Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria, January 27, 1756.
His genius developed very easily under the instruction of his father, and when less than five years old Wolfgang began composing, and at six he gave his first public performance, which was followed by a tour of the European capitals with his sister, under their father’s direction. At Vienna, in 1768, the young Mozart conducted a mass composed by himself. Soon after this he was made concert meister to the Archbishop of Salzburg.
In 1869 Mozart went with his father to Italy, and in Rome, after twice hearing the famous “Miserere” of Allegri, which the authorities had kept secret, he wrote it out from memory. The Pope made him a Knight of the Golden Spur. At Bologna he was elected a member of the Philharmonic Society. At Milan, in 1770, he composed and brought out his first opera, “Mitridate, Re de Ponto”. On his next visit to Milan, in 1771, the triumph of his serenata “Ascanio in Alba”, written for the marriage of the Archduke Ferdinand, added to his reputation. The next year, the Archbishop of Salzburg being dead, Mozart composed for the installation of his successor “Il Sogno de Scipione” (The Dream of Scipio). At Milan he also produced “Lucio Silla” and “La Finta Giardiniera”; and at Salzburg, in 1775, during the visit of Archduke Maximilian Francis, he brought out “Il Re Pastore”. The new Archbishop of Salzburg proved himself an enemy, rather than a friend, and gladly escaping from slights and indignities, in 1777 Mozart set out on a journey that led him to Paris the next year. Returned to Salzburg, he resumed his composition.
Mozart’s position as an artist was finally assured in 1781, when his opera “Idomeneo” was produced in Munich with triumphant success. That year he settled in Vienna, where his “Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail” (1782) was equally well received. Minor operas and other works came steadily from his pen, and the latter years of his life were extremely fruitful. He fulfilled many commissions, adding materially to his fame, though little to his wealth. “Il Nozze de Figaro” and “Die Zauberflote” (The Magic Flute) are among the most successful of his later works. Sacred music also claimed his attention, and he produced grand hymns and masses. His “Requiem” was the work of his closing days. It was completed by his pupil Sussmayer from directions given by Mozart on his deathbed.
He died in Vienna, December 5, 1791.