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As one of the richest forms of art, music is constantly developing and reshaping the human understanding about it. Throughout the ages, a number of composers and performers have brought their own contribution to make music sound as people know it today. While some of such composers are known as inventors, others managed to bring music to the edge of creative potential at the time, thus, providing a push for new inventions and radical developments. Undoubtedly, one of such composers has been Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. A child prodigy, Mozart managed to skyrocket his music career as a composer, perfecting the classicist musical forms beyond the boundaries of the genre and giving a further push to romanticism throughout his short life.
Wolfgang Mozart’s musical path has started early on. Born in Salzburg, Austria in 1756 into a family of composer Leopold Mozart, young Wolfgang was exposed to music and cultural life as early as at the age of 3. As his father taught his sister Marianne to play piano since she was 8, Wolfgang would observe those lessons carefully and demonstrate serious potential by the time he was 4. After nearly two years of learning and practicing, young Mozart would start composing his own short pieces that were rather technical and creative compositionally for the time. Soon after that, Leopo
ld Mozart would take his children to the European tours as music prodigies to entertain noble courts and guests (“Wolfgang Mozart”). Starting as early as that, it was quite expected that Wolfgang Mozart would develop his mastery by adult age.
Such a rapid development has indeed happened rather early in Mozart’s life. By the age of 10, the young musician visited London, where he was exposed to the works of Johann Sebastian Bach, who was not as prominent in the rest of Europe. Throughout his teen years, Mozart would perfect his playing and composition by studying the works of Bach and developing his musical language to write full-form compositions such as symphonies, sonatas, and even operas (“Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart”). By the age of seventeen, Mozart would grow a reputation that was gradually becoming higher than that of older musicians and composers, including his father. However, Wolfgang would reach the peak of his fame and career after he started writing and producing opera, which was extremely popular at the time.
While Mozart wrote his first opera in 1768 at the age of 12, a German Singspiel titled Bastien und Bastienne, his serious stage writing began two years later when, in the course of three years, young composer completed and produced three operas. These works would later inspire him to develop his instrumental music writing. In 1771, in Salzburg, Mozart wrote seven symphonies and began incorporating dramatic elements in his music, such as prominent dynamics and tempo shifts (Melograni 60-63). Wolfgang was by no means an inventor of such incorporation, however, influenced by opera, he would more keenly use such elements to add narrative to his instrumental pieces.
These would later manifest in his 40th and 41st symphonies that plainly demonstrate the early romantic elements in instrumental music. At the same time, these two pieces became Mozart’s final symphonic works as, at the time, the composer’s health began to decline leading to his death in 1791 (Melograni 193-195). While dramatic elements were used in instrumental music prominently in Haydn’s symphonies, Mozart managed to perfect their use in symphonic works, which were able to tell a story with a quite traceable narrative. Mozart’s style and musical language would become a strong push and prominent inspiration for many composers of the 19th century, including Ludwig van Beethoven, Frederic Chopin, and Ferenc Liszt who became some of the most iconic romantic composers. His figure was also an inspiration for many writers and scenarists, and led to the development of movies based on his life such as Amadeus, Forget Mozart, Mozart's Sister, etc.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was considered one of the most prominent and influential composers at his time and is still considered as such today. Being exposed to professional music of a large form, he became heavily influenced by this form of art, eventually becoming a child prodigy. As it was expected, he would soon turn into a full-scale composer whose works were respected by many at the time. His final touch was a push toward a romantic style that would be developed over the next century. While the life of Mozart was short even for his time, he managed to produce much more than any other composer would within the next 100 years.
"Wolfgang Mozart". Biography, 2020, https://www.biography.com/musician/wolfgang-mozart.
"Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart". Opera Philadelphia, 2022, https://www.operaphila.org/whats-on/on-stage-2016-2017/figaro/composer/.
Melograni, Piero. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. University Of Chicago Press, 2007.
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