Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg under the baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Teophilus Mozart on January 27th, 1756. His father Leopold Mozart was an excellent violinist and composer. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was considered a child prodigy and showed amazing musical skills already in his earliest childhood. At the age of five he could deal with piano and violin and composed and performed in front of the European royalty. His sister “Nannerl” was also gifted. Leopold Mozart looked for the best musical education to his children.
THE CHILD PRODIGY
At the age of 5 years, father Leopold charted an Andante and Allegro as the “Wolfgangerl Compositiones”. Mozart’s talent in piano and violin was obvious, and soon his first appearances followed.
GUEST AT THE COURT
His first concert tours led him to Munich, Passau and Vienna, to present his talent to the nobility. After some successful first stops, an extended tour began through Germany.
The “Obligation of the First Commandment” was the first premiere of the eleven year old Mozart in Salzburg. Short time later he completed the musical comedy “Bastien and Bastienne”, the “Waisenhausmesse” as well as the opera buffa “La finta simplice” in Vienna.
MORE THAN JUST MUSIC
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote his compositions in a very sophisticated and demanding orchestral writing, what differed his compositions from those of his contemporaries. In particular, the winds obtained by a previously unknown self-reliance. Associated with this, the length and the girth of the individual works also increased, most clearly to be seen in his symphonies. The same is also observed in the works of his contemporary Joseph Haydn. On the basis of Mozart’s compositional techniques and styles, he created works of great complexity and significant style, thanks to his unique creative skills.
For a long time, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his family lived in the Getreidegasse 9 in a three-room apartment in multi-family residential where Mozart himself was born. This house was called „Hagenauer“, named after the owners, who were close friends of the family in the later career of Mozart. Many historical letters prove the friendly relationship. The beautiful site of this house is typical for the buildings in the Getreidegasse, as well as the windows, which are getting smaller in the upper floors.
Mozart’s birthplace – Getreidegasse 9
Mozart’s residenz – Makartplatz 8
After their third trip to Vienna, the Mozarts moved into their new home at the former Hannibal Square (today Makartplatz 8). The spacious apartment was large enough for meetings with friends and musicians. The actor, theater director and the librettist of “The Magic Flute” – Emanuel Schikaneder was a frequent guest. In this house, Wolfgang wrote among other things 1773 to 1780 symphonies, divertimenti, serenades, piano and violin concertos, a bassoon concerto, arias, masses and other sacred works.
The New Residence in Salzburg’s old town, once called Palazzo Nuovo, provides a wonderful framework for the concert series “Mozart in residence” in the middle of the historic center of the city. The style, the decoration and the building itself create a special atmosphere that is rarely seen elsewhere yet to experience so. The New Residence was built by Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau, the spiritual prince of Salzburg. Later, the building was supplied to public purposes. Today, the New Residence is especially known for the Salzburg Glockenspiel, a historical percussion.
New Residenz Salzburg – Mozartplatz 1
LEOPOLD MOZART – FATHER
Johann Georg Leopold Mozart was a German composer coming from Augsburg, living in the early Classic and Viennese Classic. He was an archiepiscopal chamber musician, some years later court composer and assistant music director. He supported and taught his musically talented children with great devotion. The number of concert tours of his son even caused a brief dismissal from court service. Today, he is mainly known as a tireless promoter and educator as well as travel companion of his brilliant son, although he composed several works that are still played today.
NANNERL MOZART – SISTER
Also known as Maria Anna Walburga Ignatia Mozart, Nannerl was the eldest sister of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In her youth, she often joined her brother’s concerts throughout Europe as a pianist. They already played the heaviest sonatas and concertos for piano with eleven years. She never stepped out of the shadow of her brother and thus focussed on her family and her work as a piano teacher. After her marriage, she moved to St. Gilgen with her husband. After his death she returned to Salzburg where she was an estimated piano teacher.
ANNA MARIA PERTL – MOTHER
Anna Maria Walburga Mozart, born Pertl, was the mother of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Nannerl, who was born in St. Gilgen, where her family home was. Later she married the composer Leopold Mozart in the Salzburg Cathedral. Nannerl married one of the official successors of her grandfather, Johann Baptist von Berchtold zu Sonnenburg, and returned with him to her mother’s birthplace to St. Gilgen. Anna Maria Mozart died in Paris, where she had accompanied her son. Purpose of this trip was to find an advantageous place for Wolfgang. Her death was a big shock for Mozart.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart travelled a lot and really enjoyed these opportunities. In total, he was on the road for 3720 days, which is equivalent to 10 years of his short life.
However, traveling in these times was no picnic: Bad roads, highwaymen and little comfort made the trips adventurous. However, the experiences and impressions influenced Mozart’s development and musical work a lot.
DEPARTURE TO VIENNA
After moving to Vienna, where he was constantly searching for clients and piano students, he composed those grand operas like the musical comedy “The Abduction from the Seraglio”, the opera buffa “Le nozze di Figaro”, the Drama giosco “Don Giovanni” and the comic opera “Cosi fan tutte”. In Vienna, Mozart met Gottfried van Swieten, the prefect of the Imperial Library and a recognized music lover. He introduced Mozart to the works of Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel. The encounter with these Baroque composers deeply impressed him and immediately had a great influence on his further compositions.
HIS LAST WORKS
Especially in his operas “The Magic Flute” and “Le nozze di Figaro” socially critical tones are heard. Later he became the k.k. Appointed Kammermusicus and shortly thereafter to the adjuncts of Kapellmeister of St. Stephen Leopold Hoffmann. With the performance of “Figaro” he overstrained the Viennese public so that it withdrew from him and his economic situation deteriorated. This failure was a turning point in his life. At this time, he was only successful in Prague. Off the Viennese public, he created the works of his last years. He tried in vain to travel in order to stem the economic downturn.
THE EARLY DEATH
A few weeks after the premiere of “The Magic Flute”, Mozart became bedridden. On December 5th by 1 clock am he died and was buried the day after. He did not even turn 36 years old. The cause of his death is still unknown. Mozart himself was convinced to have been poisoned, and explained it to Constanze a few weeks before his death – but there is no documented evidence for a poisoning. Perhaps Mozart’s cause of death is to be sought already in a disease during his childhood; modern medicine tends to an infection with streptococci, which has been treated insufficiently, and thus led to cardiac or organ failure.