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Born in Salzburg : 

Born in Salzburg Born on January 27, 1756 Father was a court musician Real name: Johan Chrysostom Wolfgang Theophilus Mozart Nickname: Wolferl Had an older sister named Nannerl Both children were very musical!


This is Nannerl Does her head look funny to you??? Back in the times of Mozart, portraits were the only way to have a picture of someone. The artist would paint the body beforehand and when the person came, would paint the head of the person on top of the finished body.

But, I want to play, too!: 

But, I want to play, too! When Wolfgang turned four he started interrupting his sister’s lessons. He needed to be taught properly. He had been playing on the piano (clavier) since he was about three years old, trying to make his own chords and sounds. He could learn a minuet and trio in 30 minutes at the age of 4!

Perfect Pitch: 

Perfect Pitch Mozart had perfect pitch. What is perfect pitch??? Knowing a pitch’s name when you hear it without any reference to other pitches. Not many people have this ability (1 in 10,000). At age four, he was already composing! He also appeared on stage in an opera.

Off to Munich: 

Off to Munich Leopold (Wolfgang’s father) decided to take his two children to Munich for a concert tour. Wolferl was 6 and Nannerl was 11. They were a success! The highlight of his trip was the Italian opera. He was taken to hear one and was intrigued by it.


Vienna The Mozart family traveled to Vienna to play for the Emperor and the Empress. Marie Antoinette met him and was enchanted by his talent. Upon slipping on the floor, she reached down and helped him up, for which he thanked her with a big kiss. Sometimes the children would play three concerts a day. The pressure was too much and Wolfgang fell ill and had to cancel his performances.

Paris and London: 

Paris and London After playing in many large cities throughout Germany, the Mozart family went on to Paris. They were invited to all of the French nobles’ houses. It was in Paris that Wolfgang’s first compositions were actually printed. He was 7 years old!


In London, he met Johann Christian Bach (the son of Johann Sebastian Bach) and struck up a great friendship with him. He and Bach worked together and played music together. He was heartbroken when his father announced that they must leave England. He hoped and planned to return to London, but never did.

Return to Salzburg: 

Return to Salzburg On their way back from London, they stopped again in France. The entire Mozart family fell ill, but it hit Wolfgang the hardest. He had contracted typhoid fever. Eventually, he got better. Touring through Holland, and Switzerland, the Mozarts returned finally to Salzburg.

Back in Salzburg: 

Back in Salzburg In Salzburg, Wolfgang kept up his studies while composing. He studied math, history, and Latin. He spoke fluent French, English, and Italian, along with his native German. Taking a brief trip to Vienna for a concert, the city closed down due to smallpox. Leopold tried to get his family away quickly, but Wolfgang had already caught smallpox. Somehow, he overcame this disease, though most people died of it. He was 11.

First Opera: 

First Opera Back in Salzburg, at the age of 12, Wolfgang finished his first opera. The people didn’t believe that a boy of 12 could write an entire opera by himself. It was his dream that the opera be performed, which it was, after much struggle.

Wolfgang at age 13: 

Wolfgang at age 13


Italy! Wolfgang and his father traveled to Italy in 1769. The Italians went wild over him! He was offered his first contract to compose an opera for the new opera season in Milan. Moving on to Rome, he and his father went and heard a concert at the Vatican of the Miserere by Allegri. He loved the piece and upon his return to the hotel, sat and wrote out every piece he had heard from beginning to end accurately from memory.

Letters to Nannerl: 

Letters to Nannerl Mozart was in excellent spirits and wrote to Nannerl, switching from Italian to French, to German – full of nonsense and fun. Letter writing was different in his time. Paper was expensive, envelopes had not been invented. Letters were sealed with wax, and taken by mail-coach slowly to its destination. A letter to his mother was addressed simply: A Madame Marie Anne Mozart Salzburg

The Pope recognizes Mozart: 

The Pope recognizes Mozart Mozart received the Order of the Golden Spur, in tribute to his musical genius in Rome in 1770. He was now a knight. Back in Bologna, he had to finish his opera. He worked so hard and so fast that his fingers ached from writing. The opera was performed and was a tremendous success. He was contracted to write more operas, but his last opera, Lucio Silla didn’t go over well. Mozart’s music had started to develop in a way that the Italians did not like. He was not commissioned again.

Tough Times: 

Tough Times Mozart was getting older and now needed to earn money. He was very poor, even though his name was famous. The Cardinal whom Leopold worked for complained that Wolfgang needed to go to school and learn music properly. This angered Leopold terribly. Wolfgang was fired from his position in Salzburg. He went to Munich with his mother in search of work.


Unable to bow down to nobility, Wolfgang found no work. People loved his music, but wouldn’t hire him permanently. Stopping in Mannheim, he loved the musical atmosphere and decided to stay through the winter. Mozart fell in love with a lovely young singer, Aloysia Weber. Leopold was horrified and ordered Wolfgang to go to Paris immediately.


Still under his father’s domination, Wolfgang left for Paris as told. Both Wolfgang and his mother hated Paris. His mother fell ill in April. He sent for the doctor, but she had become delirious. Aloysia Weber


She died on July 3, 1778. Mozart was heartbroken. He begged his dear friend Abbe to tell his father of his mother’s death. He started for home. On his way home, he visited Aloysia and found that she no longer cared for him. Saddened, he went home to Salzburg. Anna-Maria Mozart

Tension and Success: 

Tension and Success His father continued to dominate his life, although he was now 24. Mozart was often penniless. When he had good times, he did not know how to save money. He spent it and had fun! He continued to have disagreements with the nobility and was ordered to Vienna.


Marriage In Vienna, he met Constanze Weber, the sister of his lost love Aloysia. He rented a room in their home and found himself in love with Constanze. Constanze was 18, not pretty, but courageous and understanding. Mozart enjoyed her company. He became engaged to her. He was now 26.


Leopold was against the marriage. He felt like Wolfgang was being taken advantage of. Without Leopold’s permission, Wolfgang and Constanze married on August 4, 1782. They set up their own home. Mozart’s Opera The Adbuction of the Seraglio was a huge success. Things were looking good. Aloysia Weber

Vienna and the Mozarts: 

Vienna and the Mozarts The world in which Mozart lived his final 10 years was one of change and chaos. Mozart’s married life had begun stormily in 1782, and it never became a calm peaceful relationship. In June 1783 Mozart’s first son was born. They needed to travel to Salzburg to visit Leopold (Constanze had not met him yet) and left their son with foster-parents. Upon their return to Vienna, three months later, they found that the boy had died. Mozart was to have 6 children, only two of which lived.


He became busier and busier giving concerts and writing music. In his life, he wrote over 620 compositions! In the spring of 1784 Mozart fell gravely ill. A study of Mozart’s death suggests that he suffered from a strep infection which was complicated by what is now called Hennoch-Schoenlein Syndrome – an allergic condition which causes the small blood vessels to leak. Mozart’s kidneys were also inflamed and permanently and seriously affected by this illness.


His father, Leopold, was a lonely old man now and lived on his own. He decided to come to Vienna for a visit. He realized that Mozart was a success in Vienna, but was unable to keep up the pace of Wolfgang’s life. He left for Salzburg, not knowing that he would never see his son again.

Opera Success: 

Opera Success Mozart was busy composing Don Giovanni and Figaro. Both pieces were new and different. Mozart worried that his Italian enemies; Salieri and Bussani would sabotage his new opera. But in spite of his plotting enemies, the opera was a great success.


In the spring of 1787, a 16 year old boy named Ludwig van Beethoven came to study with Mozart. Unfortunately, he had to go back home because his mother was ill. Mozart realized the great talent of this young man and spoke highly of him. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


Mozart was now working under colossal pressure and his output was amazing. His wife was often sick and both were continually worried about money. They moved 11 times within the span of their marriage. There was much stress between himself and his father.

Death of his father: 

Death of his father Leopold died on May 28, 1787. Nannerl was with him, so he was not alone. Wolfgang was too ill to travel to Salzburg for the funeral. He had had another bad kidney infection and was very weak.

Poverty and Death: 

Poverty and Death Mozart received an appointment to the court – finally, after so many years of working for this. However, the money was not enough and he constantly had problems with his finances. Whereas most composers by the age of 33 had some financial security, Mozart had never been worse off.


After another tour of concerts, hoping to earn more money, Wolfgang returned to find Constanze very ill. He had to borrow more money to pay for the expensive treatments for her. She left for a cure in the German village of Baden. He himself was ill; he had bad headaches and colds, and could not sleep. But, being the optimist he was, he kept composing and playing concerts. His sixth child was born and this time the child lived. He now had two children; Karl and Franz.

Mysterious Stranger: 

Mysterious Stranger At the time of Franz’s birth, a stranger, wearing grey, called one day on Mozart and left and anonymous letter asking him to write a Requiem (a mass for the dead). Mozart was worried about this man. He was very superstitious and felt that he was writing his own Requiem. He was also busy writing The Magic Flute and was under the pressure of time to finish the piece. Constanze had gone back to Baden for her cure, still being ill. She took her children with her.


Death By this time, Mozart’s kidneys were failing. Constanze returned to Vienna in early November to find Mozart a very sick man. She tried to cheer him and comfort him, but he collapsed again. He loved seeing family and friends, and they came to visit him often. He gave one of his pupils, Suessmayr, strict instructions on how to finish the Requiem he was writing.


He grew weaker and weaker all that day, and died at fifty-five minutes past midnight; it was December 5, 1791. His last act was to try and make the sound of the drums in his Requiem. His last breath was music; Then Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was dead.


Front of Mozart’s obituary notice


Epilogue Mozart’s funeral was both simple and cheap. Constanze was poor and couldn’t afford a big funeral. Many people had come and wept outside the house when they heard Mozart had died. Just a small handful of family and friends, among them Salieri, accompanied the funeral procession. Constanze was not there, as women were not allowed to attend funerals. She didn’t visit the site of his grave until 1808. No one followed the coffin to the grave on that cold wintry day. Mozart was buried in a common paper’s grave without a witness, and no cross was put on the place.


Mozart was neglected at his end, as he had been neglected during his life. But his music is with us for as long as we have ears to listen.


TRUE OF FALSE? Mozart was a child prodigy. TRUE Mozart was born in Italy. Mozart wrote only symphonies. Mozart’s father left when he was young. Mozart stopped composing after he got ill. FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE


TRUE OF FALSE? Mozart and his wife had children. TRUE Mozart traveled very often. Mozart was appreciated by people and was paid well for his genius. Mozart’s music is still played today. Mozart had a very hard life. TRUE FALSE TRUE TRUE


Patricia Oeste, 2005

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