Mozart was not an ordinary man, both as an artist and musician. – Albert Einstein
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was the most famous and well-known classical composer and is considered the greatest and best known musician of all time. Mozart was born in Salzburg in 1756. At the time, Mozart wasn’t well-known for his music. The generation of romantics saw Mozart as a friend and gave him great success. It is possible to understand his legacy and why it has endured, if we look at his early life as a child-prodigy, musical mastery, and the endless praise he received from his fellow composers.
Wolfgang Mozart was an extraordinary child prodigy. He showed his incredible talent as a toddler. Mozart’s seven-year-old brother Marianne began taking clavier lessons from Leopold (a violinist in Salzburg Archbishops) when he was three years old. Mozart used to spend hours sitting at the keyboard. Mozart was a child who enjoyed the sound of the keyboard. However, his father noticed something more. Mozart was able to sense tension and harmony. Leopold recognized his son’s musical talents and began nurturing them. Mozart began lessons in clavier from his father at four years old. He learned many minuets quickly and took only half an hour each to master them. Mozart began writing his own little pieces at five years old. Leopold noted in the margins the music that “little Wolfgang” was composed within the first three-months after his fifth birth. These notes are what were first to indicate that young Wolfgang was a composer. Mozart was just seven years of age when he composed six sonatas on piano and violin. Mozart’s musical genius is demonstrated by his ability to compose and play these pieces as young children.
Leopold took Mozart to Europe and Britain in 1762 to show off his talents. He displayed incredible talents, including the ability to sight-read Bach pieces and to improvise beautiful melodies on the figured bass of a Handel song. It was a great success and Mozart received acclaim. Mozart was named “Master Mozart, Seven-year-old, prodigy in nature” in London. Leopold proudly wrote his friend, “Everyone is amazed, particularly at the boy” during his trip. Leopold continued to show his son his musical talents until 1773, when Mozart became independent from his father. Leopold’s influence on Mozart deserves to be acknowledged. Mozart was not influenced by any other musical teacher than his father. Leopold saw the potential in his son and encouraged him to develop his talent. He made Mozart’s genius famous throughout Europe. Wolfgang wouldn’t have been able to achieve the greatness and character he achieved without his father’s help.
Mozart was a master of music. He was a great clavier musician, he was “one of greatest clavier viosi of our time”. He was proficient on the violin, but his primary focus was on the keyboard. Niemetschek, who was an early biographer of Mozart’s, praised the composer’s piano skills when he wrote “His admirable dexterity…his feeling and delicacy, and beautiful expression…together with his abundant ideas and his knowledge of composition must have enthralled every listener and made Mozart the greatest pianist of all time” . MuzioClementi, a fellow composer, applauded Mozart when he stated to his pupil that Mozart had “untold” the pianist’s ability to play with such elegance and spirit after seeing Mozart perform.
Mozart was a master of improvisation. He didn’t have to make piano sonatas and variations. Instead, he was free to improvise. He only made his compositions available to pupils who were trying to learn them or to publishers. Maximilian Stadler (a friend of Mozart) wrote that Mozart’s improvisational talents were well-ordered in his autobiography. Many people believed that Mozart had practiced improvisations before he performed them in public. These accounts are clear proof that Mozart was skilled at improvisation.
Mozart was an extraordinary composer. He composed in a way that was so natural. He didn’t have any need to research for ideas. His compositions were just there. He was so comfortable creating music that he could work on multiple pieces at once. Mozart was also able to compose music at an incredible speed. He composed a sonata on pianoforte for violin one night before he was due to perform it in concert. The sonata was not written down or practiced with his partner. He played it from memory the next morning. His compositions contain many examples of his extraordinary ability to create contrapuntal combinations, movement structures, use of counterpoint and harmonic modulations. Wolfgang Mozart’s extraordinary composition, keyboard, and improvisational skills prove that he was an exemplary musician.
Mozart produced a staggering number of works during his brief life. The complete catalogue is exhausting. There are twenty operas. Mozart wrote to his father, in 1778, saying that he “can more or less mimic any type and every style of composition.” His work is an example of this self-deprecating ability.
Mozart was the greatest classical style master. The classical style was distinguished by a lighter touch than earlier Baroque works. This was possible because Mozart’s melodies were so unique and distinguished him from other composers at the time. Richard Strauss, a great melodyt, said that Mozart had the most perfect melodic shapes. He also has the lightness and purpose of his music. His “light” melodies were a result his excellent technique. These delicate melodies made Mozart’s music accessible to a wider audience. Every German schoolchild can still sing ‘Komm! liber Mai’ today. The classical style has a broad range of moods and dynamics. Mozart’s classical style would allow him to express many emotions and have strong contrasts of styles and feelings in a single piece. Mozart is the greatest classical composer in history, with his mastery for the classical style unsurpassed by any other composer.
Mozart is often praised by fellow composers. Joseph Haydn was at that time the most well-known European composer. He was stunned to see young Mozart live. Leopold Mozart was astonished when he commented to him that his son was the greatest composer he knew either by name or in person. He is a taster and has the best knowledge of composition. Haydn’s judgement was the greatest recognition Mozart could have received during that time. He expressed his admiration for Mozart at later times.
Even though Haydn’s approval was an exceptional achievement by Mozart, it was just one of the few instances of praise he received. Lorenzo Da Ponte was the author of the librettos for three Mozart operas. Da Ponte suggested Mozart had been stopped by his enemies and not a lack in talent. Mozart didn’t get the recognition he deserved, whatever the reason. Pyotr Ilitch Tchaikovsky, a romantic composer, worshipped Mozart openly throughout his entire life. Tchaikovsky made two memorials to Mozart, his “Mozartiana” Suite (op. 61) or a vocal group. Mozart was also revered by Romantic poets like Ludwig Tieck and Wilhelm Heinrich Wackenroder. Mozart received so much praise for his work that it is hard to believe.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was thirty-five years old when he died December 5, 1791. He lived a short but productive life. His compositions lasted for nearly 29 years. His early writing began at an early age. This allowed him to have almost the same ‘composing lifetime’ as other composers. Mozart’s music and influence have remained unaffected by his childhood as a child prodigy. He was a musical master, a great composer, and he has many works. Mozart is the most well-known and most widely recognized classical composer, as well as the greatest musical genius.