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A prolific artist, Austrian composer Wolfgang Mozart created a string of operas, concertos, symphonies and sonatas that profoundly shaped classical music.
Wolfgang Mozart was known as a musical prodigy that mastered several styles of music during the 18th century. Witness his growth into one of the greatest composers of all time.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart learned the piano at the age of three, and soon developed his skills in all musical forms. Widely recognized as one of the greatest composers of all time, he produced over 600 works.
Richard Wagner wrote his first opera, "The Fairies," at the age of 21. He used all elements of theater, from music to lighting, to create "total art work."
Raised in a family of musicians, Johann Sebastian Bach played the harpsichord and organ from an early age. Deeply religious, he composed sacred music to be played in churches.
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The visit was somewhat cool, as Leopold was still a reluctant father-in-law and Nannerl was a dutiful daughter. But the stay promoted Mozart to begin writing a mass in C Minor, of which only the first two sections, "Kyrie" and "Gloria," were completed. In 1784, Mozart became a Freemason, a fraternal order focused on charitable work, moral uprightness, and the development of fraternal friendship. Mozart was well regarded in the Freemason community,
attending meetings and being involved in various functions. Freemasonry also became a strong influence in Mozart’s music.
From 1782-1785, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart divided his time between self-produced concerts as soloist, presenting three to four new piano concertos in each season. Theater space for rent in Vienna was sometimes hard to come by, so Mozart booked himself in unconventional venues such as large rooms in apartment buildings and ballrooms of expensive restaurants. The year 1784, proved the most prolific in Mozart’s performance life. During one five-week period, he appeared in 22 concerts, including five he produced and performed as the soloist. In a typical concert, he would play a selection of existing and improvisational pieces and his various piano concertos. Other times he would conduct performances of his symphonies. The concerts were very well attended as Mozart enjoyed a unique connection with his audiences who were, in the words of Mozart biographer Maynard Solomon, “given the opportunity of witnessing the transformation and perfection of a major musical genre.” During this time, Mozart also began to keep a catalog of his own music, perhaps indicating an awareness of his place in musical history.
By the mid 1780s, Wolfgang and Constanze Mozart’s extravagant lifestyle was beginning to take its toll. Despite his success as a pianist and composer, Mozart was falling into serious financial difficulties. Mozart associated himself with aristocratic Europeans and felt he should live like one. He figured that the best way to attain a more stable and lucrative income would be through court appointment. However, this wouldn’t be easy with the court’s musical preference bent toward Italian composers and the influence of Kapellmeister Antonio Salieri. Mozart’s relationship with Salieri has been the subject of speculation and legend. Letters written between Mozart and his father, Leonardo, indicate that the two felt a rivalry for and mistrust of the Italian musicians in general and Salieri in particular. Decades after Mozart’s death, rumors spread that Salieri had poisoned him. This rumor was made famous in 20th century playwright Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus and in the 1984 film of the same name by director Milos Foreman. But in truth there is no basis for this speculation. Though both composers were often in contention for the same job and public attention, there is little evidence that their relationship was anything beyond a typical professional rivalry. Both admired each other’s work and at one point even collaborated on a cantata for voice and piano called Per la recuperate salute di Ophelia.
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