Music in History

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Mozart

Classical Period
 
 



W.A. Mozart
(1756-1791)
part a


From the first years of life he showed a stunning musicianship. At  the age of 5, already competent on  violin and keyboard instruments, he  composed  and performed  for European Royalty.  At 17 he was hired as a musician to the court  of his birthplace, Salzburg, but he  did not stay there for long. Looking for  a better place he  traveled to Vienna in 1781 (the same year he was fired from Salzburg). He chose to stay in Vienna seeking  a better economic status and fame. During his last years he composed  his most known symphonies , concerts, operas, and portions of the unfinished Requiem.  The circumstances of his early death have been  mythologized. His work  was survived by his wife Constanze and  his two sons.
He composed over 600 works: 41 symphonies, 12 operas ,concert arias, religious music, the unfinished Requiem, about 40 lieder, dances, serenades, divertimenti, marches, concertos for piano, concertos for violin and horn, quartets and quintets.
Mozart was speaking 5 languages fluently, he was interested in the scientific advances of his time, he  discussed  politics. Unfortunately, until the mid-20th century his music was seen as superficial. This perception changed when his lesser known works were recorded.  Nowadays he is considered to be  one of the most important exponents of  Enlightenment.

Mozart's Thematic Catalogue

The last period of his life was a  turbulent one because of  serious economic and family problems. Nevertheless,  from February 1784 to December 1791, Mozart wrote many of the most famous works; 5 mature operas, several piano sonatas and his  last 3 symphonies. He  also wrote  smaller works, chamber music and dances for the popular dance festivals in the court of Vienna.
The composer  wrote down  all these  works  in a manuscript in the order they were completed. Their recording is quite detailed. On the left pages lay date, title, and orchestration of each work. Sometimes the composer  added  further  information  such as singer's name,  where the work was composed , who had commissioned the work etc. On the right pages lay the opening bars of each work.
It seems that Mozart planned to include in it all his compositions. there are also entries in the catalogue for a number of works that have been lost later. He made his last entry  three weeks before his death on December 1791. His Requiem is not registered as  it remained unfinished.

                  Mozart - String Quartet No. 19 in C major, K. 465 'Dissonance' - I

Köchel catalogue

It is the complete chronological list of the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  and it was compiled   by Ludwig von Köchel (1800-1877). This was not the only attempt for organizing  the Mozart's  work after his death  but it was the first successful one.
Köchel tried to organize the projects  according to the time of their composition , but he could only make approximate  estimates on the works written before 1784. Later on  there were revisions of Köchel's work because either  there were  new discoveries of Mozart's compositions, or  some works  were attributed to him or there were revisions of the composition time for some of his works. Some of these revised lists have incorporated many corrections, such  the list of Alfred Einstein (1937).

 
 
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