I love the name, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. His real name was Johannes Chrysostomas Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, born in January 27, 1756. I guess he chose Amadeus as his middle name for the movie of the same name. During his lifetime, he composed over 600 works, including symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music. Growing up in Salzburg, he had already mastered the keyboard and violin by age 5. He soon began composing and performing for royalty. At age 17, he became a court musician in Salzburg. At the age of 25, he left for Vienna and lost his Salzburg position. In Vienna, he composed most of his best known works, including his Requiem, which was mostly unfinished at the time of his death.
He died at a relatively young age of 35, and was survived by is wife, Constanze, and two sons. But during his life, he was a voracious learner and developed his brilliant style that encompassed the light and graceful, with the dark and passionate. His influence on western music was profound, having mentored Beethoven. Today, we will hear four of his works at the San Francisco Symphony. Another $20 weekday matinée special, ideal for us retirees.
Leopold Mozart, his father, was a minor composer, and his music teacher as well as for languages and academic subjects. He soon earned several opera commissions. HIs father would help display his abilities as a composer. He later developed an enthusiasm for violin concertos, producing a series of five. He then turned to piano concertos, highlighted by the E flat concerto K 271 in 1777, considered to be his big breakthrough. After kicking around Salzburg, Mannheim, and Paris, he ended up in Vienna in 1781, where he became a freelance performer and composer. He eventually married in 1782.
He then further studied the works of Johann Sebastian Bach, and Georg-Friderich Handel. This inspired his baroque style and influenced his personal musical Language. Mozart also met Joseph Haydn in Vienna, and became friends and sometimes played together in string quartets. Hayden told his father, Leopold that his son was the greatest composer known to him, and that he had the greatest skill in composition. His concerts were very popular, as he performed many solos over the next years. He returned to writing operas in 1786 and 1787. After that, his income shrank due to the Austrian war, began borrowing money, and became depressed. During this time, he wrote his last three symphonies, and last three operas.
His last year, 1791, was very productive, despite his financial woes. It appears that wealthy patrons helped to subsidize him for future compositions. He fell ill in Prague, and was bed ridden by November. He died on December 5, most likely of rheumatic fever, with little evidence that he finished his Requiem.