January 27 marks the 257 anniversary of Mozart’s birth. His musical genius persists through special programs
on radio, television, Internet, and live-performances
of his music all over the world
. King FM 98.1 and King.org
on-line, the Classical Public Radio Station from Seattle, WA, has dedicated a special channel
to broadcast Mozart’s music during the whole month of January.
Mozart’s life in less than 200 words
Mozart, the musical genius, lived a fast life. He was deemed a child prodigy; at age 8, Wolfgang was already a reputed composer and an accomplished keyboard and violin interpreter. He composed his first opera at 14. At age 17, he was appointed a court musician at the service of Prince-Archbishop Hieronymus von Colloredo, the ruler of Salzburg. At age 21, he grew restless with his employment while von Colloredo was becoming inpatient with Mozart’s frequent absences, complaining, and immature attitude. In 1777, the young composer moved on to Mannheim, Paris and Munich, and then on to Vienna, before returning to Salzburg in 1779. He found employment once more with Archbishop von Colloredo, but again it did not last. He left the Salzburg court and settled in Vienna as a freelance composer and occasional performer. He married Constanze Weber, had six children, two of which survived infancy. He befriended Joseph Haydn and became fascinated with the work of Johannes Sebastian Bach and George Frederic Handel. Mozart wrote over 600 compositions, including 50 symphonies, 25 piano and 12 violin concertos, 17 piano sonatas, 15 masses, and 21 operas. He died at age 35.
Mozart’s prolific output
Having lived for such a short time, it is remarkable that Mozart could achieve musical immortality. Mozart started composing at a very young age. At 5, he had composed several minuets; he wrote his first three symphonies at 8. However, he composed his most outstanding work within just a decade, the final 10 years of his brief lifetime, 1781 to 1791, known as his "Vienna period". Through this very productive phase of his life, Mozart composed 17 piano concertos, seven of his greatest symphonies, 10 of his operas and finally, "The Great Mass in C minor
", and the magnificent "Requiem Mass in D minor"
, which at his death remained unfinished and was completed by Franz Xaver Süssmayr.
So, if your own collection of Mozart’s compositions is rather limited, this is a great opportunity to listen
to a vast selection of some of the best music ever written
: the works of one of the best composers in history, the man who died nearly a pauper, but whose musical legacy is still celebrated, 222 years after his death.
“Immortality is not a gift, immortality is an achievement; and only those who strive mightily shall possess it.”
Edgar Lee Masters, American poet (1868 – 1950).