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It's Mozart's Birthday Again - Don't Take His Music For Granted !

   Today , January 27 , would have been the 259th birthday of  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , one of the greatest names in classical music .  Child prodigy ,  pianist, violinist , composer , childlike  jokester and prankster , amiable weirdo .  An incomprehensible genius  who began composing as a small boy , took  the aristocratic courts of Europe by storm , but often frustrated and disappointed  as an  adult  when he had to  earn a living as a composer and perfroming musician .  

   He was the son of Leopold Mozart  ,  a well known violinist , pedagogue , conductor and  composer in his own wright , who taught him everything he knew about music , but who was surpassed by his own son , who was born in the picturesque town of Salzburg Austria in 1756 ,which still honors its most famous native son  year round .  Mozart showed an astonishing talent as bith a composer, pianist and violinist from  childhood, and Leopold realized he had a cash cow in his on son , whom he expolited by sending him on tours all over Eurpe under his guidance . 

    When he grew up , Mozart still coveted recognition for his astonishing talents , but  was no loger a child prodigy .  He was forced to accept employment  in his home town as a composer of  sacred music for the Archbishop of Salzburg , whom he disliked , and felt confined in provincial Salzburg . But for th  last decade of his life, he moved to Vienna, musical capitol of Europe, and  was able to earn a steady living  as a freelance composer and pianist , iViennese musicians to put on concerts of his own music ,playing his many piano concertos and  his symphonies and operas .

   The story that he died a pauper, unappreciated by the cruel Viennese is an urban legend ; he actuially did very well , but  ran into serious financial difficult8ies because he enjoyed gambling and the good life .  He died in  1791 , leaving his famous Reuiem mass unfinished . It was soon completed by one of his pupils, and this version is still widely performed and recorded .  The musical world has been  speculating on what divine masterpieces he might have written if he had lived longer, but this is futile .  In his 35 years , he composed over 600 works in all musical genres :  symphonies, concertos for piano, violin, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and French horn ;  22 operas, some of which were left in ncomplete form ;  no fewer than 27 piano concertos ,  Masses,  assorted  sacred choral works, serenades, divertimentos, etc, songs ,  string quartets, , piano sonatas, violin sonatas ,   you name it .  

   Unfortunately , many people have only a superficial familiarity with his music, knowing  a few of his most famous works ,or even just a handful of  famous melodies by him .  But you shouln't take these few works for granted  when you can hear all of them on CD . Not that you need to , because not everything by Mozart is a sublime masterpiece . He wrote some works as potboilers ; nothing wrong with this .  

    But if you don't know his music very well , you should at least familiarize yourself with his greatest operas "Don Giovanni", Le Nozze Di Figaro ,(the marriage of Figaro ), Cosi Fan Tutte (So do they all ), and Die Zauberflote , or the magic flute .  Plus his last six symphonies out of41 numbered ones, 35-41) ,  the piano concertos 20-27, violin concertos 3,4 and 5,  the four horn concertos ,  the clarinet concerto, the Requiem ,  some of his piano sonatas ,  and some of his string quartets to start .  

   The so-called "Eine Kleine Nachttmusik ", is very pleasant, but not one  of his greatest works . It doesn't mean "A little night music" in the sense of listening  to a little bit of music .  Nachtmusik means a seranade in German, and means "Night Music ". It means " A Little serenade ".  

    But you'll never regret getting to know Mozart's music better !   One note : Enjoyable as it is, the famous movie "Amadeus" plays fast and loose with the facts of Mozart's life . Don't take it too  seriously .
Posted: Jan 27 2015, 08:37 PM by the horn | with no comments
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