Essay, Research Paper: Mozart

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“The classical period produced more instrumental than vocal music, a wealth of
serious and comic operas as well as vocal religious music also appeared during
this time”(Ferris, 231). One of the best composer of this time was Wolfgang
Amadeus Mozart. In this paper I will go through his childhood, his friends and
family, and of course his music. Enjoy!!! Child of the Enlightenment The world
that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart entered ceremoniously in 1756 was brimming in
change. Historians refer to this era as the Age of Enlightenment, one of
unparalleled scientific, philosophical, and political ferment. Within Mozart’s
lifetime it set in motion forces that would fundamentally alter life not only in
his native, Salzburg, but also around the globe. The Enlightenment was not, to
be sure, a democratic movement. In France, the absolutism of the Sun King, Louis
XIV, continued under Louis XV and XVI. But in Austria, Empress Maria Theresa
introduced a greater measure of tolerance and freedom among her subjects, laying
a foundation for the democratic revolutions that followed. Wolfgang’s father
Leopold came from a family of Augsburg bookbinders. He received a solid Jesuit
education, more intellectual than evangelical after a year at the Benedictine
University in nearby Salzburg; Leopold stopped attending classes to pursue a
career as a musician. “Leopold figured as Mozart’s most important first
model. He taught his son the clavier and composition”(Mercardo 763).
Wolfgang’s mother Anna-Maria brought as much talent to her 32-year marriage as
did Leopold. Though deprived of a formal education, she was highly intelligent
and quick-witted— qualities that attracted the sober and reserved Leopold.
Only two of their seven children survived infancy. Wolfgang’s musically
talented sister Nannerl was five years older. Yet in this painting, the 12-year-
old looks like a spinster of seventy—complete with budding double chin.
Wolfgang, too, looks far older than his 7 years, and controls the action from
his place at its center. The Child Prodigy Indeed, Mozart marks the beginning of
the Western fascination with the child prodigy. Dressed in the festive outfit
given Wolfgang in 1762 by the Empress Maria Theresa, this boy of not quite seven
years old looks, for all the world, like a miniature adult who has simply
skipped childhood. “Mozart was keenly aware of his exceptional ability, which
had been fostered and rutted in him by his father from a very early
age”(Schroter). Other nineteenth-century artists represented
Wolfgang—variously said to be anywhere from 11 to 14 as a curly-locked angel.
For them, how else could the divine music that poured out of a child-size body
be explained? The idealization of Mozart’s genius was complete by the end of
the nineteenth century. Mozart composes with his violin in one hand and music
has appeared miraculously on his stand in the other. The message is
unmistakable: “Mortals use quills, Mozart simply wills”(Solomon) On the Road
The temptation to take his two prodigies on the road proved irresistible to
Leopold, who assumed sole responsibility for Mozart’s education. Between 1762
and 1766, the Mozarts appeared at almost every major court in Europe. Wolfgang
dazzled audiences with his ability to read difficult music at sight and to
improvise. In London, as elsewhere, the Mozarts hobnobbed with the leading
musicians. Probably the most important of these was Johann Christian Bach, the
youngest son of Johann Sebastian. It is no accident that Mozart’s early
symphonies, composed in London, are often stylistically indistinguishable from
those of J. C. Bach. When Mozart was 13, his prowess as a keyboard player,
violinist, improviser, and composer were already legendary. “When Mozart was
21 he wrote “Paris” Symphony, N31 while he was in Paris looking for a music
position. He was thoroughly disenchanted with the French and their
music”(Internet). From 1768 to 1775, between stays in Salzburg, he and Leopold
made three further forays to Italy and Germany. Wolfgang evolved from a prodigy
into a serious composer. Public Successes A self-confident Mozart assured his
father in 1782 that he would be able to support a wife and family in Vienna, As
a result which he called “Clavierland. Of its earlier devastation, the
dominant architectural style in Vienna is Baroque, aided in the 1700s by an
influx of Italian sculptors, stucco workers, and painters. The dominant
architect and architectural historian was Italian-trained Johann Fischer von
Erlach(1656-1723), whose densely decorated structures still stand out today.”
He planned to achieve this by writing music for the public: operas, symphonies,
and concertos featuring himself as pianist. Although public performances were
less frequent than today, they were for that reason on a more lavish scale. Of a
set of piano concertos, Mozart commented “There are passages here and there
from which the connoisseurs alone can derive sattisfaction; but these passages
are written in such a way that the less learned cannot fail to be pleased,
though without knowing why"(Solomon 293). In spite of intrigues raised
against him, Mozart managed to present The Abduction from the Seraglio in 1782.
Of its success, he wrote proudly to his father:“People are crazy about this
opera, and it does me good to hear such applause.” For the first few seasons,
Mozart enjoyed an intoxicating popularity among the Viennese. In a series of
academies attended by almost 300 supporters and patrons, he unveiled a string of
masterful piano concertos. Emboldened by his success, he moved his family to the
best part of town. Mozart tried to take advantage of the emerging
entrepreneurial opportunities in Vienna. Four of his operas—The Abduction from
the Seraglio(1782), The Marriage of Figaro(1786), Don Giovanni(1787), and Così
fan tutte(1790) —were premiered or performed in the prestigious Burgtheater.
But the Viennese were not disposed to settle on one composer for long, even one
whose talents dwarfed those of all others. Figaro—begun in October 1785, only
nine months after the completion of the C-major String Quartet—provides an
instructive example. The play by Beaumarchais had been banned shortly after its
Parisian premiere in 1784. By 1787, Mozart’s star in Vienna had begun to set.
In Peter Shafer’s play Amadeus, Mozart’s failures are attributed to an
infantile personality and the intrigues of court composer Antonio Salieri. But
there is no evidence that either of these wonderful dramatic conceits were true
historically. Indeed, Mozart and Salieri were on cordial terms. Papa Haydn We do
not know the occasion on which Mozart first encountered Joseph Haydn, though it
was almost certainly around 1781, possibly at one of the gatherings organized by
Baron von Swieten to hear the music of J. S. Bach. At 50, Haydn was twice
Mozart’s age. By now he was also at least twice as well known. Mozart had
known Haydn’s music for at least ten years. In Haydn he not only found a
composer whose achievements were on a level with his own, but a warm and
sympathetic friend in whom he could confide. This contrasted strongly with the
strained relationship that Mozart enjoyed with his father. In the autumn of
1791, Mozart’s health became progressively worse, and he was subject to fits
of depression and presentiments of death. However, he worked feverishly to
complete the Clarinet Concerto, K.622, and the Masonic Cantata and was trying to
finish the Requiem. He died on December 5, 1791, and was buried in a pauper’s
grave”Viennese society where to blame for Mozart’s lack of recognition, slow
demise, and interment in a pauper’s grave”(Braunbehrers). The unfinished
Requiem, which Mozart imagined was for himself, is numbered K.626. “His body
was gone, but his magnificent music-symphonies, opera, duos, trios, quartet,
violon concertos, piano concertos, vocal and choral works praising God,
happiness, and all of life-lives forever”(Mirsky144) Listening example: Mozart
1 symphony (K.16) was written at the age of nine. His symphonic compositions
culminate in the “Jupiter” written in 1788 when Mozart was 32. His earlier
symphonies seem to give greatest importance to the first movement. In the
“Jupiter” Mozart build toward the finale with passages in a fugal style as
the grand climax after the minuet (3rd Movement) Composer: W.A. Mozart Title:
Jupiter Symphony Key: C Meter: In threes Form: A B A (Minuet and Trio) Terms to
Review: Enlightenment: A philosophical movement of the eighteenth century that
placed primary faith in the power of mankind to solve chronic problems through
the application of reason and scientific method rather than faith and
speculation. The Enlightenment anticipated democratic revolutions, but took
place under political monarchies. As a child of the Enlightenment, Mozart
considered himself a member of the natural aristocracy but was anything but a
democrat. Violin: The highest and the most glamorous member of the string
family, pitched a fifth above the viola. In a string quartet, both of the treble
instruments are violins. One who plays the violin (however well or badly) is
known as a “violinist.” If you are contemplating taking up a string
instrument and fame is your goal, then the violin is your first choice. Mozart,
Leopold: (1719-1787) Father of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Leopold served over four
decades as a court musician to five archbishops of Salzburg. In 1756, the year
that Wolfgang was born, he published the first edition of his Violin School,
which soon brought him international fame. In 1800, more than a dozen years
after Leopold’s death, his treatise was still being reprinted. As Wolfgang’s
only formal teacher, he exercised a pivotal influence on his son’s
development. Opera: A drama set to music. Opera was the dominant form of Western
public music from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries, parallel in
importance to our modern cinema. Baroque: Period in musical history extending
from ca. 1600 to 1750. The music of the late Baroque (ca. 1690 to 1750) is best
known today. Its major representatives were Johann Sebastian Bach in Germany,
Georg Friderich Handel (another German) in England, Antonio Vivaldi in Italy,
and Jean-Philippe Rameau in France. Mozart was born as the late Baroque drew to
a close. As an adult, he came to know and admire the music of Bach and Handel.
Piano Concerto: One of the public forms of instrumental music cultivated by
Mozart in Vienna. Mozart can, for all practical purposes, be credited with the
invention of the Classical piano concerto. Antonio Salieri: Italian composer
(1750-1825) who spent most of his career in Vienna and became one of its most
influential musicians. So fond was the emperor, Joseph II, of Salieri that he
became known as the “musical pope.” Salieri was first and foremost an opera
composer, though a considerably less innovative one than Mozart. Both Ludwig van
Beethoven and Franz Schubert studied with Salieri. Joseph Haydn: Austrian
composer (1732-1809) whose eighteenth-century fame eclipsed that of Mozart.
Unlike Mozart, Haydn was a relatively late bloomer, composing most of his
important music after the age of 35 (at which age Mozart was dead). Haydn played
a seminal role in the development of the symphony and the string quartet. His
friendship with Mozart from ca. 1781 on was crucial to the musical development
of both composers. Summary: The world that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart entered
unceremoniously in 1756 was awash in change. Historians refer to this era as the
Age of Enlightenment. Indeed, Mozart marks the beginning of the Western
fascination with the child prodigy. The idealization of Mozart’s genius was
complete by the end of the nineteenth century. Between 1762 and 1766, the
Mozarts appeared at almost every major court in Europe. Wolfgang dazzled
audiences with his ability to read difficult music at sight and to improvise
Four of his operas—The Abduction from the Seraglio(1782), The Marriage of
Figaro(1786), Don Giovanni(1787), and Così fan tutte(1790) —were premiered or
performed in the prestigious Burgtheater. Then Mozart met Haydn; we do not know
the occasion on which Mozart first encountered Joseph Haydn. In Haydn, he not
only found a composer whose achievements were on a level with his own, but a
warm and sympathetic friend in whom he could confide. In the autumn of 1791,
Mozart’s health became progressively worse. He died on December 5, 1791, and
was buried in a pauper’s grave.
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