101_Music_handout - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-91)...

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-91) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was only 35 when he died--but what a legacy of marvelous classical music he left to the world. Almost unquestionably the most extraordinarily gifted child in the history of music, he had begun composing serious music by the time he was 4 and 5 . Under the tutelage of his composer-violinist father, he showed remarkable talent for the piano and performed before the Empress Maria Theresa when he was barely six. By the next year, he was doing concert tours across Europe--and when he finally reached 13, he had composed sonatas, concertos, symphonies, religious works, operettas and even an opera. His remarkable creative powers are unparalleled. Describing the process he used, he said that, even though a work were long, he composed it first completely in his head, and then by the time he was ready to put it on paper, it flowed out quickly and effortlessly. And it was so completely composed in his head at this point, that he didn't mind being disturbed or even talking to someone as his hand rapidly copied down the intricate arrangements in his head. At 25 he situated himself in Vienna in hopes of getting an official appointment as a musician in the court, but the remaining 10 years of his life were frustrating and financially difficult, as he seemed to be repeatedly passed by in favor of other lesser composers. (Whether this was due to the connivings of his jealous rival-composer, Salieri, as the playwright of Amadeus* claims, may forever be unknown; still it does offer an explanation for his years of disappointment--and it certainly makes for an evening of exciting theater!) An unfortunate marriage to a woman who never fully understood or appreciated his genius (and a public who insisted that his music was too difficult to understand) made his mature years even more difficult--and when a publisher advised him to lower his sights and write in a more popular and entertaining style, he responded that he would rather starve to death and die at once. Feeling as if he were "always hovering between hope and anxiety," he managed to compose such masterpieces (fully recognized today if not then) as Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro , and The Magic Flute as well as over 40 symphonies and dozens and dozens of concertos for almost every instrument. Feverish and ill, he found himself racing against time as he tried to finish a "mass for the dead," his own Requiem --and died before completing it. He was given a pauper's funeral and, since he was buried on a cold and rainy day, what few friends had gathered, turned back at the cemetery gates and went home, leaving the hearse to go on to the grave by itself. Today he's considered to be in a class by himself--admired genius and composer supreme. His form is classical with rococo flourishes occasionally embellishing the surface; resulting in some of the most exquisite music ever written. The First Movement of Mozart's
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This note was uploaded on 03/15/2012 for the course HUM 101 taught by Professor Yorgason during the Fall '11 term at BYU.

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101_Music_handout - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-91)...

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