Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was an Austrian composer, piano- and violin virtuoso. Today, many people regard him as the most significant and popular artist in the history of classical music. Despite his early death, he created an extensive collection of compositions, which enjoys great popularity among classical music lovers around the world.

Musical work

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in 1756 as son of the musician Leopold Mozart in Salzburg. Since his father encouraged Wolfgang’s talent intensively, his exceptional abilities became obvious very early: at the age of 4 years, he was already playing the piano, a year later he started writing his first own compositions. Soon the virtuoso also learned to play the violin.

At the age of 6, his parents already started travelling with their “Wunderkind“ Mozart to visit the courts of the aristocratic society. Widely known is his visit to the Empress Maria Theresia, who was as deeply impressed by his virtuoso performance as the other audience that Mozart was entertaining on his international trip throughout Europe. Mozart intensively learned the art of composing by precisely studying the works of other composers, and already wrote further piano compositions and symphonies at age 8 in London.

After Mozart had become an adult and could not benefit from his status as a "Wunderkind" anymore, it took him long to find a permanent employment. Also his first major success with the opera "La finta giardiniera", which had its premiere in Munich in 1775, or the opera "Il re pastore” could not change anything about this situation. Not until four years later he was appointed court organist and concertmaster in Salzburg. In subsequent years, Mozart celebrated his greatest success especially in Prague with masterpieces like "Idomeneo", "The Abduction from the Seraglio", "The Marriage of Figaro", "Don Giovanni", "Cosi fan Tutte", "La clemenza di Tito" or "The Magic Flute". Yet, despite these achievements, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had to deal with serious financial difficulties resulting from his lavish lifestyle.

In 1791 the composer became seriously ill. Mozart’s last work "Requiem", the order of which he had accepted shortly before he died at age 35, could not be finished entirely by himself. The piece was finally completed by his students Joseph Eybler and Franz Xaver Süßmayr.

Importance of Mozart’s oeuvre

Mozart's oeuvre includes over 1.000 works, of which especially the numerous operas enjoy huge popularity today. In addition, his 17 masses and over 50 symphonies emphasize Mozart’s particular importance as a central personality in the history of classical music. The reason why we know as much about the composer, are the numerous letters between him and his family. Moreover, also the Mozarteum in Salzburg contributed to today’s extensive knowledge about Mozart, as they have been conducting research activities since 1841.

Mozart's art is particularly characterized by the combination of the different styles of that time, which Mozart put together and merged into a new approach to composing. Thereby he managed to create a connection between the “seemingly light, catchy, and the musically difficult, demanding” in his music. After Mozart’s death, especially Beethoven and most musicians of the 19th century picked up his compositional techniques.

Most significant works (Selection):

KV 196 – „La finta giardiniera“
KV 366 – “Idomeneo“
KV 384 – „Die Entführung aus dem Serail“ (“The Abduction from the Seraglio“)
KV 492 – “Le nozze di Figaro“ (“The Marriage of Figaro”)
KV 525 – “Eine kleine Nachtmusik”
KV 527 – “Don Giovanni”
KV 588 – “Così fan tutte”
KV 620 – “Die Zauberflöte” (“The Magic Flute“)
KV 621 – “La clemenza di Tito” (“The Clemency of Titus”)
KV 626 – Requiem Mass in D minor (“Requiem”)