Plunk! hung low, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart walked out

Plunk! Plunk! Plunk! A three year old boy stood at the clavier- a type of piano- and was playing a beautiful melody. Just then, his older sister walked into the room and told him that it was time for her lessons- he would have to play another time. Sadly, with his head hung low, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart walked out of the room not knowing that he would very soon change the world with his chubby little fingers.                                                                                 Birth, Childhood and FamilyLeopold Mozart was pacing the room, hoping with all his heart that this baby would survive.  Only Maria Anna had survived out of the past 6. If this baby- who was nearing his first birthday- didn’t survive, his wife wouldn’t be able to bear it. Johann Chrysostom Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on January 27th , 1756.

He was baptized as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, but came to be known in his family as Wolferl- a nickname. He and his sister were 2 out of the 7 children Leopold Mozart and Anna Pertl Mozart had, which made him very lucky. Anna was from a middle class family that were local community leaders. His father was a successful assistant concertmaster, violinist and composer. This led to an early start at music for Wolferl and Nannerl (the nickname his sister had). Leopold started teaching Nannerl at the age of 7 while Mozart looked on.

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Soon, Leopold began to realize how good Wolferl understood chords, tonality and tempo so he started teaching him too. Leopold excepted hard work and perfection, but he made the lessons fun. Leopold realized that he could make Mozart perform and earn money from doing so.

This was why Nannerl and Wolferl went on many tours as child prodigies- very talented children. Wolfgang and his family usually fell ill on these trips due to traveling in primitive conditions on long and often harsh trips.  On one of these trips, Mozart met Johann Christian Bach (son of Johann Sebastian Bach) in London. In 1763, his family went on an extended tour to Munich, Augsburg, Stuttgart, Mannheim, Mainz, Frankfurt, Brussels and Paris. On the way back, they came through The Hague, Amsterdam, Paris, Lyon and Switzerland. They arrived in Salzburg again in 1766.

                                          As a Young AdultIn 1770 and most of 1771, Wolfgang and his father toured Italy:  the “birthplace of opera”. In 1772, after the Mozarts returned home, Archbishop Hieronymus Colloredo- their new employer- started paying Wolfgang for his church music. In 1773, he got hired to be an assistant concertmaster. In this time he wrote different pieces of music such as: symphonies, sonatas, string quartets, serenades and a few operas. He also got interested in violin concertos and wrote the only 5 that he ever did write.  In 1776, Wolfgang started to become unhappy with his job and Salzburg, so he started slacking off. Because of his actions, he and his father got fired in 1777.

Mozart was finally set free to follow his own path. That same year, Wolferl and his mother to Munich, Paris and Mannheim where he frequently had to sell several valuable items to pay for traveling and living expenses. On this same trip, his mom died on July 3, 1778. After hearing about his wife’s death, Leopold arranged a new job for Mozart.

Reluctantly, Mozart came back to Salzburg soon after.Love-lifeIn 1777, Mozart fell in love with a 16 year old soprano singer named Aloysia Weber- daughter of Fridolin Weber.  They loved each other very much- so much that in 1778 Mozart asked for her hand in marriage shortly after his mother died. Sadly, Aloysia turned him down which in turn broke his already broken heart. Even after learning about all this, Fridolin was determined to keep Mozart in the family. She quickly arranged for her eldest daughter- Constanze- to marry Mozart.

Constanze was 20 at the time. Even though Mozart wasn’t widely known yet, Constanze was happy and eager to marry him. Too eager is what Leopold thought.

He thought marriage wasn’t a suitable choice for Mozart. Leopold continued to disapprove of Mozart’s choice of marriage, but it didn’t work. Mozart stuck with his decision. They got married on August 4, 1782.

Meanwhile, Leopold finally agreed for their marriage. Constanze and Mozart had 6 children of which only 2 survived past infancy. Their names were Karl Thomas and Frans Xavier.  AccomplishmentsAt the age of three, Mozart learnt how to play the clavier. When Wolfgang was 4, his father found him working on a sheet of music. Leopold thought they were just scribbles, but then he realized that it was a musical composition.

Mozart looked up and said, “…you must practice until you can get it right…”. Then, he played the song how it was supposed to be played.

By the time Mozart was 8, he could play 3 instruments. In total, Wolfgang wrote more than 600 works. Among these 600 were 41 symphonies, 27 piano concertos, 5 violin concertos, 27 concert arias, 23 string quartets, 18 masses and 22 operas.  Another accomplishment of his is that he learned how to play the harpsichord, violin, piano, organ and viola.

DeathDuring the summer of 1971, Mozart was in his room alone when a stranger in dark clothes wearing a dark hood entered into Mozart’s room. The stranger had an unsigned letter with him that requested him to write a requiem- a mass for the dead. The letter promised him a lot of money if he got the job done. What Mozart didn’t know was that the letter was from Franz Count von Walsegg. Franz’s wife had died in February and he wanted to have a requiem made in her memory. In the letter, Franz also requested for Mozart to not take credit for the requiem because Franz wanted it to look like he wrote it.

As for the stranger, he was a messenger Franz sent. For several months, Wolfgang worked on the requiem non-stop. His health was not good at this time, but he sacrificed what was left of it to finish the requiem (even though he didn’t). As he was working on the requiem, his health got worse and worse. Sometimes, he felt like he was writing the requiem for himself.

Wolfgang finally took to bed around November 20th. Soon, he wasn’t able to breath. By the beginning of December, he was in the middle of a terrible fever. On December 4, 1791 Mozart asked his family to sit with him.

They all sang different parts of his requiem. Wolfgang died on December 5, 1791. He was buried vaguely and privately at Vienna’s Saint Mark’s Cemetery the following day. No statue or stone marked where Mozart was buried. In 1842, a statute of Mozart was put up in his hometown- Salzburg. In 1856, 100 years after Mozart was born, there were big celebrations in Salzburg and Vienna. Karl Thomas was still alive and he was there for the festivals held in honor of his father.

Even now, centuries after his death, people think that he died from some sort of poisoning. The most popular theory being that his rival composer Antonio Salieri was the cause of his death. The truth was that the inflammatory disease of rheumatic fever was the cause of Mozart’s death. Wolfgang’s high fever, projectile vomiting and swollen hands and feet proved this to be true.

The sad thing is: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is more popular after his death than before.                                                                           Interesting Facts Although Mozart came from the Classical Period, he was actually very interesting. Two interesting things- especially for a musician- are that he was afraid of the trumpet and he was a leftie. When he was little, people used to not believe that he was actually a child. They used to think that he was a really small adult.

A man that was a lawyer and a musician decided to test him to see if he was actually a child. He made Mozart compose a song on the spot which he did amazingly. Next, he made him play a difficult song which Wolfgang also aced. Just then, a cat ran through the room and Mozart immediately got up to chase the cat. There was no doubt about it- Mozart was a child no matter what people thought. He just was like a mini adult when it came to anything related to music. Probably the most interesting- and the coolest- was that on September 11, 2001 choirs around the world sang Mozart’s requiem for 24 hours as a global effort to honor all the people that had died.

Finally, to wrap things up, I challenge you. I challenge you to teach others about Mozart. To recognize his beautiful songs and wonderful operas. He didn’t write just music. He wrote music that changed all of our lives. He was a talented and successful man  that went through the same sorrows and joys as us. He wasn’t- and still isn’t- a boring historical person. He was a prodigy.

That is why I want you to acknowledge that great prodigy that once lived. Acknowledge Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.


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