A Prodigy’s Childhood Born on January 27, 1756, in Salzburg, Austria, Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart began his music changing life. This brilliant composer would, later on, write over 600 symphonies, operas, concertos, and sonatas throughout his thirty-five year lifetime.At age seven, Mozart’s sister Nannerl started getting clavier lessons from their dad, Leopold. Wolfgang, who was only three, would sit on the floor listening to her practice. But he wasn’t satisfied. After Nannerl’s lesson, Mozart would go up to the clavier.
At his age, he could already tell if two notes worked well together or not. Wolfgang wanted to learn as well because he was deeply intrigued.Leopold started giving Mozart lessons, too. He could soon play all the songs in his sister’s music notebook. As soon as Wolfgang heard a tune, he could play it back perfectly. Leopold could hardly believe it.
Once, when Mozart was about four, Leopold saw a sheet of “music” that the boy had been working on.
He laughed, thinking that it was nonsense, but soon realized that it was a complicated music composition. Like many children in the eighteenth century, Mozart and Nannerl did not go to school. Instead, they spent the days in their small house where Leopold was their only teacher—for music and everything else. With their father’s help, Mozart and his sister studied reading, writing, arithmetic, history, and geography. Later on, when Mozart started traveling, he learned foreign languages such as Italian and French (Wolfgang grew up speaking German like everyone else in Austria).
The Master of MusicWriting music allowed Mozart to express his feelings. When he was happy, he would make up a fast tune, like an allegro. When he was sad, he would compose a slow and soft piece, called an andante. “I pay no attention whatever to anybody’s praise or blame. I simply follow my own feelings.” Mozart stated many years later. Mozart’s say in composing.
Once, Leopold and his fellow musicians were practicing a piece of music that he had written for the violin. Mozart, who was almost six, came into the room holding a small, half-size violin that Leopold had got him. His father hadn’t started giving him lessons yet, but he still wanted to play. Leopold wouldn’t let him, so Wolfgang started to cry. After an argument, they came to a consensus that Mozart could play quietly alongside Leopold’s friend, Johann Schachtner. The musicians started playing. After a few minutes, they stopped playing, but Mozart continued. Everyone was astounded that Wolfgang had taught himself how to play the violin. Later on, he taught himself to play the organ as well. Although not as skilled as her brother, Nannerl was still a talented musician. Soon, news of the children’s’ talents reached Vienna. One day, a messenger came to the Mozart home in Salzburg. Wolfgang and Nannerl were asked to come play in Vienna for the empress, Maria Theresa. Two weeks later, the Mozart family arrived in the big city. Vienna was a magical place filled with castles and palaces. It was home to the University, as well as many beautiful gardens and grand churches. It was known as a center for magic and art. Later, when Mozart played for the empress, she was charmed. Maria Theresa was deeply impressed with the children’s talents as well as how determined they were. After the Mozarts returned home, Leopold realized that Wolfgang and Nannerl were highly unusual children. Playing for the empress lead to the very start of the spread of the music of Mozart. Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” is still being performed 200 years later.
This brilliant and controversial composer during the mid to late eighteenth century transformed how different types of music such as symphonies and piano concertos, are viewed up to this day.Throughout his life, Mozart ended up writing twenty-seven piano concertos, starting with four very short, simple pieces written at age eleven. Mozart developed upon and experimented with the form of piano concertos, in which he created a lot of works that were written with their own emotions and characteristics that helped us understand the piece better. Mozart had an influence not only on piano concertos but also on symphonies and other forms of music as well. During the early eighteenth century, the symphony a short piece, lasting only ten to twenty minutes long.
A well known composer for these early symphonies is Giovanni Battista Sammartini. One of his compositions is the Symphony in F Major. This is a wonderful symphony, but the listener can clearly hear the difference in difficulty and drama when listening to some of Mozart’s works.“The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.” Mozart declared as he talked about his music.Mozart’s famous quote about his musicAnother thing that Mozart changed is opera. Many composers such as Gluck and Salieri based their plots on Greek mythology. Mozart thought that was a “thing of a past” and that the stories had been overused. He wrote his operas about love, honor, good vs evil, and his characters dealt with real, human emotion. Mozart brought opera to a whole new level by changing how they are performed and how they are written. Starting from being a musical prodigy at age three, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart revolutionized the music industry by changing how many different forms of music are written, performed, and looked at up to this day.