Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Accomplished more in 35 years than most can accomplish in 100.

Quick, tell me what was the last word upon Mahler's lips before he died? Or, tell me the man who Beethoven, as stubborn as he was, actually looked at as a musician who could write a more musical melody then he, himself, could have ever written? This same person wrote his first symphony at the age of eight, his first opera at 12. Don't know? Well, I will let you in on the answer. Mozart. One of the most prolific musicians and composers in the history of Western Classical Music, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg, now today's Austria on the 27th of January 1756. From a young age he showed great interest in music. His father, Leopold, capitalized on this and nurtured Mozart into a music playing/composing machine. He started touring Europe at the age of six with his sister and father, showing off his musicianship to the aristocratic circle by sight reading music, playing blind folded and by making music up on the spot. Yes indeed, Mozart was a prodigy and yes, this made his father very wealthy and yes this put a strain on the young musician. In fact while touring for three years straight, Mozart battled through erythema nodosum, rheumatic fever, angina, small-pox, scarlet fever and intestinal typhoid, the latter of which took two months of recovery. But as they say, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!". Fighting off sickness though didn't just make Mozart physically tough. He grew more musically inept with each passing note. Once, while sitting through a performance of Gregorio Allegri's Miserere at the Sistine Chapel, Mozart was able to memorize the whole piece from ear and later write it out only to fix some minor details after he was done. Mozart produced music at a great rate writing everything from Opera's to Concerto's. He was a people person, made friends with many, including composer Joseph Hayden and for whom he wrote six quartet's dedicated to him. He sold out concert's with himself as the soloist and moved to Vienna, the music capitol of the world at that time. Yup, Mozart was good, probably the best of his time, but his personal life was not as perfect as his music. When his later years came to him he fell into debt, not for the fact that he wasn't paid well for his work, O he was paid well. His debt was more self inflicted, he just simply spent more money then he made. At times to make ends meat, Mozart would borrow money from fellow mason member Michael Puchberg to support him, his wife and their two children. As his situation worsened, Mozart fell out of the public eye and went into depression. He continued to fight to pay off his debt's by traveling far for concerts although it relieved little of his debt woes. As the later years of his life came Mozart was finding success with his music again and finances were seeming to look up. He was starting to pay off debt's and was seen more in public. Then tragically his passed away on the fifth of December, 1791. No one knows the exact reason why he passed so suddenly. Some believe that it was mercury poisoning, others believed it was influenza and some believe he was murdered, but in the end we may never know. But he lives on through his great music, all 600 plus compositions. On November fourth, 2011 the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes will be performing a couple pieces of Mozart's music at the Christ Episcopal Church in Corning, New York. Tickets can be bought online at osfl.org, by phone 607-936-2873, or visit the Orchestra in person at 52 W Market Street (Corner of Walnut St. & Market St.) Corning, NY 14830! See you at the concert!


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