Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


Mozart was a child prodigy. He began playing the piano at the age of three, the violin at four, and gave his first public concert at five and a half. His ear was absolute. By the age of twelve, Mozart had composed three operas, six symphonies and hundreds of other works. The exceptional composer was born in Salzburg on 27 January 1756. His father recognised his son's outstanding talent early on and that there was money to be made from it. From Mozart's sixth year, the family was almost constantly on the road. In 1762, at the age of six, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart visited Munich for the first time and, together with his sister Nannerl, gave his first concerts before Elector Max III Joseph. Mozart's second visit followed a year later, in June 1763. The concert in Nymphenburg Palace before the Elector and the court remained unforgettable for Mozart. With his sister Nannerl, he also got to know the Amalienburg, the Badenburg and the Pagodenburg during this visit. The constant travelling and frequent appearances did not leave Mozart unscathed. He was smaller than other children his age and frequently ill, often to the point of death. Mozart's cheerful nature contributed much to his popularity. However, as the family was constantly on the move, he had little opportunity to play or make friends with other children. In 1769 he became the archbishop's court concertmaster in Salzburg. Until 1773 he made three extended concert tours to Italy. Mozart then returned to Salzburg for four years. The premiere of La finta giardiniera, an opera buffa in three acts, took place in Munich on 13 January 1775. In August 1777 he set off on another concert tour, this time accompanied only by his mother. On this trip he also met the 17-year-old Aloysia Weber, who had a promising future as an opera singer ahead of her. Mozart fell in love with the girl. As the family was not wealthy enough in father Leopold's eyes, he forbade his son to marry. Mozart continued his journey to Paris. When Mozart's mother died in 1778, the now 22-year-old returned to Salzburg and took a job as court organist. Mozart did not remain in his hometown for long. Soon the restrictions imposed on him by his employer became too much for him. Mozart resigned from his post. Mozart moved to Vienna and lived with Aloysia Weber's mother. Since Aloysia had married in the meantime, he transferred his love to her sister Constanze. The two married in 1782, although father Leopold remained opposed to such a union. As a freelance composer, the commission to write a new opera at Munich's Cuviliés Theatre came in handy for Mozart. Here, on 29 January 1781, the opera Idomeneo premiered. For the time, Mozart earned a relatively large amount of money. He received fees for compositions, performances and lessons. His three wealthiest pupils alone paid him about 700 guilders a year, which would correspond to about 15000 euros today. But neither Mozart nor his wife knew how to handle money. They were therefore constantly in debt and lived on the brink of ruin. Mozart's restlessness was another problem. He never stayed in one place for long, he constantly needed variety. He urgently needed a position at court that would have provided him with a regular income. This opportunity presented itself in 1787. Emperor Joseph II was a great admirer of his music. At court, however, the Italian composer Antonio Salieri was preferred. Mozart tried to make a living without a permanent position. The last years of his life were marked by poverty and high debts. Nevertheless, he wrote some of his most beautiful works during this time, including Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute. At the end of November 1791, Mozart fell seriously ill. He died on 5 December 1791.