Enjoy!!! Child of the Enlightenment The worldthat Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart entered ceremoniously in 1756 was brimming inchange. Historians refer to this era as the Age of Enlightenment, one ofunparalleled scientific, philosophical, and political ferment. Within Mozartslifetime it set in motion forces that would fundamentally alter life not only inhis native, Salzburg, but also around the globe. The Enlightenment was not, tobe sure, a democratic movement. In France, the absolutism of the Sun King, LouisXIV, continued under Louis XV and XVI.
But in Austria, Empress Maria Theresaintroduced a greater measure of tolerance and freedom among her subjects, layinga foundation for the democratic revolutions that followed. Wolfgangs fatherLeopold came from a family of Augsburg bookbinders. He received a solid Jesuiteducation, more intellectual than evangelical after a year at the BenedictineUniversity in nearby Salzburg; Leopold stopped attending classes to pursue acareer as a musician. Leopold figured as Mozarts most important firstmodel. He taught his son the clavier and composition(Mercardo 763). Wolfgangs mother Anna-Maria brought as much talent to her 32-year marriage asdid Leopold.
Though deprived of a formal education, she was highly intelligentand quick-witted qualities that attracted the sober and reserved Leopold. Only two of their seven children survived infancy. Wolfgangs musicallytalented sister Nannerl was five years older. Yet in this painting, the 12-year-old looks like a spinster of seventycomplete with budding double chin. Wolfgang, too, looks far older than his 7 years, and controls the action fromhis place at its center. The Child Prodigy Indeed, Mozart marks the beginning ofthe Western fascination with the child prodigy.
Dressed in the festive outfitgiven Wolfgang in 1762 by the Empress Maria Theresa, this boy of not quite sevenyears old looks, for all the world, like a miniature adult who has simplyskipped childhood. Mozart was keenly aware of his exceptional ability, whichhad been fostered and rutted in him by his father from a very earlyage(Schroter). Other nineteenth-century artists representedWolfgangvariously said to be anywhere from 11 to 14 as a curly-locked angel. For them, how else could the divine music that poured out of a child-size bodybe explained? The idealization of Mozarts genius was complete by the end ofthe nineteenth century.
Mozart composes with his violin in one hand and musichas appeared miraculously on his stand in the other. The message isunmistakable: Mortals use quills, Mozart simply wills(Solomon) On the RoadThe temptation to take his two prodigies on the road proved irresistible toLeopold, who assumed sole responsibility for Mozarts education. Between 1762and 1766, the Mozarts appeared at almost every major court in Europe. Wolfgangdazzled audiences with his ability to read difficult music at sight and toimprovise. In London, as elsewhere, the Mozarts hobnobbed with the leadingmusicians.
Probably the most important of these was Johann Christian Bach, theyoungest son of Johann Sebastian. It is no accident that Mozarts earlysymphonies, composed in London, are often stylistically indistinguishable fromthose of J. C. Bach.
When Mozart was 13, his prowess as a keyboard player,violinist, improviser, and composer were already legendary. When Mozart was21 he wrote Paris Symphony, N31 while he was in Paris looking for a musicposition. He was thoroughly disenchanted with the French and theirmusic(Internet). From 1768 to 1775, between stays in Salzburg, he and Leopoldmade three further forays to Italy and Germany. Wolfgang evolved from a prodigyinto a serious composer. Public Successes A self-confident Mozart assured hisfather in 1782 that he would be able to support a wife and family in Vienna, Asa result which he called Clavierland.
Of its earlier devastation, thedominant architectural style in Vienna is Baroque, aided in the 1700s by aninflux of Italian sculptors, stucco workers, and painters. The dominantarchitect and architectural historian was Italian-trained Johann Fischer vonErlach(1656-1723), whose densely decorated structures still stand out today. He planned to achieve this by writing music for the public: operas, symphonies,and concertos featuring himself as pianist. Although public performances wereless frequent than today, they were for that reason on a more lavish scale. Of aset of piano concertos, Mozart commented There are passages here and therefrom which the connoisseurs alone can derive sattisfaction; but these passagesare written in such a way that the less learned cannot fail to be pleased,though without knowing why”(Solomon 293). In spite of intrigues raisedagainst him, Mozart managed to present The Abduction from the Seraglio in 1782.
Of its success, he wrote proudly to his father:People are crazy about thisopera, and it does me good to hear such applause. For the first few seasons,Mozart enjoyed an intoxicating popularity among the Viennese. In a series ofacademies attended by almost 300 supporters and patrons, he unveiled a string ofmasterful piano concertos. Emboldened by his success, he moved his family to thebest part of town.
Mozart tried to take advantage of the emergingentrepreneurial opportunities in Vienna. Four of his operasThe Abduction fromthe Seraglio(1782), The Marriage of Figaro(1786), Don Giovanni(1787), and Cosfan tutte(1790) were premiered or performed in the prestigious Burgtheater. But the Viennese were not disposed to settle on one composer for long, even onewhose talents dwarfed those of all others. Figarobegun in October 1785, onlynine months after the completion of the C-major String Quartetprovides aninstructive example. The play by Beaumarchais had been banned shortly after itsParisian premiere in 1784.
By 1787, Mozarts star in Vienna had begun to set. In Peter Shafers play Amadeus, Mozarts failures are attributed to aninfantile personality and the intrigues of court composer Antonio Salieri. Butthere is no evidence that either of these wonderful dramatic conceits were truehistorically. Indeed, Mozart and Salieri were on cordial terms. Papa Haydn We donot know the occasion on which Mozart first encountered Joseph Haydn, though itwas almost certainly around 1781, possibly at one of the gatherings organized byBaron von Swieten to hear the music of J.
S. Bach. At 50, Haydn was twiceMozarts age. By now he was also at least twice as well known. Mozart hadknown Haydns music for at least ten years.
In Haydn he not only found acomposer whose achievements were on a level with his own, but a warm andsympathetic friend in whom he could confide. This contrasted strongly with thestrained relationship that Mozart enjoyed with his father. In the autumn of1791, Mozarts health became progressively worse, and he was subject to fitsof depression and presentiments of death. However, he worked feverishly tocomplete the Clarinet Concerto, K.
622, and the Masonic Cantata and was trying tofinish the Requiem. He died on December 5, 1791, and was buried in a paupersgraveViennese society where to blame for Mozarts lack of recognition, slowdemise, and interment in a paupers grave(Braunbehrers). The unfinishedRequiem, which Mozart imagined was for himself, is numbered K. 626. His bodywas gone, but his magnificent music-symphonies, opera, duos, trios, quartet,violon concertos, piano concertos, vocal and choral works praising God,happiness, and all of life-lives forever(Mirsky144) Listening example: Mozart1 symphony (K. 16) was written at the age of nine.
His symphonic compositionsculminate in the Jupiter written in 1788 when Mozart was 32. His earliersymphonies seem to give greatest importance to the first movement. In theJupiter Mozart build toward the finale with passages in a fugal style asthe grand climax after the minuet (3rd Movement) Composer: W. A. Mozart Title:Jupiter Symphony Key: C Meter: In threes Form: A B A (Minuet and Trio) Terms toReview: Enlightenment: A philosophical movement of the eighteenth century thatplaced primary faith in the power of mankind to solve chronic problems throughthe application of reason and scientific method rather than faith andspeculation. The Enlightenment anticipated democratic revolutions, but tookplace under political monarchies.
As a child of the Enlightenment, Mozartconsidered himself a member of the natural aristocracy but was anything but ademocrat. Violin: The highest and the most glamorous member of the stringfamily, pitched a fifth above the viola. In a string quartet, both of the trebleinstruments are violins. One who plays the violin (however well or badly) isknown as a violinist. If you are contemplating taking up a stringinstrument and fame is your goal, then the violin is your first choice.
Mozart,Leopold: (1719-1787) Father of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Leopold served over fourdecades as a court musician to five archbishops of Salzburg. In 1756, the yearthat Wolfgang was born, he published the first edition of his Violin School,which soon brought him international fame. In 1800, more than a dozen yearsafter Leopolds death, his treatise was still being reprinted. As Wolfgangsonly formal teacher, he exercised a pivotal influence on his sonsdevelopment.
Opera: A drama set to music. Opera was the dominant form of Westernpublic music from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries, parallel inimportance to our modern cinema. Baroque: Period in musical history extendingfrom ca. 1600 to 1750. The music of the late Baroque (ca. 1690 to 1750) is bestknown today.
Its major representatives were Johann Sebastian Bach in Germany,Georg Friderich Handel (another German) in England, Antonio Vivaldi in Italy,and Jean-Philippe Rameau in France. Mozart was born as the late Baroque drew toa close. As an adult, he came to know and admire the music of Bach and Handel. Piano Concerto: One of the public forms of instrumental music cultivated byMozart in Vienna. Mozart can, for all practical purposes, be credited with theinvention of the Classical piano concerto.
Antonio Salieri: Italian composer(1750-1825) who spent most of his career in Vienna and became one of its mostinfluential musicians. So fond was the emperor, Joseph II, of Salieri that hebecame known as the musical pope. Salieri was first and foremost an operacomposer, though a considerably less innovative one than Mozart. Both Ludwig vanBeethoven and Franz Schubert studied with Salieri. Joseph Haydn: Austriancomposer (1732-1809) whose eighteenth-century fame eclipsed that of Mozart.
Unlike Mozart, Haydn was a relatively late bloomer, composing most of hisimportant music after the age of 35 (at which age Mozart was dead). Haydn playeda seminal role in the development of the symphony and the string quartet. Hisfriendship with Mozart from ca. 1781 on was crucial to the musical developmentof both composers. Summary: The world that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart enteredunceremoniously in 1756 was awash in change.
Historians refer to this era as theAge of Enlightenment. Indeed, Mozart marks the beginning of the Westernfascination with the child prodigy. The idealization of Mozarts genius wascomplete by the end of the nineteenth century. Between 1762 and 1766, theMozarts appeared at almost every major court in Europe.
Wolfgang dazzledaudiences with his ability to read difficult music at sight and to improviseFour of his operasThe Abduction from the Seraglio(1782), The Marriage ofFigaro(1786), Don Giovanni(1787), and Cos fan tutte(1790) were premiered orperformed in the prestigious Burgtheater. Then Mozart met Haydn; we do not knowthe occasion on which Mozart first encountered Joseph Haydn. In Haydn, he notonly found a composer whose achievements were on a level with his own, but awarm and sympathetic friend in whom he could confide. In the autumn of 1791,Mozarts health became progressively worse. He died on December 5, 1791, andwas buried in a paupers grave.Biographies