Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Overview


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (ˈvɔlfɡaŋ amaˈdeus ˈmoːtsaʁt, English see fn.), baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart (27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791), was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era
Classical period (music)
The dates of the Classical Period in Western music are generally accepted as being between about 1750 and 1830. However, the term classical music is used colloquially to describe a variety of Western musical styles from the ninth century to the present, and especially from the sixteenth or...

. He composed over 600 works
Musical composition
Musical composition can refer to an original piece of music, the structure of a musical piece, or the process of creating a new piece of music. People who practice composition are called composers.- Musical compositions :...

, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic
Symphony
A symphony is an extended musical composition in Western classical music, scored almost always for orchestra. A symphony usually contains at least one movement or episode composed according to the sonata principle...

, concertante
Concerto
A concerto is a musical work usually composed in three parts or movements, in which one solo instrument is accompanied by an orchestra.The etymology is uncertain, but the word seems to have originated from the conjunction of the two Latin words...

, chamber
Chamber music
Chamber music is a form of classical music, written for a small group of instruments which traditionally could be accommodated in a palace chamber. Most broadly, it includes any art music that is performed by a small number of performers with one performer to a part...

, piano, operatic, and choral
Choir
A choir, chorale or chorus is a musical ensemble of singers. Choral music, in turn, is the music written specifically for such an ensemble to perform.A body of singers who perform together as a group is called a choir or chorus...

 music. He is among the most enduringly popular of classical
Classical music
Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times...

 composers.

Mozart showed prodigious ability from his earliest childhood in Salzburg
Salzburg
-Population development:In 1935, the population significantly increased when Salzburg absorbed adjacent municipalities. After World War II, numerous refugees found a new home in the city. New residential space was created for American soldiers of the postwar Occupation, and could be used for...

.
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Quotations

If Germany, my beloved fatherland, of whom you know I am proud, will not accept me, then must I, in the name of God, again make France or England richer by one capable German; — and to the shame of the German nation.

Letter to Leopold Mozart (Vienna, 1782-08-17), from Mozart: The Man and the Artist, as Revealed in his own Words by Friedrich Kerst, trans. Henry Edward Krehbiel (1906)

The most stimulating and encouraging thought is that you, dearest father, and my dear sister, are well, that I am an honest German, and that if I am not always permitted to talk I can think what I please; but that is all.

Letter to Leopold Mozart (Paris, 1778-05-29), from Mozart: The Man and the Artist, as Revealed in his own Words by Friedrich Kerst, trans. Henry Edward Krehbiel (1906)

A fellow of mediocre talent will remain a mediocrity, whether he travels or not; but one of superior talent (which without impiety I cannot deny that I possess) will go to seed if he always remains in the same place.

Letter to Leopold Mozart (1778-09-11), from Wolfgang Amadé Mozart by Georg Knepler (1991), trans. J. Bradford Robinson [Cambridge University Press, 1994, ISBN 0-521-58823-5], p. 12

As I love Mannheim|Mannheim, Mannheim loves me.

Letter to Leopold Mozart, (Mannheim, 1778-11-12], from Mozart's Letters, Mozart's Life: Selected Letters, ed. Robert Spaethling [W.W. Norton, 2000, ISBN 0-393-04719-9], p. 193

My fatherland has always the first claim on me.

Letter to Leopold Mozart (1781-11-24), from Mozart: The Man and the Artist, as Revealed in his own Words by Friedrich Kerst, trans. Henry Edward Krehbiel (1906)

I care very little for Salzburg|Salzburg and not at all for the Hieronymus Graf von Colloredo|archbishop: I shit on both of them.

Letter to Leopold Mozart (1783-07-12), from The Complete Operas of Mozart: a critical guide By Charles Osborne [Da Capo, 1983, ISBN 0-306-80190-6], p. 208
Encyclopedia


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (ˈvɔlfɡaŋ amaˈdeus ˈmoːtsaʁt, English see fn.), baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart (27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791), was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era
Classical period (music)
The dates of the Classical Period in Western music are generally accepted as being between about 1750 and 1830. However, the term classical music is used colloquially to describe a variety of Western musical styles from the ninth century to the present, and especially from the sixteenth or...

. He composed over 600 works
Musical composition
Musical composition can refer to an original piece of music, the structure of a musical piece, or the process of creating a new piece of music. People who practice composition are called composers.- Musical compositions :...

, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic
Symphony
A symphony is an extended musical composition in Western classical music, scored almost always for orchestra. A symphony usually contains at least one movement or episode composed according to the sonata principle...

, concertante
Concerto
A concerto is a musical work usually composed in three parts or movements, in which one solo instrument is accompanied by an orchestra.The etymology is uncertain, but the word seems to have originated from the conjunction of the two Latin words...

, chamber
Chamber music
Chamber music is a form of classical music, written for a small group of instruments which traditionally could be accommodated in a palace chamber. Most broadly, it includes any art music that is performed by a small number of performers with one performer to a part...

, piano, operatic, and choral
Choir
A choir, chorale or chorus is a musical ensemble of singers. Choral music, in turn, is the music written specifically for such an ensemble to perform.A body of singers who perform together as a group is called a choir or chorus...

 music. He is among the most enduringly popular of classical
Classical music
Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times...

 composers.

Mozart showed prodigious ability from his earliest childhood in Salzburg
Salzburg
-Population development:In 1935, the population significantly increased when Salzburg absorbed adjacent municipalities. After World War II, numerous refugees found a new home in the city. New residential space was created for American soldiers of the postwar Occupation, and could be used for...

. Already competent on keyboard
Keyboard instrument
A keyboard instrument is a musical instrument which is played using a musical keyboard. The most common of these is the piano. Other widely used keyboard instruments include organs of various types as well as other mechanical, electromechanical and electronic instruments...

 and violin, he composed from the age of five and performed before European royalty. At 17, he was engaged as a court musician in Salzburg, but grew restless and travelled in search of a better position, always composing abundantly. While visiting Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 in 1781, he was dismissed from his Salzburg position. He chose to stay in the capital, where he achieved fame but little financial security. During his final years in Vienna, he composed many of his best-known symphonies, concertos, and operas, and portions of the Requiem
Requiem (Mozart)
The Requiem Mass in D minor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was composed in Vienna in 1791 and left unfinished at the composer's death. A completion by Franz Xaver Süssmayr was delivered to Count Franz von Walsegg, who had anonymously commissioned the piece for a requiem Mass to commemorate the...

, which was largely unfinished at the time of Mozart's death. The circumstances of his early death have been much mythologized. He was survived by his wife Constanze
Constanze Mozart
Constanze Mozart was the wife of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.-Early years:Constanze Weber was born in Zell im Wiesental. Her mother was Cäcilia Weber, née Stamm. Her father Fridolin Weber worked as a "double bass player, prompter and music copyist." Fridolin's half-brother was the father of composer...

 and two sons.

Mozart learned voraciously from others, and developed a brilliance and maturity of style that encompassed the light and graceful along with the dark and passionate. His influence on subsequent Western art music
Art music
Art music is an umbrella term used to refer to musical traditions implying advanced structural and theoretical considerations and a written musical tradition...

 is profound. Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential composers of all time.Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of...

 wrote his own early compositions in the shadow of Mozart, and Joseph Haydn
Joseph Haydn
Franz Joseph Haydn , known as Joseph Haydn , was an Austrian composer, one of the most prolific and prominent composers of the Classical period. He is often called the "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet" because of his important contributions to these forms...

 wrote that "posterity will not see such a talent again in 100 years."

Biography



Family and early years


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born to Leopold
Leopold Mozart
Johann Georg Leopold Mozart was a German composer, conductor, teacher, and violinist. Mozart is best known today as the father and teacher of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and for his violin textbook Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule.-Childhood and student years:He was born in Augsburg, son of...

 and Anna Maria Pertl Mozart
Anna Maria Mozart
Anna Maria Walburga Mozart was the mother of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Maria Anna Mozart.-Biography:...

 at 9 Getreidegasse
Getreidegasse
Getreidegasse is a busy shopping street in the Old-Town section of Salzburg. The house at no. 9 Getreidegasse is the place where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born and where he lived until the age of 17...

 in Salzburg, capital of the sovereign Archbishopric of Salzburg
Archbishopric of Salzburg
The Archbishopric of Salzburg was an ecclesiastical State of the Holy Roman Empire, its territory roughly congruent with the present-day Austrian state of Salzburg....

, in what is now Austria but, at the time, was part of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

. His only sibling to survive infancy was his elder sister Maria Anna
Maria Anna Mozart
Maria Anna Walburga Ignatia Mozart , nicknamed "Nannerl", was a musician, the older sister of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and daughter of Leopold and Anna Maria Mozart.-Childhood:...

 (1751–1829), nicknamed "Nannerl". Mozart was baptized
Baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

 the day after his birth at St. Rupert's Cathedral. The baptismal record gives his name in Latinized form as Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart. He generally called himself "Wolfgang Amadè Mozart" as an adult, but there were many variants
Mozart's name
The composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart went by many different names in his lifetime. This resulted partly from the church traditions of the day, and partly from the fact that Mozart was multilingual and freely adapted his name to other languages.-Baptismal record:...

.

His father (1719–1787) was from Augsburg
Augsburg
Augsburg is a city in the south-west of Bavaria, Germany. It is a university town and home of the Regierungsbezirk Schwaben and the Bezirk Schwaben. Augsburg is an urban district and home to the institutions of the Landkreis Augsburg. It is, as of 2008, the third-largest city in Bavaria with a...

. He was deputy Kapellmeister
Kapellmeister
Kapellmeister is a German word designating a person in charge of music-making. The word is a compound, consisting of the roots Kapelle and Meister . The words Kapelle and Meister derive from the Latin: capella and magister...

 to the court orchestra of the Archbishop of Salzburg, a minor composer, and an experienced teacher. In the year of Mozart's birth, his father published a violin textbook, Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule
Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule
Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule is a textbook for instruction in the violin, published by Leopold Mozart in 1756...

, which achieved success.


When Nannerl was seven, she began keyboard lessons with her father while her three-year-old brother would look on. Years later, after her brother's death, she reminisced:

He often spent much time at the clavier
Keyboard instrument
A keyboard instrument is a musical instrument which is played using a musical keyboard. The most common of these is the piano. Other widely used keyboard instruments include organs of various types as well as other mechanical, electromechanical and electronic instruments...

, picking out thirds, which he was ever striking, and his pleasure showed that it sounded good. [...] In the fourth year of his age his father, for a game as it were, began to teach him a few minuets and pieces at the clavier. [...] He could play it faultlessly and with the greatest delicacy, and keeping exactly in time. [...] At the age of five, he was already composing little pieces, which he played to his father who wrote them down.


These early pieces, K. 1–5, were recorded in the Nannerl Notenbuch
Nannerl Notenbuch
The Nannerl Notenbuch, or Notenbuch für Nannerl is a book in which Leopold Mozart, from 1759 to about 1764, wrote pieces for his daughter, Maria Anna Mozart , to learn and play. His son Wolfgang also used the book, in which his earliest compositions were recorded...

.

Biographer Maynard Solomon
Maynard Solomon
Maynard Solomon has carried out a multiple career: he was a co-founder of Vanguard Records as well as a music producer, and later became a writer on music.-Career in the recording industry:...

 notes that, while Mozart's father was a devoted teacher to his children, there is evidence that Mozart was keen to progress beyond what he was taught. His first ink-spattered composition and his precocious efforts with the violin were of his own initiative and came as a surprise to his father. Mozart's father eventually gave up composing when his son's musical talents became evident. In his early years, Mozart's father was his only teacher. Along with music, he also taught his children languages and academic subjects.


1762–1773: Years of travel



During Mozart's youth, his family made several European journeys in which he and Nannerl performed as child prodigies
Child prodigy
A child prodigy is someone who, at an early age, masters one or more skills far beyond his or her level of maturity. One criterion for classifying prodigies is: a prodigy is a child, typically younger than 18 years old, who is performing at the level of a highly trained adult in a very demanding...

. These began with an exhibition, in 1762, at the court of the Prince-elector
Prince-elector
The Prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire were the members of the electoral college of the Holy Roman Empire, having the function of electing the Roman king or, from the middle of the 16th century onwards, directly the Holy Roman Emperor.The heir-apparent to a prince-elector was known as an...

 Maximilian III of Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

 in Munich, and at the Imperial Court in Vienna and Prague
Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

. A long concert tour spanning three and a half years followed, taking the family to the courts of Munich, Mannheim
Mannheim
Mannheim is a city in southwestern Germany. With about 315,000 inhabitants, Mannheim is the second-largest city in the Bundesland of Baden-Württemberg, following the capital city of Stuttgart....

, Paris, London, The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

, again to Paris, and back home via Zurich
Zürich
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich...

, Donaueschingen
Donaueschingen
Donaueschingen is a German town in the Black Forest in the southwest of the federal state of Baden-Württemberg in the Schwarzwald-Baar Kreis. It stands near the confluence of the two sources of the river Danube ....

, and Munich. During this trip, Mozart met a great number of musicians and acquainted himself with the works of other composers. A particularly important influence was Johann Christian Bach
Johann Christian Bach
Johann Christian Bach was a composer of the Classical era, the eleventh and youngest son of Johann Sebastian Bach. He is sometimes referred to as 'the London Bach' or 'the English Bach', due to his time spent living in the British capital...

, whom Mozart visited in London in 1764 and 1765. The family again went to Vienna in late 1767 and remained there until December 1768. In 1767, during this period, he composed the Latin drama Apollo et Hyacinthus
Apollo et Hyacinthus
Apollo et Hyacinthus is an opera, K. 38, written in 1767 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who was 11 years old at the time. It is Mozart's first true opera . It is in three acts...

first performed in Salzburg University.

These trips were often difficult and travel conditions were primitive. The family had to wait for invitations and reimbursement from the nobility and they endured long, near-fatal illnesses far from home.

After one year in Salzburg, father and son set off for Italy, leaving Mozart's mother and sister at home. This travel lasted from December 1769 to March 1771. As with earlier journeys, Mozart's father wanted to display his son's abilities as a performer and a rapidly maturing composer. Mozart met G. B. Martini
Giovanni Battista Martini
Giovanni Battista Martini , also known as Padre Martini, was an Italian musician.-Biography:Martini was born at Bologna....

, in Bologna
Bologna
Bologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River. Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, with spectacular history,...

, and was accepted as a member of the famous Accademia Filarmonica
Philharmonic Academy of Bologna
The Accademia Filarmonica di Bologna is a music education institution in Bologna, Italy.It was established in 1666. Saint Anthony of Padua was chosen as its patron saint and the image of an organ bearing the motto Unitate melos was chosen as its coat of arms...

. In Rome, he heard Gregorio Allegri
Gregorio Allegri
Gregorio Allegri was an Italian composer of the Roman School and brother of Domenico Allegri; he was also a priest and a singer. He lived mainly in Rome, where he would later die.-Life:...

's Miserere
Miserere (Allegri)
Miserere, full name "Miserere mei, Deus" by Italian composer Gregorio Allegri, is a setting of Psalm 51 composed during the reign of Pope Urban VIII, probably during the 1630s, for use in the Sistine Chapel during matins, as part of the exclusive Tenebrae service on Wednesday and Friday of Holy...

once in performance in the Sistine Chapel
Sistine Chapel
Sistine Chapel is the best-known chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope in Vatican City. It is famous for its architecture and its decoration that was frescoed throughout by Renaissance artists including Michelangelo, Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Pinturicchio...

. He wrote it out in its entirety from memory, only returning to correct minor errors—thus producing the first illegal copy of this closely guarded property of the Vatican
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

.

In Milan, Mozart wrote the opera Mitridate, re di Ponto
Mitridate, re di Ponto
Mitridate, re di Ponto , K. 87 , is an early opera seria in three acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The libretto is by Vittorio Amadeo Cigna-Santi after Giuseppe Parini's Italian translation of Jean Racine....

(1770), which was performed with success. This led to further opera commissions
Commission (art)
In art, a commission is the hiring and payment for the creation of a piece, often on behalf of another.In classical music, ensembles often commission pieces from composers, where the ensemble secures the composer's payment from private or public organizations or donors.- Commissions for public art...

. He returned with his father later twice to Milan (August–December 1771; October 1772 – March 1773) for the composition and premieres of Ascanio in Alba
Ascanio in Alba
Ascanio in Alba, K. 111, is a pastoral opera in two parts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to an Italian libretto by Giuseppe Parini...

(1771) and Lucio Silla
Lucio Silla
Lucio Silla, K. 135, is an Italian opera in three acts composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The libretto was written by Giovanni de Gamerra.It was first performed on 26 December 1772 at the Regio Ducal Teatro in Milan....

(1772). Mozart's father hoped these visits would result in a professional appointment for his son in Italy, but these hopes were never fulfilled.

Toward the end of the final Italian journey, Mozart wrote the first of his works to be still widely performed today, the solo motet
Motet
In classical music, motet is a word that is applied to a number of highly varied choral musical compositions.-Etymology:The name comes either from the Latin movere, or a Latinized version of Old French mot, "word" or "verbal utterance." The Medieval Latin for "motet" is motectum, and the Italian...

 Exsultate, jubilate
Exsultate, jubilate
Exsultate, jubilate K. 165, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was written in 1773.This religious solo motet was composed at the time Mozart was visiting Milan....

, K. 165.

1773–1777: The Salzburg court


After finally returning with his father from Italy on 13 March 1773, Mozart was employed as a court musician by the ruler of Salzburg, Prince-Archbishop Hieronymus Colloredo
Count Hieronymus von Colloredo
Count Hieronymus Joseph Franz de Paula Graf Colloredo von Wallsee und Melz was Prince-Bishop of Gurk from 1761 and Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg from 1771 until 1803, when the Archbishopric was secularized.-Life:He was the second son of Count Rudolf Wenzel Joseph Colloredo von Wallsee und Melz , a...

. The composer had a great number of friends and admirers in Salzburg and had the opportunity to work in many genres, composing symphonies, sonatas, string quartets, serenades, and a few minor operas. Between April and December 1775, Mozart developed an enthusiasm for violin concertos, producing a series of five (the only ones he ever wrote), which steadily increased in their musical sophistication. The last three—K. 216
Violin Concerto No. 3 (Mozart)
The Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major, K. 216, was composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Salzburg in 1775. Mozart was only 19 at the time.- Movements :The piece is in three movements:AllegroAdagioRondeau. Allegro- I. Allegro :...

, K. 218
Violin Concerto No. 4 (Mozart)
Violin Concerto No. 4 in D major K. 218 was composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1775 in Salzburg. The autograph of the score is preserved in Biblioteka Jagiellońska, Kraków.- Structure :...

, K. 219
Violin Concerto No. 5 (Mozart)
The Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major, K. 219, was written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1775, premiering during the holiday season that year in Salzburg. It follows the typical fast-slow-fast musical structure.- Background :...

—are now staples of the repertoire. In 1776 he turned his efforts to piano concertos
Mozart piano concertos
The Mozart piano concertos refer to the 27 concertos for piano and orchestra written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. These works, many of which Mozart composed for himself to play in the Vienna concert series of 1784–86, held a special place for him; indeed, Mozart's father apparently interrupted him...

, culminating in the E-flat concerto K. 271
Piano Concerto No. 9 (Mozart)
The Piano Concerto No. 9 "Jeunehomme" in E flat major, K. 271, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was written in Salzburg in 1777, when Mozart was 21 years old....

 of early 1777, considered by critics to be a breakthrough work.

Despite these artistic successes, Mozart grew increasingly discontented with Salzburg and redoubled his efforts to find a position elsewhere. One reason was his low salary, 150 florins a year; Mozart also longed to compose operas, and Salzburg provided only rare occasions for these. The situation worsened in 1775 when the court theater was closed, especially since the other theater in Salzburg was largely reserved for visiting troupes.

Two long expeditions in search of work interrupted this long Salzburg stay: Mozart and his father visited Vienna from 14 July to 26 September 1773, and Munich from 6 December 1774 to March 1775. Neither visit was successful, though the Munich journey resulted in a popular success with the premiere of Mozart's opera La finta giardiniera
La finta giardiniera
La finta giardiniera , K. 196, is an Italian opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Mozart wrote it in Munich in January 1775 when he was 18 years old and it received its first performance on January 13 at the Salvatortheater in Munich...

.

1777–1778: The Paris journey


In August 1777, Mozart resigned his Salzburg position and, on September 23, ventured out once more in search of employment, with visits to Augsburg
Augsburg
Augsburg is a city in the south-west of Bavaria, Germany. It is a university town and home of the Regierungsbezirk Schwaben and the Bezirk Schwaben. Augsburg is an urban district and home to the institutions of the Landkreis Augsburg. It is, as of 2008, the third-largest city in Bavaria with a...

, Mannheim, Paris, and Munich.

Mozart became acquainted with members of the famous orchestra in Mannheim, the best in Europe at the time. He also fell in love with Aloysia Weber
Aloysia Weber
Maria Aloysia Louise Antonia Weber was a German soprano, remembered primarily for her association with the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.-Biography:...

, one of four daughters in a musical family. There were prospects of employment in Mannheim, but they came to nothing, and Mozart left for Paris on 14 March 1778 to continue his search. One of his letters from Paris hints at a possible post as an organist at Versailles
Versailles
Versailles , a city renowned for its château, the Palace of Versailles, was the de facto capital of the kingdom of France for over a century, from 1682 to 1789. It is now a wealthy suburb of Paris and remains an important administrative and judicial centre...

, but Mozart was not interested in such an appointment. He fell into debt and took to pawning valuables. The nadir of the visit occurred when Mozart's mother took ill and died on 3 July 1778. There had been delays in calling a doctor—probably, according to Halliwell, because of a lack of funds.

While Mozart was in Paris, his father was pursuing opportunities for his son back in Salzburg. With the support of local nobility, Mozart was offered a post as court organist and concertmaster. The yearly salary was 450 florins, but he was reluctant to accept. After leaving Paris on in September 1778, he tarried in Mannheim and Munich, still hoping to obtain an appointment outside Salzburg. In Munich, he again encountered Aloysia, now a very successful singer, but she was no longer interested in him. Mozart finally reached home on 15 January 1779 and took up the new position, but his discontent with Salzburg was undiminished.

Among the better known works that Mozart wrote on the Paris journey are the A minor piano sonata
Piano Sonata No. 8 (Mozart)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Piano Sonata No. 8 in A minor, K. 310/300d, written in 1778 is a sonata in three movements:#Allegro maestoso, common time#Andante cantabile con espressione, F major, 3/4#Presto, 2/4A typical performance takes about 22 minutes....

 K. 310/300d and the "Paris" Symphony
Symphony No. 31 (Mozart)
The Symphony No. 31 in D major, K. 297/300a, better known as the Paris Symphony, is one of the more famous symphonies by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.-Composition and premiere:...

 (no. 31); these were performed in Paris on 12 and 18 June 1778.

1781: Departure to Vienna


In January 1781, Mozart's opera Idomeneo
Idomeneo
Idomeneo, re di Creta ossia Ilia e Idamante is an Italian language opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The libretto was adapted by Giambattista Varesco from a French text by Antoine Danchet, which had been set to music by André Campra as Idoménée in 1712...

premiered with "considerable success" in Munich. The following March the composer was summoned to Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, where his employer, Archbishop Colloredo, was attending the celebrations for the accession of Joseph II
Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor
Joseph II was Holy Roman Emperor from 1765 to 1790 and ruler of the Habsburg lands from 1780 to 1790. He was the eldest son of Empress Maria Theresa and her husband, Francis I...

 to the Austrian throne. Mozart, fresh from the adulation he had earned in Munich, was offended when Colloredo treated him as a mere servant and particularly when the archbishop forbade him to perform before the Emperor at Countess Thun
Maria Wilhelmine Thun
Countess Maria Wilhelmine von Thun und Hohenstein, née Uhlfeldt was a Viennese aristocrat of the 18th century...

's for a fee equal to half of his yearly Salzburg salary. The resulting quarrel came to a head in May: Mozart attempted to resign and was refused. The following month, permission was granted but in a grossly insulting way: the composer was dismissed literally "with a kick in the ass", administered by the archbishop's steward, Count Arco. Mozart decided to settle in Vienna as a freelance performer and composer.

The quarrel with the archbishop went harder for Mozart because his father sided against him. Hoping fervently that he would obediently follow Colloredo back to Salzburg, Mozart's father exchanged intense letters with his son, urging him to be reconciled with their employer. Mozart passionately defended his intention to pursue an independent career in Vienna. The debate ended when Mozart was dismissed by the archbishop, freeing himself both of his employer and his father's demands to return. Solomon characterizes Mozart's resignation as a "revolutionary step", and it greatly altered the course of his life.

Early Vienna years


Mozart's new career in Vienna began well. He performed often as a pianist, notably in a competition before the Emperor with Muzio Clementi
Muzio Clementi
Muzio Clementi was a celebrated composer, pianist, pedagogue, conductor, music publisher, editor, and piano manufacturer. Born in Italy, he spent most of his life in England. He is best known for his piano sonatas, and his collection of piano studies, Gradus ad Parnassum...

 on 24 December 1781, and he soon "had established himself as the finest keyboard player in Vienna". He also prospered as a composer, and in 1782 completed the opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail
Die Entführung aus dem Serail
Die Entführung aus dem Serail is an opera Singspiel in three acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The German libretto is by Christoph Friedrich Bretzner with adaptations by Gottlieb Stephanie...

("The Abduction from the Seraglio"), which premiered on 16 July 1782 and achieved a huge success. The work was soon being performed "throughout German-speaking Europe", and fully established Mozart's reputation as a composer.


Near the height of his quarrels with Colloredo, Mozart moved in with the Weber family, who had moved to Vienna from Mannheim. The father, Fridolin, had died, and the Webers were now taking in lodgers to make ends meet. Aloysia, who had earlier rejected Mozart's suit, was now married to the actor and artist, Joseph Lange
Joseph Lange
Joseph Lange was an actor and amateur painter of the 18th century. Through his marriage to Aloysia Weber, he was the brother-in-law of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.-Life:...

. Mozart's interest shifted to the third Weber daughter, Constanze
Constanze Mozart
Constanze Mozart was the wife of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.-Early years:Constanze Weber was born in Zell im Wiesental. Her mother was Cäcilia Weber, née Stamm. Her father Fridolin Weber worked as a "double bass player, prompter and music copyist." Fridolin's half-brother was the father of composer...

. The courtship did not go entirely smoothly; surviving correspondence indicates that Mozart and Constanze briefly separated in April 1782. Mozart also faced a very difficult task in getting his father's permission for the marriage. The couple were finally married on 4 August 1782 in St. Stephen's Cathedral, the day before his father's consent arrived in the mail.

The couple had six children, of whom only two survived infancy:
  • Raimund Leopold (17 June – 19 August 1783)
  • Karl Thomas Mozart
    Karl Thomas Mozart
    Karl Thomas Mozart was the second son, and the elder of the two surviving sons, of Wolfgang and Constanze Mozart. The other was Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart....

     (21 September 1784 – 31 October 1858)
  • Johann Thomas Leopold (18 October – 15 November 1786)
  • Theresia Constanzia Adelheid Friedericke Maria Anna (27 December 1787 – 29 June 1788)
  • Anna Maria (died soon after birth, 25 December 1789)
  • Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart
    Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart
    Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart , also known as F. X. Mozart, W. A. Mozart Son, or Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Jr., was the youngest child of six born to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his wife Constanze. He was the younger of his parents' two surviving children...

     (26 July 1791 – 29 July 1844)


In the course of 1782 and 1783 Mozart became intimately acquainted with the work of Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity...

 and George Frideric Handel
George Frideric Handel
George Frideric Handel was a German-British Baroque composer, famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Handel was born in 1685, in a family indifferent to music...

 as a result of the influence of Gottfried van Swieten
Gottfried van Swieten
Gottfried, Freiherr van Swieten was a diplomat, librarian, and government official who served the Austrian Empire during the 18th century...

, who owned many manuscripts of the Baroque
Baroque music
Baroque music describes a style of Western Classical music approximately extending from 1600 to 1760. This era follows the Renaissance and was followed in turn by the Classical era...

 masters. Mozart's study of these scores inspired compositions in Baroque style, and later influenced his personal musical language, for example in fugal
Fugue
In music, a fugue is a compositional technique in two or more voices, built on a subject that is introduced at the beginning in imitation and recurs frequently in the course of the composition....

 passages in Die Zauberflöte
The Magic Flute
The Magic Flute is an opera in two acts composed in 1791 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to a German libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder. The work is in the form of a Singspiel, a popular form that included both singing and spoken dialogue....

("The Magic Flute") and the finale of Symphony No. 41
Symphony No. 41 (Mozart)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart completed his Symphony No. 41 in C major, K. 551, on 10 August 1788. It was the last symphony that he composed.The work is nicknamed the Jupiter Symphony...

.

In 1783, Mozart and his wife visited his family in Salzburg. His father and sister were cordially polite to Constanze, but the visit prompted the composition of one of Mozart's great liturgical pieces, the Mass in C minor. Though not completed, it was premiered in Salzburg, with Constanze singing a solo part.

Mozart met Joseph Haydn
Joseph Haydn
Franz Joseph Haydn , known as Joseph Haydn , was an Austrian composer, one of the most prolific and prominent composers of the Classical period. He is often called the "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet" because of his important contributions to these forms...

 in Vienna around 1784, and the two composers became friends. When Haydn visited Vienna, they sometimes played together in an impromptu string quartet
String quartet
A string quartet is a musical ensemble of four string players – usually two violin players, a violist and a cellist – or a piece written to be performed by such a group...

. Mozart's six quartets dedicated to Haydn
Haydn Quartets (Mozart)
The "Haydn" Quartets by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart are a set of six string quartets published in 1785 in Vienna, dedicated to the composer Joseph Haydn. They are considered to be the pinnacle of Classical string quartet writing, containing some of Mozart's most memorable melodic writing and refined...

 (K. 387, K. 421, K. 428, K. 458, K. 464, and K. 465) date from the period 1782 to 1785, and are judged to be a response to Haydn's Opus 33 set from 1781. Haydn in 1785 told Mozart's father: "I tell you before God, and as an honest man, your son is the greatest composer known to me by person and repute, he has taste and what is more the greatest skill in composition." (See also: Haydn and Mozart
Haydn and Mozart
The composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Joseph Haydn were friends. Their relationship is not very well documented, but the evidence that they enjoyed each other's company and greatly respected each other's work is strong.-Background:...

)

From 1782 to 1785 Mozart mounted concerts with himself as soloist, presenting three or four new piano concertos in each season. Since space in the theaters was scarce, he booked unconventional venues: a large room in the Trattnerhof (an apartment building), and the ballroom of the Mehlgrube (a restaurant). The concerts were very popular, and the concertos he premiered at them
Mozart piano concertos
The Mozart piano concertos refer to the 27 concertos for piano and orchestra written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. These works, many of which Mozart composed for himself to play in the Vienna concert series of 1784–86, held a special place for him; indeed, Mozart's father apparently interrupted him...

 are still firm fixtures in the repertoire. Solomon writes that during this period Mozart created "a harmonious connection between an eager composer-performer and a delighted audience, which was given the opportunity of witnessing the transformation and perfection of a major musical genre".

With substantial returns from his concerts and elsewhere, Mozart and his wife adopted a rather plush lifestyle. They moved to an expensive apartment, with a yearly rent of 460 florins. Mozart also bought a fine fortepiano
Fortepiano
Fortepiano designates the early version of the piano, from its invention by the Italian instrument maker Bartolomeo Cristofori around 1700 up to the early 19th century. It was the instrument for which Haydn, Mozart, and the early Beethoven wrote their piano music...

 from Anton Walter
Anton Walter
Anton Walter was a builder of pianos. The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians describes him as "the most famous Viennese piano maker of his time".-Life:...

 for about 900 florins, and a billiard table for about 300. The Mozarts sent their son Karl Thomas
Karl Thomas Mozart
Karl Thomas Mozart was the second son, and the elder of the two surviving sons, of Wolfgang and Constanze Mozart. The other was Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart....

 to an expensive boarding school, and kept servants. Saving was therefore impossible, and the short period of financial success did nothing to soften the hardship the Mozarts were later to experience.

On 14 December 1784, Mozart became a Freemason
Freemasonry
Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation that arose from obscure origins in the late 16th to early 17th century. Freemasonry now exists in various forms all over the world, with a membership estimated at around six million, including approximately 150,000 under the jurisdictions of the Grand Lodge...

, admitted to the lodge Zur Wohltätigkeit ("Beneficence"). Freemasonry played an important role in the remainder of Mozart's life: he attended meetings, a number of his friends were Masons, and on various occasions he composed Masonic music. (See also: Mozart and Freemasonry
Mozart and Freemasonry
For the last seven years of his life Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a Mason. The Masonic order played an important role in his life and work.-Mozart's lodges:...

)

1786–1787: Return to opera


Despite the great success of Die Entführung aus dem Serail
Die Entführung aus dem Serail
Die Entführung aus dem Serail is an opera Singspiel in three acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The German libretto is by Christoph Friedrich Bretzner with adaptations by Gottlieb Stephanie...

, Mozart did little operatic writing for the next four years, producing only two unfinished works and the one-act Der Schauspieldirektor
Der Schauspieldirektor
Der Schauspieldirektor , K. 486, is a comic Singspiel written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to a German libretto by Gottlieb Stephanie, an Austrian Schauspieldirektor....

. He focused instead on his career as a piano soloist and writer of concertos. However, around the end of 1785, Mozart moved away from keyboard writing and began his famous operatic collaboration with the librettist
Libretto
A libretto is the text used in an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata, or musical. The term "libretto" is also sometimes used to refer to the text of major liturgical works, such as mass, requiem, and sacred cantata, or even the story line of a...

 Lorenzo Da Ponte
Lorenzo Da Ponte
Lorenzo Da Ponte was a Venetian opera librettist and poet. He wrote the librettos for 28 operas by 11 composers, including three of Mozart's greatest operas, Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro and Così fan tutte....

. 1786 saw the successful premiere of The Marriage of Figaro
The Marriage of Figaro
Le nozze di Figaro, ossia la folle giornata , K. 492, is an opera buffa composed in 1786 in four acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte, based on a stage comedy by Pierre Beaumarchais, La folle journée, ou le Mariage de Figaro .Although the play by...

in Vienna. Its reception in Prague
Mozart and Prague
The composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is often said to have had a special relationship with the city of Prague and its people. Mozart biographer Maynard Solomon writes of...

 later in the year was even warmer, and this led to a second collaboration with Da Ponte: the opera Don Giovanni
Don Giovanni
Don Giovanni is an opera in two acts with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and with an Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte. It was premiered by the Prague Italian opera at the Teatro di Praga on October 29, 1787...

, which premiered in October 1787 to acclaim in Prague, and also met with success in Vienna in 1788. The two are among Mozart's most important works and are mainstays of the operatic repertoire today, though at their premieres their musical complexity caused difficulty for both listeners and performers. These developments were not witnessed by Mozart's father, who had died on 28 May 1787.

In December 1787, Mozart finally obtained a steady post under aristocratic patronage. Emperor Joseph II appointed him as his "chamber composer", a post that had fallen vacant the previous month on the death of Gluck
Christoph Willibald Gluck
Christoph Willibald Ritter von Gluck was an opera composer of the early classical period. After many years at the Habsburg court at Vienna, Gluck brought about the practical reform of opera's dramaturgical practices that many intellectuals had been campaigning for over the years...

. It was a part-time appointment, paying just 800 florins per year, and only required Mozart to compose dances for the annual balls in the Redoutensaal. However, even this modest income became important to Mozart when hard times arrived. Court records show that Joseph's aim was to keep the esteemed composer from leaving Vienna in pursuit of better prospects.

In 1787 the young Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential composers of all time.Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of...

 spent several weeks in Vienna, hoping to study with Mozart. No reliable records survive to indicate whether the two composers ever met. (See also section "Influence" below)

1788–1790



Toward the end of the decade, Mozart's circumstances worsened. Around 1786 he had ceased to appear frequently in public concerts, and his income shrank. This was a difficult time for musicians in Vienna because Austria was at war, and both the general level of prosperity and the ability of the aristocracy to support music had declined.

By mid-1788, Mozart and his family had moved from central Vienna to the suburb of Alsergrund
Alsergrund
Alsergrund is the ninth district of Vienna, Austria . It is located just north of the first, central district, Innere Stadt. Alsergrund was incorporated in 1862, with seven suburbs. The area is densely populated, with a lot of government-built housing. According to the census of 2001, there were...

. Although it has been thought that Mozart reduced his rental expenses, recent research shows that by moving to the suburb Mozart had certainly not reduced his expenses (as claimed in his letter to Puchberg
Michael von Puchberg
Johann Michael von Puchberg was a textile merchant who lived in Vienna in the 18th and early 19th centuries...

), but merely increased the housing space at his disposal. Mozart began to borrow money, most often from his friend and fellow Mason Michael Puchberg
Michael von Puchberg
Johann Michael von Puchberg was a textile merchant who lived in Vienna in the 18th and early 19th centuries...

; "a pitiful sequence of letters pleading for loans" survives. Maynard Solomon and others have suggested that Mozart was suffering from depression, and it seems that his output slowed. Major works of the period include the last three symphonies (Nos. 39
Symphony No. 39 (Mozart)
The Symphony No. 39 in E-flat major of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, K. 543, was completed on 26 June 1788.-Composition and premiere:The 39th Symphony is the first of a set of three that Mozart composed in rapid succession during the summer of 1788. No. 40 was completed 25 July and No. 41 on 10...

, 40
Symphony No. 40 (Mozart)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote his Symphony No. 40 in G minor, KV. 550, in 1788. It is sometimes referred to as the "Great G minor symphony," to distinguish it from the "Little G minor symphony," No. 25. The two are the only minor key symphonies Mozart wrote....

, and 41
Symphony No. 41 (Mozart)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart completed his Symphony No. 41 in C major, K. 551, on 10 August 1788. It was the last symphony that he composed.The work is nicknamed the Jupiter Symphony...

, all from 1788), and the last of the three Da Ponte operas, Così fan tutte
Così fan tutte
Così fan tutte, ossia La scuola degli amanti K. 588, is an opera buffa by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart first performed in 1790. The libretto was written by Lorenzo Da Ponte....

, premiered in 1790.

Around this time Mozart made long journeys hoping to improve his fortunes: to Leipzig
Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

, Dresden
Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

, and Berlin in the spring of 1789, and to Frankfurt
Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

, Mannheim, and other German cities in 1790. The trips produced only isolated success and did not relieve the family's financial distress. (See also: Mozart's Berlin journey
Mozart's Berlin journey
One of the longest adulthood journeys of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a visit, beginning in Spring 1789, to a series of cities lying northward of his adopted home in Vienna: Prague, Leipzig, Dresden, and Berlin.-Departure:...

)

1791


Mozart's last year was, until his final illness struck, a time of great productivity—and by some accounts a time of personal recovery. He composed a great deal, including some of his most admired works: the opera The Magic Flute
The Magic Flute
The Magic Flute is an opera in two acts composed in 1791 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to a German libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder. The work is in the form of a Singspiel, a popular form that included both singing and spoken dialogue....

, the final piano concerto (K. 595 in B-flat
Piano Concerto No. 27 (Mozart)
The Piano Concerto No. 27 in B flat major, K. 595, is a concertante work by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, for piano or fortepiano and orchestra, the last piano concerto he wrote.-Time of composition:The manuscript is dated 5 January 1791...

), the Clarinet Concerto
Clarinet Concerto (Mozart)
Mozart's Clarinet concerto in A major, K. 622 was written in 1791 for the clarinetist Anton Stadler.It consists of the usual three movements, in a fast–slow–fast form:# Allegro# Adagio# Rondo: Allegro...

 K. 622, the last in his great series of string quintets (K. 614 in E-flat
String Quintet No. 6 (Mozart)
The String Quintet No. 6 in E-flat major, K. 614, was completed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart on April 12, 1791. It is Mozart's last major chamber work. Like all of Mozart's string quintets, it is a "viola quintet" in that it is scored for string quartet and an extra viola .-Movements:The work is in...

), the motet Ave verum corpus
Ave verum corpus (Mozart)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Ave verum corpus in D major was written for Anton Stoll who was musical co-ordinator in the parish of Baden bei Wien, near Vienna. This setting of the Ave verum corpus text was composed to celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi and the autograph is dated 17 June 1791...

 K. 618, and the unfinished Requiem
Requiem (Mozart)
The Requiem Mass in D minor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was composed in Vienna in 1791 and left unfinished at the composer's death. A completion by Franz Xaver Süssmayr was delivered to Count Franz von Walsegg, who had anonymously commissioned the piece for a requiem Mass to commemorate the...

 K. 626.

Mozart's financial situation, a source of extreme anxiety in 1790, finally began to improve. Although the evidence is inconclusive, it appears that wealthy patrons in Hungary and Amsterdam pledged annuities to Mozart in return for the occasional composition. He probably also benefited from the sale of dance music written in his role as Imperial chamber composer. Mozart no longer borrowed large sums from Puchberg, and made a start on paying off his debts.

He experienced great satisfaction in the public success of some of his works, notably The Magic Flute (performed many times in the short period between its premiere and Mozart's death) and the Little Masonic Cantata K. 623, premiered on 15 November 1791.

Final illness and death




Mozart fell ill while in Prague for the premiere on 6 September of his opera La clemenza di Tito
La clemenza di Tito
La clemenza di Tito , K. 621, is an opera seria in two acts composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to an Italian libretto by Caterino Mazzolà, after Metastasio...

, written in 1791 on commission for the Emperor's coronation festivities. He was able to continue his professional functions for some time, and conducted the premiere of The Magic Flute
The Magic Flute
The Magic Flute is an opera in two acts composed in 1791 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to a German libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder. The work is in the form of a Singspiel, a popular form that included both singing and spoken dialogue....

on 30 September. The illness intensified on 20 November, at which point Mozart became bedridden, suffering from swelling, pain, and vomiting.

Mozart was nursed in his final illness by his wife and her youngest sister, and was attended by the family doctor, Thomas Franz Closset. It is clear that he was mentally occupied with the task of finishing his Requiem
Requiem (Mozart)
The Requiem Mass in D minor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was composed in Vienna in 1791 and left unfinished at the composer's death. A completion by Franz Xaver Süssmayr was delivered to Count Franz von Walsegg, who had anonymously commissioned the piece for a requiem Mass to commemorate the...

. The evidence, however, that he actually dictated passages to his student Süssmayr
Franz Xaver Süssmayr
Franz Xaver Süssmayr was an Austrian composer, now famous for his completion of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Requiem.-Early life:...

 is minimal.

Mozart died at 1 am on 5 December 1791 at the age of 35. The New Grove
Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians
The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians is an encyclopedic dictionary of music and musicians. Along with the German-language Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, it is the largest single reference work on Western music. The dictionary has gone through several editions since the 19th century...

 gives a matter-of-fact description of his funeral:
Mozart was buried in a common grave, in accordance with contemporary Viennese custom, at the St. Marx Cemetery
St. Marx cemetery
St. Marx Cemetery is a cemetery in the Landstraße district of Vienna, used from 1784 until 1874. It was named after a nearby almshouse.-History:...

 outside the city on 7 December. If, as later reports say, no mourners attended, that too is consistent with Viennese burial customs at the time; later Jahn (1856) wrote that Salieri
Antonio Salieri
Antonio Salieri was a Venetian classical composer, conductor and teacher born in Legnago, south of Verona, in the Republic of Venice, but who spent his adult life and career as a faithful subject of the Habsburg monarchy....

, Süssmayr, van Swieten and two other musicians were present. The tale of a storm and snow is false; the day was calm and mild.


The cause of Mozart's death cannot be known with certainty. The official record has it as "hitziges Frieselfieber" ("severe miliary fever", referring to a rash that looks like millet seeds), a description that does not suffice to identify the cause as it would be diagnosed in modern medicine. Researchers have posited at least 118 causes of death, including trichinosis
Trichinosis
Trichinosis, also called trichinellosis, or trichiniasis, is a parasitic disease caused by eating raw or undercooked pork or wild game infected with the larvae of a species of roundworm Trichinella spiralis, commonly called the trichina worm. There are eight Trichinella species; five are...

, influenza
Influenza
Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is an infectious disease caused by RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae , that affects birds and mammals...

, mercury poisoning
Mercury poisoning
Mercury poisoning is a disease caused by exposure to mercury or its compounds. Mercury is a heavy metal occurring in several forms, all of which can produce toxic effects in high enough doses...

, and a rare kidney ailment. The most widely accepted hypothesis is that Mozart died of acute rheumatic fever
Rheumatic fever
Rheumatic fever is an inflammatory disease that occurs following a Streptococcus pyogenes infection, such as strep throat or scarlet fever. Believed to be caused by antibody cross-reactivity that can involve the heart, joints, skin, and brain, the illness typically develops two to three weeks after...

.

Mozart's modest funeral did not reflect his standing with the public as a composer: memorial services and concerts in Vienna and Prague were well attended. Indeed, in the period immediately after his death, Mozart's reputation rose substantially: Solomon describes an "unprecedented wave of enthusiasm" for his work; biographies were written (first by Schlichtegroll
Friedrich Schlichtegroll
Adolf Heinrich Friedrich Schlichtegroll was a teacher, scholar and the first biographer of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. His brief account of Mozart's life was published in a volume of twelve obituaries Schlichtegroll prepared and called Nekrolog auf das Jahr 1791...

, Niemetschek
Franz Xaver Niemetschek
Franz Xaver Niemetschek was a Czech philosopher, teacher and music critic. He wrote the first full-length biography of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart which has remained an important source of information about the composer.-Life:Niemetschek came from a large, musical family...

, and Nissen
Georg Nikolaus von Nissen
Georg Nikolaus von Nissen was a Danish diplomat and music historian...

; see Biographies of Mozart
Biographies of Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died after a short illness on 5 December 1791. His reputation as a composer, already strong during his lifetime, rose rapidly in the years after his death, and he became one of the most celebrated of all composers.Shortly after Mozart's death, biographers began to piece...

); and publishers vied to produce complete editions of his works.

Appearance and character



Mozart's physical appearance was described by tenor Michael Kelly, in his Reminiscences: "a remarkably small man, very thin and pale, with a profusion of fine, fair hair of which he was rather vain". As his early biographer Niemetschek wrote, "there was nothing special about [his] physique. [...] He was small and his countenance, except for his large intense eyes, gave no signs of his genius." His facial complexion was pitted, a reminder of his childhood case of smallpox
Mozart and smallpox
In 1767, the 11-year old composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was struck by smallpox. Like all smallpox victims, he was at serious risk of dying, but he survived the disease...

. He loved elegant clothing. Kelly remembered him at a rehearsal: "[He] was on the stage with his crimson pelisse
Pelisse
A pelisse was originally a short fur lined or fur trimmed jacket that was usually worn hanging loose over the left shoulder of hussar light cavalry soldiers, ostensibly to prevent sword cuts. It was fastened there using a lanyard...

 and gold-laced cocked hat
Bicorne
The bicorne or bicorn is an archaic form of hat widely adopted in the 1790s as an item of uniform by European and American military and naval officers...

, giving the time of the music to the orchestra." Of his voice his wife later wrote that it "was a tenor, rather soft in speaking and delicate in singing, but when anything excited him, or it became necessary to exert it, it was both powerful and energetic".

Mozart usually worked long and hard, finishing compositions at a tremendous pace as deadlines approached. He often made sketches and drafts; unlike Beethoven's these are mostly not preserved, as his wife sought to destroy them after his death.He was raised a Roman Catholic and remained a member of the Church throughout his life. (See also: Mozart and Roman Catholicism
Mozart and Roman Catholicism
The celebrated composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was raised Roman Catholic and remained a loyal member of the Catholic Church throughout his life.-Catholic upbringing:...

)

Mozart lived at the center of the Viennese musical world, and knew a great number and variety of people: fellow musicians, theatrical performers, fellow Salzburgers, and aristocrats, including some acquaintance with the Emperor Joseph II
Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor
Joseph II was Holy Roman Emperor from 1765 to 1790 and ruler of the Habsburg lands from 1780 to 1790. He was the eldest son of Empress Maria Theresa and her husband, Francis I...

. Solomon considers his three closest friends to have been Gottfried von Jacquin, Count August Hatzfeld, and Sigmund Barisani; others included his older colleague Joseph Haydn
Joseph Haydn
Franz Joseph Haydn , known as Joseph Haydn , was an Austrian composer, one of the most prolific and prominent composers of the Classical period. He is often called the "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet" because of his important contributions to these forms...

, singers Franz Xaver Gerl
Franz Xaver Gerl
Franz Xaver Gerl was a bass singer and composer of the classical era. He sang the role of Sarastro in the premiere of Mozart's opera The Magic Flute.-Life:...

 and Benedikt Schack
Benedikt Schack
Benedikt Schack was a composer and tenor of the Classical era, a close friend of Mozart and the first performer of the role of Tamino in Mozart's opera The Magic Flute.- Early life :...

, and the horn player Joseph Leutgeb. Leutgeb and Mozart carried on a curious kind of friendly mockery, often with Leutgeb as the butt of Mozart's practical joke
Practical joke
A practical joke is a mischievous trick played on someone, typically causing the victim to experience embarrassment, indignity, or discomfort. Practical jokes differ from confidence tricks in that the victim finds out, or is let in on the joke, rather than being fooled into handing over money or...

s.

He enjoyed billiards
Billiards
Cue sports , also known as billiard sports, are a wide variety of games of skill generally played with a cue stick which is used to strike billiard balls, moving them around a cloth-covered billiards table bounded by rubber .Historically, the umbrella term was billiards...

 and dancing, and kept pets: a canary, a starling
Mozart's starling
For about three years the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart kept a pet starling. The first record of the starling is the entry Mozart made in his expense book when he bought it on 27 May 1784:...

, a dog, and also a horse for recreational riding. He had a startling fondness for scatological humor, which is preserved in his surviving letters, notably those written to his cousin Maria Anna Thekla Mozart
Maria Anna Thekla Mozart
Maria Anna Thekla Mozart , called Marianne, known as Bäsle , was the cousin of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart....

 around 1777–1778, but also in his correspondence with his sister and parents. Mozart even wrote scatological music, a series of canons
Canon (music)
In music, a canon is a contrapuntal composition that employs a melody with one or more imitations of the melody played after a given duration . The initial melody is called the leader , while the imitative melody, which is played in a different voice, is called the follower...

 that he sang with his friends. (See also: Mozart and scatology
Mozart and scatology
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart displayed scatological humor in his letters and a few recreational compositions. This material has long been a puzzle for Mozart scholarship...

)

Rumors of Tourette Syndrome


Although some authors have speculated Mozart had Tourette syndrome
Tourette syndrome
Tourette syndrome is an inherited neuropsychiatric disorder with onset in childhood, characterized by multiple physical tics and at least one vocal tic; these tics characteristically wax and wane...

, evidence for this hypothesis is lacking. Endocrinologist Benjamin Simkin, however, argues in his book, Medical and Musical Byways of Mozartiana, that Mozart suffered from Tourette's. This claim was picked up by newspapers worldwide and internet websites have further fueled the speculation. A German psychiatrist examined the question of Mozart's diagnoses and concluded, "Tourette’s syndrome is an inventive but implausible diagnosis in the medical history of Mozart". Evidence of a motor tic
Tic
A tic is a sudden, repetitive, nonrhythmic, stereotyped motor movement or vocalization involving discrete muscle groups. Tics can be invisible to the observer, such as abdominal tensing or toe crunching. Common motor and phonic tics are, respectively, eye blinking and throat clearing...

 was found lacking and the notion that involuntary vocal tics transferred to the written form was labeled "problematic". Neurologist and author Oliver Sacks
Oliver Sacks
Oliver Wolf Sacks, CBE , is a British neurologist and psychologist residing in New York City. He is a professor of neurology and psychiatry at Columbia University, where he also holds the position of Columbia Artist...

 published an editorial disputing Simkin's claim, and the Tourette Syndrome Association
Tourette Syndrome Association
The Tourette Syndrome Association , based in Bayside, New York, United States, is a non-profit voluntary organization and the only national health-related organization serving people with Tourette syndrome. It was founded in 1972 by five couples, parents of children with Tourette syndrome...

 pointed to the speculative nature of such information. So far, no expert on Tourette's or organization has voiced concurrence that there is credible evidence to conclude Mozart had the syndrome.

Works, musical style, and innovations



Style



Mozart's music, like Haydn
Joseph Haydn
Franz Joseph Haydn , known as Joseph Haydn , was an Austrian composer, one of the most prolific and prominent composers of the Classical period. He is often called the "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet" because of his important contributions to these forms...

's, stands as an archetype of the Classical style. At the time he began composing, European music was dominated by the style galant
Galant
In music, Galant was a term referring to a style, principally occurring in the third quarter of the 18th century, which featured a return to classical simplicity after the complexity of the late Baroque era...

, a reaction against the highly evolved intricacy of the Baroque
Baroque music
Baroque music describes a style of Western Classical music approximately extending from 1600 to 1760. This era follows the Renaissance and was followed in turn by the Classical era...

. Progressively, and in large part at the hands of Mozart himself, the contrapuntal
Counterpoint
In music, counterpoint is the relationship between two or more voices that are independent in contour and rhythm and are harmonically interdependent . It has been most commonly identified in classical music, developing strongly during the Renaissance and in much of the common practice period,...

 complexities of the late Baroque emerged once more, moderated and disciplined by new forms
Musical form
The term musical form refers to the overall structure or plan of a piece of music, and it describes the layout of a composition as divided into sections...

, and adapted to a new aesthetic and social milieu. Mozart was a versatile composer, and wrote in every major genre, including symphony
Symphony
A symphony is an extended musical composition in Western classical music, scored almost always for orchestra. A symphony usually contains at least one movement or episode composed according to the sonata principle...

, opera, the solo concerto, chamber music including string quartet
String quartet
A string quartet is a musical ensemble of four string players – usually two violin players, a violist and a cellist – or a piece written to be performed by such a group...

 and string quintet
String quintet
A string quintet is a musical composition for a standard string quartet supplemented by a fifth string instrument, usually a second viola or a second cello , but occasionally a double bass. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who favoured addition of a viola, is considered a pioneer of the form...

, and the piano sonata
Sonata
Sonata , in music, literally means a piece played as opposed to a cantata , a piece sung. The term, being vague, naturally evolved through the history of music, designating a variety of forms prior to the Classical era...

. These forms were not new, but Mozart advanced their technical sophistication and emotional reach. He almost single-handedly developed and popularized the Classical piano concerto
Mozart piano concertos
The Mozart piano concertos refer to the 27 concertos for piano and orchestra written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. These works, many of which Mozart composed for himself to play in the Vienna concert series of 1784–86, held a special place for him; indeed, Mozart's father apparently interrupted him...

. He wrote a great deal of religious music
Religious music
Religious music is music performed or composed for religious use or through religious influence.A lot of music has been composed to complement religion, and many composers have derived inspiration from their own religion. Many forms of traditional music have been adapted to fit religions'...

, including large-scale masses
Mass (music)
The Mass, a form of sacred musical composition, is a choral composition that sets the invariable portions of the Eucharistic liturgy to music...

, but also dances, divertimenti
Divertimento
Divertimento is a musical genre, with most of its examples from the 18th century. The mood of the divertimento is most often lighthearted and it is generally composed for a small ensemble....

, serenade
Serenade
In music, a serenade is a musical composition, and/or performance, in someone's honor. Serenades are typically calm, light music.The word Serenade is derived from the Italian word sereno, which means calm....

s, and other forms of light entertainment.

The central traits of the Classical style are all present in Mozart's music. Clarity, balance, and transparency are the hallmarks of his work, but simplistic notions of its delicacy mask the exceptional power of his finest masterpieces, such as the Piano Concerto No. 24
Piano Concerto No. 24 (Mozart)
The Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K. 491 is a concertante work for piano, or pianoforte, and orchestra by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Mozart composed the concerto in the winter of 1785–1786 and completed the work on 24 March 1786...

 in C minor, K. 491, the Symphony No. 40
Symphony No. 40 (Mozart)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote his Symphony No. 40 in G minor, KV. 550, in 1788. It is sometimes referred to as the "Great G minor symphony," to distinguish it from the "Little G minor symphony," No. 25. The two are the only minor key symphonies Mozart wrote....

 in G minor, K. 550, and the opera Don Giovanni
Don Giovanni
Don Giovanni is an opera in two acts with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and with an Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte. It was premiered by the Prague Italian opera at the Teatro di Praga on October 29, 1787...

. Charles Rosen
Charles Rosen
Charles Rosen is an American pianist and author on music.-Life and career:In his youth he studied piano with Moriz Rosenthal. Rosenthal, born in 1862, had been a student of Franz Liszt...

 makes the point forcefully:
It is only through recognizing the violence and sensuality at the center of Mozart's work that we can make a start towards a comprehension of his structures and an insight into his magnificence. In a paradoxical way, Schumann
Robert Schumann
Robert Schumann, sometimes known as Robert Alexander Schumann, was a German composer, aesthete and influential music critic. He is regarded as one of the greatest and most representative composers of the Romantic era....

's superficial characterization of the [second] G minor Symphony can help us to see Mozart's daemon more steadily. In all of Mozart's supreme expressions of suffering and terror, there is something shockingly voluptuous.

Especially during his last decade, Mozart exploited chromatic
Chromaticism
Chromaticism is a compositional technique interspersing the primary diatonic pitches and chords with other pitches of the chromatic scale. Chromaticism is in contrast or addition to tonality or diatonicism...

 harmony to a degree rare at the time, with remarkable assurance and to great artistic effect.

Mozart always had a gift for absorbing and adapting valuable features of others' music. His travels helped in the forging of a unique compositional language. In London as a child, he met J.C. Bach
Johann Christian Bach
Johann Christian Bach was a composer of the Classical era, the eleventh and youngest son of Johann Sebastian Bach. He is sometimes referred to as 'the London Bach' or 'the English Bach', due to his time spent living in the British capital...

 and heard his music. In Paris, Mannheim, and Vienna he met with other compositional influences, as well as the avant-garde capabilities of the Mannheim orchestra
Mannheim school
Mannheim school refers to both the orchestral techniques pioneered by the court orchestra of Mannheim in the latter half of the 18th century as well as the group of composers who wrote such music for the orchestra of Mannheim and others.-History:...

. In Italy he encountered the Italian overture
Italian overture
The Italian overture is a piece of orchestral music with which in the late 17th and early 18th centuries several operas, oratorios and other large-scale works opened....

 and opera buffa
Opera buffa
Opera buffa is a genre of opera. It was first used as an informal description of Italian comic operas variously classified by their authors as ‘commedia in musica’, ‘commedia per musica’, ‘dramma bernesco’, ‘dramma comico’, ‘divertimento giocoso' etc...

, both of which deeply affected the evolution of his own practice. In London and Italy, the galant style was in the ascendent: simple, light music with a mania for cadencing
Cadence (music)
In Western musical theory, a cadence is, "a melodic or harmonic configuration that creates a sense of repose or resolution [finality or pause]." A harmonic cadence is a progression of two chords that concludes a phrase, section, or piece of music...

; an emphasis on tonic, dominant, and subdominant to the exclusion of other harmonies; symmetrical phrases; and clearly articulated partitions in the overall form of movements. Some of Mozart's early symphonies are Italian overture
Italian overture
The Italian overture is a piece of orchestral music with which in the late 17th and early 18th centuries several operas, oratorios and other large-scale works opened....

s, with three movements running into each other; many are homotonal
Homotonal
Homotonal is a technical musical term pertaining to the tonal structure of multi-movement compositions. It was introduced into musicology by Hans Keller...

 (all three movements having the same key signature, with the slow middle movement being in the relative minor
Relative key
In music, relative keys are the major and minor scales that have the same key signatures. A major and minor scale sharing the same key signature are said to be in a relative relationship...

). Others mimic the works of J.C. Bach, and others show the simple rounded binary forms
Binary form
Binary form is a musical form in two related sections, both of which are usually repeated. Binary is also a structure used to choreograph dance....

 turned out by Viennese composers.

As Mozart matured, he progressively incorporated more features adapted from the Baroque. For example, the Symphony No. 29 in A major
Symphony No. 29 (Mozart)
The Symphony No. 29 in A major, K. 201/186a, was completed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart on 6 April 1774. It is, along with Symphony No. 25, one of his better known early symphonies. Stanley Sadie characterizes it as "a landmark .....

 K. 201 has a contrapuntal main theme in its first movement, and experimentation with irregular phrase lengths. Some of his quartets from 1773 have fugal finales, probably influenced by Haydn, who had included three such finales in his recently published Opus 20 set. The influence of the Sturm und Drang
Sturm und Drang
Sturm und Drang is a proto-Romantic movement in German literature and music taking place from the late 1760s through the early 1780s, in which individual subjectivity and, in particular, extremes of emotion were given free expression in reaction to the perceived constraints of rationalism...

("Storm and Stress") period in music, with its brief foreshadowing of the Romantic era
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

, is evident in the music of both composers at that time. Mozart's Symphony No. 25 in G minor
Symphony No. 25 (Mozart)
The Symphony No. 25 in G minor, K. 183/173dB, was written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in October 1773, shortly after the success of his opera seria Lucio Silla. It was supposedly completed October 5, a mere two days after the completion of his Symphony No. 24, although this remains unsubstantiated...

 K. 183 is another excellent example.

Mozart would sometimes switch his focus between operas and instrumental music. He produced operas in each of the prevailing styles: opera buffa
Opera buffa
Opera buffa is a genre of opera. It was first used as an informal description of Italian comic operas variously classified by their authors as ‘commedia in musica’, ‘commedia per musica’, ‘dramma bernesco’, ‘dramma comico’, ‘divertimento giocoso' etc...

, such as The Marriage of Figaro
The Marriage of Figaro
Le nozze di Figaro, ossia la folle giornata , K. 492, is an opera buffa composed in 1786 in four acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte, based on a stage comedy by Pierre Beaumarchais, La folle journée, ou le Mariage de Figaro .Although the play by...

, Don Giovanni
Don Giovanni
Don Giovanni is an opera in two acts with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and with an Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte. It was premiered by the Prague Italian opera at the Teatro di Praga on October 29, 1787...

, and Così fan tutte
Così fan tutte
Così fan tutte, ossia La scuola degli amanti K. 588, is an opera buffa by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart first performed in 1790. The libretto was written by Lorenzo Da Ponte....

; opera seria
Opera seria
Opera seria is an Italian musical term which refers to the noble and "serious" style of Italian opera that predominated in Europe from the 1710s to c. 1770...

, such as Idomeneo
Idomeneo
Idomeneo, re di Creta ossia Ilia e Idamante is an Italian language opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The libretto was adapted by Giambattista Varesco from a French text by Antoine Danchet, which had been set to music by André Campra as Idoménée in 1712...

; and Singspiel
Singspiel
A Singspiel is a form of German-language music drama, now regarded as a genre of opera...

, of which Die Zauberflöte
The Magic Flute
The Magic Flute is an opera in two acts composed in 1791 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to a German libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder. The work is in the form of a Singspiel, a popular form that included both singing and spoken dialogue....

is the most famous example by any composer. In his later operas he employed subtle changes in instrumentation, orchestral texture, and tone color
Timbre
In music, timbre is the quality of a musical note or sound or tone that distinguishes different types of sound production, such as voices and musical instruments, such as string instruments, wind instruments, and percussion instruments. The physical characteristics of sound that determine the...

, for emotional depth and to mark dramatic shifts. Here his advances in opera and instrumental composing interacted: his increasingly sophisticated use of the orchestra in the symphonies and concertos influenced his operatic orchestration, and his developing subtlety in using the orchestra to psychological effect in his operas was in turn reflected in his later non-operatic compositions.

Influence


Mozart's most famous pupil, whom the Mozarts took into their Vienna home for two years as a child, was probably Johann Nepomuk Hummel
Johann Nepomuk Hummel
Johann Nepomuk Hummel or Jan Nepomuk Hummel was an Austrian composer and virtuoso pianist. His music reflects the transition from the Classical to the Romantic musical era.- Life :...

, a transitional figure between Classical and Romantic eras. More important is the influence Mozart had on composers of later generations. Ever since the surge in his reputation after his death, studying his scores has been a standard part of the training of classical musicians.

Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential composers of all time.Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of...

, Mozart's junior by fifteen years, was deeply influenced by his work, with which he was acquainted as a teenager. He is thought to have performed Mozart's operas while playing in the court orchestra at Bonn
Bonn
Bonn is the 19th largest city in Germany. Located in the Cologne/Bonn Region, about 25 kilometres south of Cologne on the river Rhine in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, it was the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990 and the official seat of government of united Germany from 1990 to 1999....

, and he traveled to Vienna in 1787 hoping to study with the older composer. Some of Beethoven's works have direct models in comparable works by Mozart, and he wrote cadenzas
Cadenza
In music, a cadenza is, generically, an improvised or written-out ornamental passage played or sung by a soloist or soloists, usually in a "free" rhythmic style, and often allowing for virtuosic display....

 (WoO
WoO
WoO is an acronym/abbreviation, derived from the German musical catalog phrase . WoO is a catalogue prepared in 1955 by Hans Halm and Georg Kinsky, listing all of the compositions of Ludwig van Beethoven that were not originally published with an opus number, or survived only as fragments.The...

 58) to Mozart's D minor piano concerto K. 466
Piano Concerto No. 20 (Mozart)
The Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466, was written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1785. The first performance took place at the Mehlgrube Casino in Vienna on February 11, 1785, with the composer as the soloist.-Background:...

.

A number of composers have paid homage to Mozart by writing sets of variations
Variation (music)
In music, variation is a formal technique where material is repeated in an altered form. The changes may involve harmony, melody, counterpoint, rhythm, timbre, orchestration or any combination of these.-Variation form:...

 on his themes. Beethoven wrote four such sets (Op. 66, WoO 28, WoO 40, WoO 46). Others include Frédéric Chopin
Frédéric Chopin
Frédéric François Chopin was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist. He is considered one of the great masters of Romantic music and has been called "the poet of the piano"....

's Variations on "Là ci darem la mano
Variations on "Là ci darem la mano" (Chopin)
Frédéric Chopin's Variations on "Là ci darem la mano" for piano and orchestra, Op. 2, was written in 1827, when he was aged only 17. It was one of the earliest manifestations of Chopin's incipient genius...

" from Don Giovanni
Don Giovanni
Don Giovanni is an opera in two acts with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and with an Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte. It was premiered by the Prague Italian opera at the Teatro di Praga on October 29, 1787...

(1827) and Max Reger
Max Reger
Johann Baptist Joseph Maximilian Reger was a German composer, conductor, pianist, organist, and academic teacher.-Life:...

's Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Mozart
Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Mozart
The Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Mozart, Op. 132, is a set of variations for orchestra composed in 1914 by Max Reger; the composer conducted the premiere in Berlin on February 5, 1915.-Description:...

 (1914), based on the variation theme in the piano sonata K. 331
Piano Sonata No. 11 (Mozart)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Piano Sonata No. 11 in A major, K 331 is a sonata in three movements:#Andante grazioso — a theme with six variations#Menuetto — a minuet and trio#Alla Turca: Allegretto in A minor and major....

. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian: Пётр Ильи́ч Чайко́вский ; often "Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky" in English. His names are also transliterated "Piotr" or "Petr"; "Ilitsch", "Il'ich" or "Illyich"; and "Tschaikowski", "Tschaikowsky", "Chajkovskij"...

 wrote his Orchestral Suite No. 4 in G, "Mozartiana" (1887), as a tribute to Mozart.

Köchel catalogue



For unambiguous identification of works by Mozart, a Köchel catalogue number is used. This is a unique number assigned, in regular chronological order, to every one of his known works. A work is referenced by the abbreviation "K." followed by this number. The first edition of the catalogue was completed in 1862 by Ludwig von Köchel
Ludwig Ritter von Köchel
Ludwig Alois Ferdinand Ritter von Köchel was a musicologist, writer, composer, botanist and publisher. He is best known for cataloguing the works of Mozart and originating the 'K-numbers' by which they are known ....

. It has since been repeatedly updated, as scholarly research improves knowledge of the dates and authenticity of individual works.

See also


  • Mozart and dance
    Mozart and dance
    The composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote a great deal of dance music. This article covers the types of dances that Mozart wrote, their musical characteristics, and their reception by the public both in Mozart's day and in modern times. Mozart's dance compositions relate to a personal trait of...

  • The Complete Mozart Edition
    The Complete Mozart Edition
    To commemorate the bicentenary of the death of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Philips Classics Records assembled The Complete Mozart Edition comprising 180 compact discs arranged into 45 themed volumes. Each volume in the series is accompanied by a deluxe booklet with detailed information about the...

    , 180 compact discs arranged into 45 themed volumes released by Philips Classics Records
    Philips Classics Records
    Philips Classics Records was started in the 1980s as the new classics record label for Philips Records. It was successful with artists including Alfred Brendel, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St...

     in 2000.
  • Mozart effect
    Mozart effect
    The Mozart effect can refer to: * A set of research results that indicate that listening to Mozart's music may induce a short-term improvement on the performance of certain kinds of mental tasks known as "spatial-temporal...

  • Mozart family
    Mozart family
    The Mozart family are the ancestors, relatives, and descendants of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The earliest documents mentioning the name "Mozart", then spelled "Motzhart" or "Mozthardt", are from the Bavarian part of Swabia .-Mozart family:# David E...

  • Mozart in fiction
  • Mozartkugel
    Mozartkugel
    The Mozartkugel , originally known as the “Mozartbonbon”, was created by the Salzburg confectioner, Paul Fürst, in 1890 and named after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart....

  • Mozarteum
  • Mozarthaus Vienna
    Mozarthaus Vienna
    The Mozarthaus Vienna was Mozart's residence from 1784 to 1787. This building in Vienna's Old Town, not far from St. Stephen's Cathedral, is his only surviving Viennese residence and is now a museum.-History:...


External links



Digitized, scanned material (books, sheet music)


Sheet music