Dec 28, 2020
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Facts about the life and work of Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is one of the greatest composers of the classical period, whose life and work has left an indelible mark on history. Although the musician lived a relatively short life, his talent manifested itself in early childhood, and over 35 years of his existence, he really changed our world. Surprisingly, even after almost 270 years, many interesting facts have survived about him.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

  1. The famous artist was born on January 27, 1756 in Salzburg, in modern Austria, and at birth was baptized by Johann Chrysostom Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart. The first 2 names were given to him in honor of the saint, and the name “Theophilus” in Greek means “beloved by God.” Being multilingual, Mozart often adapted his name to other languages, and since 1770 preferred to be called Amadeo (the Latin equivalent of Theophilus).
  2. His father Leopold also composed music and wrote a violin textbook, but was primarily a musician to the Prince Archbishop of Salzburg.
  3. Mozart’s parents had 6 children, but only Wolfgang and his older sister survived infancy. Maria Anna, who was 5 years older than her brother, was also gifted and performed at a young age with him as a duet. When Maria Anna came of age, Leopold forbade her to play music in public, considering it inappropriate.
  4. Amadeus, like many creative people, was left-handed. It is assumed that left-handers are generally more creative than right-handers.

Mozart family

  1. At 3 years old, Mozart attended his sister’s lessons, who was learning to play the clavier (a stringed keyboard instrument such as a harpsichord or piano). Already at that time he liked music, he listened to it and tapped it to the beat.
  2. By the age of 6, he completely mastered playing the clavier and had already begun composing small fragments of musical compositions, and after 2 years he wrote the first symphony.
  3. Amadeus was the most famous child prodigy of that era. While his peers were just learning to write and read, the boy already knew how to masterfully play keyboard instruments and compose musical works.
  4. Having met the 7-year-old Wolfgang, the German writer Goethe compared his genius with Shakespeare’s and said that Mozart’s works would last for a very long time and leave their mark on history. The Austrian composer Joseph Haydn, who for some time was the mentor of Mozart and Beethoven, had a similar opinion: “Before God and as an honest man I say: this is the greatest composer I have ever met.”
  5. Throughout his life, Wolfgang wrote more than 600 works, which were subsequently included in the Köchel catalog. The last in the catalog is the famous Requiem under number K. 626, which Count Franz von Walsegg ordered anonymously for his wife’s funeral (the Count wanted to pass off the creation as his own). Amadeus himself felt that the requiem would be for him, and so it happened: the musician died without finishing the work. The composer’s youngest son Franz Xaver was able to complete it, and already in its finished form it sounded at the funeral of Mozart, as well as at the reburial of Napoleon I in 1840 and at the funeral of Frederic Chopin in 1848.

Mozart's unfinished requiem

  1. Wolfgang’s childhood was not cloudless. The boy lived with constant pressure from his parents, especially his father. He believed that his son must achieve success at all costs, and forced him to constantly study. Rather than socializing and playing with peers, Mozart, at Leopold’s insistence, embarked on long, grueling tours that brought the family a profit. When the guy grew up and decided to leave his father’s care, he was angry and upset. He believed that his son had abandoned them with his mother, and was sure that Wolfgang would not be able to achieve anything on his own. There are controversies in scientific circles: some believe that Leopold exploited and manipulated his son, others say that he was driven by an excessive desire to make his son a celebrity.
  2. Amadeus had a phenomenal memory and hearing. He could listen to music only once, and then record it from memory without errors. So, traveling with his father to Rome, he heard Allegri’s “Plea for forgiveness” in the Sistine Chapel, and then deciphered it by ear and on the same day recorded it, creating an unauthorized copy of the work.
  3. Amadeus had a rather simple appearance without the hallmarks of other geniuses, such as Beethoven’s high forehead, Spinoza’s wide dark eyes, or Einstein’s head of curly hair. One co-worker described Mozart as “a remarkably small man, very thin and pale, with blond hair.” An early biographer added that “there was nothing special about his physique. He was small, and his face, with the exception of the eyes, showed no signs of genius. ” Wolfgang compensated for his inconspicuous appearance with fashion preferences, often wearing bright crimson coats and a gold cocked hat.

Wolfgang Mozart

  1. He never received a formal education, which means he was uneducated. Wolfgang was raised and trained by his father, who focused on music. As a result, the guy had extraordinary talent in the music business, but in all other respects he was completely inept. This strange duality is clearly seen in the commentary by a contemporary of Mozart, the violinist Karl Holst: “Apart from his talent as a composer, Amadeus was insignificant.”
  2. Wolfgang was a rebel at the time. The fact is that the artists of that era were usually treated like servants: they did not have the right to speak with the nobles, so after the concerts they dined in the kitchen with the rest of the servants. Mozart, due to his stubborn nature and vanity, refused to behave like a servant. For example, at one event of high society, the composer, who was not supposed to mix with noble guests, caused a scandal by brazenly striking up a conversation with the Russian ambassador. The father tried his best to settle the situation, but Wolfgang did not want to apologize, and ultimately they were literally kicked out of von Colloredo’s house. Subsequently, Mozart became one of the first musicians in history to embark on an independent career without the help of a church, court or wealthy patron.
  3. Mozart, like other members of his family, had a strange sense of humor, which manifested itself in the use of dirty words. The man often showed his unusually infantile sense of humor in letters to relatives and friends. Also in his speech beautiful words sounded with sudden outbursts of vulgar platitudes. This, to a certain extent, served as the basis for the theory that the maestro suffered from Tourette’s syndrome, in which involuntary swearing escapes from people.

Mozart's strange sense of humor

  1. At the age of 21, the young man fell in love with the German opera singer Aloisia Weber and proposed to her. At that time, the young artist had relatively little to offer, since he did not yet have a permanent job and position in society. The girl said she would think about it, but a little later she married another, more successful man. The enraged Mozart sat down at the piano and released a spiteful melody, which supposedly sounded the lyrics “whoever doesn’t want me can lick my ass.” And later he took and married the younger sister of Aloysius Constanta.
  2. In 1770, Pope Clement XIV awarded Mozart with the Order of the Golden Spur for numerous religious writings, a papal order of chivalry, which is awarded to people who have contributed to the glory of the Church.
  3. Mozart probably had obsessive-compulsive disorder – a disease in which a person becomes obsessed with objects, certain thoughts and ideas. So, he experienced an abnormal fear about his wife, worrying that something might happen to her while he was not at home. At times, because of his fears, he asked Constance not to go out. The maestro also had an obsession that his wife would drown in the bathroom. One note said: “I beg you to take a bath only every other day and only for an hour. But if you want me to feel completely calm, then do not swim at all until I return again. “

Mozart with his wife

  1. Apparently, Mozart loved mathematics and even used the principle of the Golden Section in his compositions. It can be seen in piano sonatas or in some acts of operas such as Act II “Cosi fan Tutti”. The first movement of Sonata No.1 in C major contains 100 measures, which are ideally divided into two parts – 38 measures in the first and 62 measures in the second (ratio 0.618; same as the golden ratio). This pattern is absent in every work, but it is present too often to be a mere coincidence. By the way, other artists also used the principle of the Golden Section.
  2. Unlike Chopin, who liked to use unconventional fingerings in his compositions, or Beethoven, who deliberately changed pieces to make them more difficult to play, Mozart appreciated correct fingering, smooth and flexible performance. He didn’t like technical virtuosity, which was just an excuse for bragging.
  3. In popular culture, the eminent maestro is often depicted as a poor starving artist. It is indeed a fact that Mozart, as an adult, constantly asked for money from friends, patrons and publishers. But it turns out that he was not poor at all. At that time, Amadeo earned 1,000 florins a year, and the upper class spent about 450 florins! The musician lived in luxury, dressed extravagantly, kept servants, traveled extensively, drank a lot, and gambled for large sums of money. It was because of his penchant for squandering that Wolfgang had to ask for a loan.

House of Mozart

  1. After being fired, the musician could not find a permanent job and he needed to end the waste, but he continued to spend as before. In the end, Amadeus collected debts for future earnings, many of which he never paid, because he died young. After her husband’s death, Constanta sold her manuscripts for years and held memorial concerts to pay all the bills. She was also helped by a survivor’s pension provided by the Austrian government.
  2. Listening to Wolfgang’s music can improve IQ. This phenomenon, called the “Mozart Effect”, was first studied in 1993. In the course of research, it was found that when people listen to melodies, brain activity increases and all parts of the cerebral cortex work. In addition, if you include it to a child from an early age, then he will develop faster, and his level of intelligence will be higher.
  3. During the last year of his life, Mozart was quite healthy and active, but then suddenly died due to illness. At that time he was 35 years old. No one is really sure about the exact cause of the premature death. The most credible theory is that kidney failure is caused by severe, infectious sore throat. Interestingly, Amadeo’s lifelong rival Antonio Salieri claimed to have poisoned the maestro, but this was never tested and was considered a “duck.”

  1. No one is sure where Mozart’s body is. He was buried according to the custom of that time in a simple grave, and then the rule was in force: the grave was guaranteed only for 10 years, after which the city had the right to dig up the body, dispose of the remains and reuse the land. Since that is what happened, the gravestone at St. Mark’s Cemetery in Vienna, which can be found today, only shows the approximate location of the original burial.
  2. The Magic Flute was Amadeus’s last opera and premiered on September 30, 1791, about 3 months before his death. The author himself directed the orchestra, and the librettist Emanuel Schikaneder played the role of Papageno.
  3. The monument to Mozart stands in Salzburg – his hometown. The 3 m high statue was made in 1842 by Ludwig Schwanthaler and opened in the presence of the composer’s sons.

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