The rain poured downhard, flooding the suburban streets of Vienna. Thunderroared all around the funeral procession on December 6,1791, as it laboriously headed for St. Marx Cemetery. As itreached the city walls of Vienna, the few friends who hadaccompanied Mozart on his last journey turned back, due tothe unusually bad weather conditions. Such a scene is sadlyappropriate in representing the tragic end of Mozart whohad begun his life with such immeasurable promise. OnJanuary 27, 1756, Leopold Mozart paced up and down thehall of his home in Salzburg, Austria, in anticipation of thearrival of his seventh child. His wife, Anna Maria, had givenbirth to a boy: Wolfgang. Wolfgang and his only othersurviving sibling, Nannerl, grew up immersed in music. Heprogressed quickly and began to compose before he couldeven write. Leopold felt that his child’s gift should bepromoted by travel so the family left Salzburg in 1762 eagerto “show the world a miracle.” From court to palace theMozart family traveled the roads of Europe, showingWolfgang off to the world as a child genius. Often his fatherwould take him to carnivals and masked balls and dress thelittle boy up as a harlequin. These experiences had madeWolfgang not only become something of a legend but hadallowed him musical experiences far beyond those of a merechild prodigy. Upon his eleventh birthday, commissionsflooded in not only from the court but from the bourgeoisie,too. He wrote one act of an oratorio to be performed inMarch, and followed it by a Latin comedy, Apollo andHyacinthus. In September of 1767, the Mozart family left forVienna where, after recovering from small pox, Mozartwould be inspired by his father to write his first opera, LaFinta Semplice. So impressed with Vienna was Mozart thathe and his father set off again for Italy alone in 1769.Traveling throughout the towns of Italy, his recitals were onesuccess after the other, and his opera “Mitridate, re diPonto” saw its twentieth consecutive performance in Milan.A failed attempt at a commission in Milan led Mozart tounderstand how fickle society can be, and brought the twoback to their home in Salzburg. Mozart’s farewells to Milanwere tinged with bitterness and he resigned himself to a lifeas court musician in Salzburg, but the seventeen year oldgenius …
…o grow up into the greatcomposer he became. If Leopold had not exerted such aninfluence over him, Mozart might not have been compelledto work day after day so intently and relentlessly on hiscompositions later in his life. Mozart’s amazingaccomplishments may be in part, due to his father’s influence.Yet, regardless of Mozart’s personal hardships, he has left uswith an impression through his music that will last through theyears.
Gartner, Heinz. (translation by Reinhard Pauly) Constanze Mozart After the Requiem. Munich: Langen Muller. 1922. pp 11-25.
Jahn, Otto. (translation by Pauline Townsend) Life of Mozart. New York: Cooper Square Publishers, Inc. 1970. pp. 264-352.
Parouty, Michel. Mozart From Child Prodigy to Tragic Hero. New York: Discoveries. 1993. pp. 13-127.
Rothstein, Edward. “Riddle and Variations.” New York Times. 26 March 1995. pp. 8-9.
Thompson, Molley (Producer/Director) Mozart.(1995). New York, NY. A Television Network. 50 min.
Stafford, William. The Mozart Myths. California: Stanford University Press. 1991. pp. 3-17.
Erich, Valentin. Mozart and his World. New York: Thames and Hudson Ltd. 1959. pp. 1-128