Wolfgang Mozart is a prolific Australian artist who composed a string of concertos, operas, sonatas and symphonies which intensely shapes the classical world of music. He was born on 27th January 1756 in Austria, Salzburg. He was a musician who played a variety of musical instruments at a young age of six years. During his young age, he aligned himself with many different European patrons and venues where he composed a variety of works including chamber music and masses that were accompanied by vivid sophisticated and emotional textures (Barth, 2003).
With the transition period in Central Europe, small towns including Salzburg were some of the regions where the most prodigious and talented musicians and composers were born. Amadeus Mozart was the son of Maria Pertl Mozart and Leopold (Melograni, 2007). His father Leopold, was a great violin player, writer as well as the assistant concertmasters in Salzburg court. His sister Maria Anna was the only daughter. The two children in the family were familiarized into music at an early age with direction and inspiration since their father was into music. His sister Maria Anna, who was older than him started playing the keyboard at the age of seven and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's only three years then, he mimicked her. He showed great interest in tonality, tempo, and chords. His father realized the interest in music in his son and began tutoring him too as he tutored his daughter. Leopold dedicated most of his time in training his children in music and made his lessons fun and easy. Wolfgang, however, showed signs of excelling in music beyond the teachings of his father as he had an early composition of his music at the age of five years. He demonstrated an outstanding capability on violin and the harpsichord where later graduated to playing viola, piano, and organ.
In the aim of motivating and encouraging his children in music, the Leopold took them on different tours among them being to the court of Bavaria which is located in Munich. It was one of the earliest European tours. They later traveled to other courts in London, Paris, Zurich and The Hague where they performed as children prodigies. Wolfgang Mozart was made familiar with other music works as he met other musicians during these tours. One of the meetings which encouraged him was Johann Christian Bach who apparently was the youngest son of Johann Sebastian in London (Melograni, 2007). Some of these tours were long and exhausting making Wolfgang Mozart fall sick frequently.
Budding Young Composer
Wolfgang and his father went to Italy while he was thirteen years old. His sister's professional life, music, was fading as she neared the age of getting married which was one of the customs at that period. She was limited to publicly show her talent. The stay in Italy was quite long from 1769 to 1771 where he performed to massive audiences as possible. One of his most memorable performance while in Italy was at Sistine Chapel where he composed a new Opera known as Mitridate followed by other operas in 1771, Ascanio and 1772, Lucio Silla. They later returned home from Italy in 1773 where he was appointed by the archbishop as the assistant concertmaster where he received a small salary. This presented with a platform to work on several projects such as composing sonatas, string quartets, operas and a few more genres of music. He developed more interest in pianos in 1776 where he culminated in the piano concerto in E flat in 1777 when he was twenty-one years old.
Wolfgang Mozart was ambitious and not contented with his position as the assistant concertmaster in Salzburg. He, therefore, set off for other cities such as Paris, Munich, and Mannheim where he was accompanied by Anna Maria. He applied for many promising jobs but they all failed. He started running low on capital and sold some of his personal items for his living expenses and travels. During his quest for employment with his mother, she fell sick and died in 1778. Leopold was saddened by the death of his wife and negotiated for a position for his son as an organist in the court in Salzburg where he had to return home to the new position.
Making it in Vienna
On returning to Salzburg, Wolfgang Amadeus composed and produced several different works in the church that comprised of coronation mass. In addition, he produced more Munich in 1781. Later, Wolfgang Amadeus was summoned by Archbishop Colloredo to Vienna. This followed services offered to him as he was treated as a mere servant. Wolfgang was forbidden from performing to the Emperor and his annual salary was reduced by half the amount in Salzburg. This followed an urge to resign from his works in the church which faced rejection from the archbishop but later conceded with a physical removal from the presence of the archbishop. Wolfgang Amadeus settled in Vienna after the dismissal (Braunbehrens 1991). He performed as a freelancer and composer where he lived with his friends in Fridolin Weber's home.
He later found a job in Vienna where he took on learners, wrote songs for publications and played in many concerts. Mozart also wrote more operas including 'Die Entfuhrung Aus Dem Serail' which means 'The Abduction from the Seraglio' (Braunbehrens, 1991). He married Fridolin's daughter, Constanze on 4th August 1782 after an intense disapproval by his father. His mother, however, supported his marriage idea which encouraged and motivated him into carrying out his plan making him feel more committed. They had six children but only two of them survived namely Franz Xavier and Karl Thomas.
Wolfgang Amadeus divided his time into two different schedules including piano and self-produced concerts where the piano concerts were three to four. He booked large rooms and ballrooms in an apartment building as rent for unconventional venues was sometimes difficult to access. 1784 was the most prolific year in Wolfgang Amadeus' life. This was geared by the fact he performed twenty-two concerts in a span of five weeks in which he performed soloist in five of the concerts (Mozart, 2013). During a usual concert, he would perform a selection of improvisational and existing pieces as well as numerous piano concerts. In some concerts, he would perform on his symphonies. Massive audiences and fans attended his concerts as they witnessed the perfection and transformation of the music genre. He had a catalog of his music which indicated the location or geography in his music history.
He began associating with the aristocratic Europeans hence begun to live their extravagant life. In 1785, Wolfgang Amadeus collaborated with Lorenzo Da Ponte who was a librettist on an opera known as 'The Marriage of Figaro.' This opera was warmly received not only in Vienna but also Prague (Mozart, 2013). It further encouraged more collaboration with Don Giovanni in 1787. The two collaborated operas emerged as the most important pieces of music genre in his life. The two pieces reflected nobleman wickedness but Figaro presents more of the social tension and frequently presented as comedy. The two are likable due to their linkage to both the dramatic and musical nature. Wolfgang was later appointed as the chamber composer by Emperor Joseph which enabled him to explore is music ambitions. The political war in Australia affected his musical career in 1780' where his financial status grew worse. He moved from Vienna to the outskirts of Alsergrund to reduce the cost of living. This financial status brought him to his lowest point with depression and bipolar disorders. His physical and mental health deteriorated (Mozart, 2013).
Death and Legacy
Wolfgang died on 5th December 1791 while he was thirty-five years old. There is no definite cause of his death in accordance with the postmortem results. However.it is believed that he suffered from the miliary fever which is evidenced by the skin rash he had which looked like a millet seed. Other researchers have concluded that the cause of his death was rheumatic fever as he occasionally suffered from the same (Zegers et al. 2009). According to Vienna's customs, Mozart was buried in a common grave as only a few people had the privilege of being buried in marked graves. His wife later sold his unpublished manuscripts to settle the family debts. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is one of the few artists whose star burned out sooner than expected but his accomplishments and fame at an early age makes him an admiration icon. He is among of the greatest artists in the music industry presenting complex bold expressions. His music has continued to exert fascination and motivation to new and upcoming musicians today.
Barth, Karl. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2003.
Braunbehrens, Volkmar. Mozart in Vienna, 1781-1791. Harpercollins, 1991.
Melograni, Piero. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: A Biography. University of Chicago Press, 2007.
Mozart, Wolfgang. "Wolfgang Mozart". Biography, 2013, https://www.biography.com/people/wolfgang-mozart-9417115. Accessed 13 Apr 2018.
Zegers, Richard HC, Andreas Weigl, and Andrew Steptoe. "The death of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: an epidemiologic perspective." Annals of internal medicine 151.4 (2009): 274-278.
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