Born on January 27, 1756, in Salzburg, Austria, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a musician capable of playing multiple instruments who started playing and composing at the age of 4. He was known as a prodigy, and unlike any other composer in musical history, he wrote in all the musical genres of his day. His music was written to accommodate the specific tastes of particular audiences, not always following the “proper” form or harmony of his generation.
MOZART WAS KNOWN AS BOLD AND PRECARIOUS.
Mozart spent many years traveling with his father, and later as a salaried professional at various prestigious organizations. Similar to modern day rock stars, he was often discontent with the confining environment of these positions. Often he was required to compose and play certain types of music, which Mozart objected to but was obliged to observe. He had once mixed freely with noblemen, but now found himself placed at a table in the lodgings for the archbishop’s entourage, below the valets if above the cooks. Furthermore, he was refused permission to play at concerts (including one attended by the emperor at which Mozart could have earned half a year’s salary in an evening). He was resentful and insulted. Matters came to a head at an interview with Archbishop Colloredo, who, according to Mozart, used unecclesiastical language; Mozart requested his discharge, which was eventually granted at a stormy meeting.
MOZART DIED IN POVERTY AT THE AGE OF 35.
After many ups and downs in his career, Mozart set about earning a living in Vienna. His main concern was to take on some pupils, to write music for publication, and to play in concerts (which in Vienna were more often in noblemen’s houses than in public).
At the time of his death Mozart was widely regarded not only as the greatest composer of the time but also as a bold and “difficult” one. He suffered from depression and several illnesses.
Mozart spent the last 10 years of his life in precarious independence in Vienna.