restaurants. The success would not last for too

long and Mozart would begin to fall on financial problems again. Until his

collaboration with Lorenzo Da Ponte the Venetian composer and poet; with

him Mozart would compose two of his most important works The Marriage of

Figaro and Don Giovanni. Both are some of the most recognizable operatic

works. They were hailed for their complexity and focus on ensemble.

Mozart went on never fully reaching his initial fame. He published

many more works but they did not see the same success. Mozart died at

the age of 35. This was young, even for the time. It is unclear what exactly

the cause of death was but many historians believe it was acute rheumatic

fever; which he suffered from throughout his life. He was not given a public

memorial and was buried in a commoner’s grave. This was the Viennese

custom at the time. Only nobility and aristocrats were given public

memorials and marked graves.

Mozart was highly regarded as a musician and composer during his

lifetime; but he did not receive the great deal of praise or claim until after

his death. It was not until he had become a permanent fixture in history that

we were able to look upon the mantle of his work and appreciate his true

genius. Mozart was a devoted artist putting so much of his life into his work

even when it did not mean a great deal of fame or money was guaranteed.

His influence has reached far beyond classical music and into the musical

consciousness of even today. Mozart has become as much a part of music

as he has history.

 

 

 

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