Mozart was born January 27, 1756 in Salzburg, Austria. He was the Seventh child of Leopold and Anna Maria Mozart, though only he and his older sister Nannerl would survive past infancy. At three years old Mozart began to play the harpsichord, by six he was writing compositions. Leopold decided not to waste Wolfgang's precocious talents and took him on a tour across Europe with his sister, displaying their abilities to royal courts and houses. Leopold gained a good deal of money and also spread Mozart's reputation. These tours continued well into Mozart's late teenage years. Mozart's touring with his father only stopped when Wolfgang was fired by the Archbishop of Salzburg.

Mozart was happy to leave the Archbishop, for he confined his genius and kept him demoted (sound familiar to modern workers?). He immediately left with his mother (to babysit him instead of pappa) to find work elsewhere. He traveled from Austria to Italy and finally ended up in France. He received a minor position but hated France. Mozart decided to reluctantly return to Salzburg after his mother died from a fever while in Paris.

After flirting with a first cousin and being attracted to Aloysia Weber, Mozart opted for Aloysia's sister, Constanza. Temperamentally they were perfect, both fun-loving and playful, financially, however, they (especially Mozart) were spendthrifts. After a long wait, with Leopold's blessing not forthcoming, they decided to marry on August 4, 1782. Around this time Mozart wrote the score to "The Abduction from the Seralio". Later he'd also compose "The Marriage of Figaro" and "Don Giovanni". The Mozarts' money trouble really start to show by the time of "Cosi fan Tutte" and "La Clemenza di Tito". His crowning operatic masterpiece, however, was completed in the year of his death, "The Magic Flute".

"The Requiem" was commissioned the same time as "The Magic Flute". Mozart was a freelance composer after he was fired by the Archbishop. Wealthy patrons commissioning symphonies, minuets, and concertos was a common practice. Because the patron remained anonymous (so he could plagiarize Mozart's work), Mozart acquired morbid feelings for "The Requiem" and anticipated his own death. In an attack of rheumatic fever, Mozart died of heart failure on December 4, 1792. "The Requiem" was never completed.



Info was provided by Mozart: From Child Prodigy to Tragic Hero
by Michel Parouty (Harry N. Abrams, Inc. Publishers)
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