Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Life and Works of a Musical Genius

 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was an Austria composer –one of the greatest in music history. Even though he died before his 36th birthday, Mozart created more than 600 works.

He was born on January 27, 1756 in Salzburg. His father, Leopold was a composer , violin teacher and the leader of a local orchestra.

Young Wolfgang started playing the harpsichord at the age of three. He composed his own piano pieces at five, his first symphonies when he reached nine and whole operas at the age of 12. Wolfgang never went to school. His father taught him languages , geography and history, maths and, of course, music.

Mozart came from a loving family. He loved to play duets with his older sister and he was very close to his mother. His father guided him through all stages in his life, taught him how to deal with money and people, and how to behave in society .

Leopold took his son with him on many concert tours through Europe, where he performed before kings, queens and noblemen of other countries. He also gave public performances and met many other musicians.

When he came back to Salzburg, Mozart started working for the archbishop . However, he didn’t really become happy in Salzburg. He wasn’t paid very much and the archbishops didn’t care very much about music.

In 1781 Mozart left Salzburg and went to Vienna, a town where music was very important. Here he gave piano lessons and conducted his own works. He got jobs from all kinds of people, but he didn’t become rich. A year before coming to Vienna Mozart married Constanze Weber.

Although he worked very hard, Wolfgang couldn’t raise enough money to live with his family. His health started getting poorer and on December 5, 1791 he died, probably of kidney failure .

 

 

Mozart’s music

 

Mozart was a musical genius . Most of his works became well-known after his death and today, people of all age groups enjoy Mozart’s light and rhythmic style. The composer wrote just about every kind of music that was popular in his time. He wrote over 40 symphonies. Some of them were only overtures for operas and lasted only a few minutes, but others are works that consist of 4 movements and last for half an hour. His last and most famous symphony, Nr. 41, is nicknamed the Jupiter.

Many of his 22 operas have become famous all over the world. The Marriage of Figaro (1786) and Don Giovanni (1787) are operas that Mozart composed with Italian words. The Magic Flute is probably his best-known German opera.

Wolfgang also created music that was played at masses in church—mostly in Salzburg. The main musical instrument of these compositions is the organ. His best known piece of work is the Requiem (Mass for the Dead) which he began in 1791 but couldn’t finish before his death.

Mozart also composed lighter pieces of music called serenades, which were played at outdoor concerts. One of the most famous is “A Little Night Music”.

Throughout his life , Mozart concentrated on music for one or two instruments. He was fond of writing string quartets for two violins, a viola and a cello. He also composed sonatas for solo instruments , like the piano, violin and the flute .

 

Mozart’s style

Most of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s works are cheerful and full of life. He was a person with a sense of humour and he liked to laugh a lot and joke around. Apart from lighter music, Mozart produced serious works that can be found in his late concertos and symphonies.

After his death a German music lover, Ludwig Köchel, collected and numbered all of Mozart’s works. This catalogue is known as the Köchelverzeichnis.

 

 

Downloadable PDF Text- and Worksheets

 

Related Topics

Words

  • archbishop = the highest priest of a country
  • behave = act
  • care about = if you think that something is important
  • cheerful = happy
  • close = if you like somebody very much
  • compose = to write music
  • composer = someone who writes music
  • compositions = works
  • concentrate =focus on, think very much about
  • conduct = to stand in front of musicians or singers and direct them
  • consist of =to be made up of
  • create = make
  • deal with =to be able to work with or handle something
  • guide = to lead
  • enjoy = like
  • flute = a musical instrument like a thin pipe. You hold it across your lips, blow air into it and press buttons to make a sound.
  • fond of = to like a lot
  • genius = a person who is very , very intelligent or can do something much better than others
  • harpsichord = an instrument like a small piano. It was used up to the 18th century.
  • kidney failure = one of the two organs in your back that separates waste products from your blood and makes urine . If one these organs do not work any more we call it a failure.
  • language =the system of communication that a country has
  • local = a place near your home or in your neighbourhood
  • loving = to show you love somebody
  • mass = a ceremony in church
  • movement = one part of a longer piece of music. A symphony usually has 4 movements
  • nickname = a name that is given to something
  • noblemen =a member of the highest class, usually with a title
  • overture = a short piece of music that comes before a longer piece
  • perform = to play music in front of people
  • popular = if lots of people like something
  • public performance =to play in front of people
  • raise money = to earn money so that you can live
  • sense of humour = to understand things that are funny
  • serious = music that is not so cheerful and light
  • society =people in general
  • stages = phase, part of
  • string quartets = 4 people who play musical instruments with strings
  • symphony = a longer piece of music, usually in 4 parts and played by an orchestra
  • viola =a wooden musical instrument that you play like a violin . It is larger and has a lower sound