Mozart - Biography
Wolfgang Amadè Mozart was born on the 27th of January, as the son of Leopold and Anna Maria Mozart. Leopold Mozart works as a concertmaster at the archiepiscopal Salzburg court.
Wolfangang Amadè Mozarts first musical activities
Mozarts first composition, a Minuet for Harpsichord (KV1), dates back to this year. Leopold Mozart tutors both Wolfgang and his sister Nannerl not only in music, but also in the main subjects.
First journey and concert before the Bavarian Elector Maximilian II, held in Munich. In autumn they did their first journey to Vienna, where Wolfgang gave a concert in the presence of the Empress Maria Theresa.
Leopold Mozart started a long tour of Western Europe with his children. During their concerts, Nannerl and Wolfgang were acclaimed as musical geniuses, even at the French, English and Dutch courts.
Two Sonatas for Harpsichord and Violin (KV 6 e 7), the first works attributed to Mozart, were published in Paris.
Mozart meeted Johann Christian Bach and composed his first three Symphonies. In July 1765 the Mozarts left London, traveled through France, Belgium, Holland and Switzerland, and arrived in Salzburg in November 1766.
Mozart composed the first part of the Sacred Singspiel 'Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebotes' (KV 35), the Latin Intermezzo 'Apollo et Hyacinthus' (KV 38), the Missa brevis in D minor (KV 65) and the Missa in C major (KV 66). In 1767 he also composed the first four Concertos for Harpsichord.
Second journey of the Mozart family to Vienna; they left the town shortly after because of smallpox epidemic and, passing through Brünn, arrived in Olmütz. In 1768 the Mozarts were again in Vienna, where Mozart completed the Singspiel 'Bastien und Bastienne' (KV 50/46b). Following the inspiration of the Emperor Joseph II, Mozart wrote the Opera buffa 'La Finta semplice' (KV 51/46a).
The Opera 'La Finta semplice' was at last performed in the Salzburg Residenz. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was appointed Third Concertmaster of the Salzburg Court orchestra, however with no pay. On December13, father and son began their first journey to Italy.
Father and son went to Verona, Milan, Florence and Rome, then on to Naples, and finally returned again to Rome. Mozart met Giovanni Battista Martini. Pope Clement XIV bestowed upon Mozart the cross of the Order of the 'Golden Spur'. First performance, at the Teatro Regio Ducal in Milan, of his Opera seria 'Mitridate, Re di Ponto' (KV 87).
Back in Salzburg, Mozart composed the Opera 'Ascanio in Alba' (KV 111), to celebrate the wedding of Ferdinand of Austria. His hope for an appointment at the Habsburgic court in Milan turned out to be vain. The Prince-Archbishop Schrattenbach died in Salzburg. The Opera 'Il Sogno di Scipione' (KV 126) was performed, in honour of his successor, Hieronymus Graf Colloredo. The new Prince-Archbishop did not fully approve of the Mozarts' desire to travel.
Mozart was appointed concertmaster of the court chapel in Salzburg and obtained a regular pay. Mozart and his father traveled for the third time to Italy, for the performance of the Opera seria 'Lucio Silla' (KV135) at the Teatro Regio Ducal of Milan.
Even the third journey to Vienna did not achieve the hope for appointment to the Imperial court in the Austrian capital.
Wolfgang and Leopold stayed in Munich, where at the beginning of 1775, the Opera 'La finta giardiniera' (K196) was premiered, in the presence of the Bavarian Elector Maximilian Joseph III. Failing to achieve a court appointment, Mozart returned to Salzburg once again.
In Salzburg, Mozart wrote, among others, several works of sacred music, and also the Serenade No.7 in D major 'Haffner' (KV 250/248b).
Mozart was dismissed from his position at the service of the Archbishop and embarked on a long journey with his mother. On their way to Augsburg, mother and son went through Munich, where Wolfgang once again tried, unsuccessfully, to obtain a secure court employment. In Augsburg Wolfgang spent a lot of time with his cousin Maria Anna Thekla (called Bäsle). In Mannheim he fell in love with the singer Aloysia Weber.
In spring, Mozart and his mother left Mannheim for Paris, where many of Wolfgang's works were performed, among others the Symphony in D major, No. 31, 'Paris' (KV 297/300a). On July 3, his mother died in Paris. Mozart returned to Salzburg deeply affected and passed through Mannheim - where he met again Aloysia Weber, who however rejected him - and through Munich.
On January 17, 1779 Mozart was appointed once again court organist in Salzburg. Here he wrote, among other works, the Missa in C major, 'Coronation' (KV 317), the Serenade in D major, 'Posthorn' (KV 320) and the Singspiel 'Zaide' (KV 344/366b).
Mozart met the actor, singer, poet and theatre director Emanuel Schikaneder, who was in Salzburg with his theatre company. At the end of 1780, Mozart went to Munich to attend the performance of his Opera seria 'Idomeneo, Re di Creta' (KV 366).
Following orders by the Archbishop Hieronymus Colloredo, Mozart went to Vienna. He got in touch with the Weber family (who moved to Vienna in 1779) and fell in love with Aloysia's younger sister, Constanze. A final disagreement with the Archbishop led to Mozart resigning from his position; nevertheless he remained in Vienna, despite having no fixed appointment.
On July 16, the Singspiel 'Die Entführung aus dem Serail' (KV 384) debuted to astounding acclaim. This same year he married Constanze Weber, against his father's will. He composed his first String Quartet, which he dedicated to Joseph Haydn in 1785. Mozart fails again to secure a court appointment in Vienna.
Mozart met Lorenzo da Ponte and together they worked on a libretto. On June 17 Mozart's first son was born. After more than a year and half in Vienna Mozart and his wife Constanze visited for the first time his father and sister in Salzburg. On October 26, his 'Missa in C minor' (KV 427) was performed in St. Peter's church in Salzburg, with Constanze singing as soprano. In just a few days Mozart wrote the 'Duets for Violin and Viola' in G major (KV 423) and in B Flat major (KV 424) for Johann Michael Haydn, unfortunately ill at the time.
Starting from February 1784, Mozart compiled a "Catalogue of all my works". His son Carl Thomas was born. In December Mozart was admitted to the Viennese Masonic Lodge.
His father Leopold was also initiated into the Masonic Lodge. In November, the Maurerische Trauermusik (KV 477/479a) was performed.
The Operas 'Der Schauspieldirektor' (KV 486) and 'Le Nozze di Figaro' (KV 492), text by Lorenzo Da Ponte, were first performed in Vienna.
Mozart and his wife attended the acclaimed performance of the 'Le Nozze di Figaro' and in autumn traveled to Prague for the premiere of the "Don Giovanni" (KV 527). Another journey led him first to Dresden, Meißen, and Potsdam, then on to Berlin, seat of the Prussian court of the king Friedrich Wilhelm II. Because of his frequent journeys and his passion for gambling Mozart continuously asked his friends to lend him money. On May 28, his father Leopold Mozart died in Salzburg. After Christoph Willibald Gluck's death, Mozart was appointed Imperial Chamber Composer at the court of the Emperor Joseph II, with an annual pay of 800 Gulden. In 1787 he wrote the famous Serenade 'Eine kleine Nachtmusik' (KV 525).
In February Mozart completed the 'Concerto in D major for Piano', (KV 537, "Coronation"). On May 7 'Don Giovanni' debuted in Vienna, with Aloysia Lange in the role of Donna Anna. In the same year Mozart composed the last three great Symphonies 'No. 39' (KV 543), 'No. 40' (KV 550) and 'No. 41 Jupiter' (KV 551).
In April, Mozart and his pupil, Prince Carl von Lichnowsy, traved to Berlin. In Dresden he played at the court of the Prince Elector, in Leipzig he played the organ at the Thomaskirche. In mid-May he arrived in Berlin, where his Opera 'Die Entführung aus dem Serail' was given its first performance and where he obtained from king Friedrich Wilhelm II the commission to compose six String Quartets, but he wrote three only (KV 575, 589 und 590). At the end of May he returned to Vienna. His wife's illness draged him into further financial problems. He repeatedly asked his Viennese friend and fellow freemason Michael Puchberg for financial support.
His Opera 'Così fan tutte' (K588) premiered on January 26, 1790 at the Burgtheater. Composed on assignment by Emperor Joseph II, it did not however obtain much success. In autumn Mozart went at his own expense to the coronation ceremony of the Emperor Leopold II in Frankfurt. During the journey to Frankfurt, Mozart also visited Linz, Regensburg, Nurnberg, Würzburg and Aschaffenburg. On his return trip, he also visited Augsburg and Munich. Back in Vienna Mozart obtained an offer to go to London - like Joseph Haydn - and composed two operas.
At the beginning of May, Mozart obtained, even if unpaid, the post of Master of Chapel at St. Stephen in Vienna. He worked at the composition of the Opera 'Il flauto magico' (K620), on Emmanuel Schikaneder's text. On April 26 his sixth son was born. The Earl Franz Walsegg-Stuppach, acting anonymously through an intermediary, commissioned a Requiem Mass for his deceased wife Anna, with the intent to claim it as his own. At the end of August Mozart travelled to Prague, with his wife Constanze and Franz Xaver Süßmayr, on the occasion of the coronation of Leopold II as King of Bohemia. On September 6 the Opera 'La Clemenza di Tito' (KV 621) premiered at the National theatre of Prague. On September 30 the Opera 'Il flauto magico' was performed in Vienna. On November 20 Mozart took to his bed. Until the end he tried to work on the unfinished Requiem. W.A. Mozart died on December 5, a few minutes before one am. The funeral mass was celebrated in the Crucifix Chapel of Vienna's Cathedral St. Stephen. The modest funeral took place in St. Marxer cemetery, without his wife's presence. The cause of his death has never been cleared.
Mozart is one of the most popular composers. In all concert halls and opera-houses in all over the world his masterpieces are performed.