“Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius”
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music. He is among the most enduringly popular of classical composers.
“It is a great consolation for me to remember that the Lord, to whom I had drawn near in humble and child-like faith, has suffered and died for me, and that He will look on me in love and compassion”
Mozart showed prodigious ability from his earliest childhood in Salzburg. Already competent on keyboard and violin, he composed from the age of five and performed before European royalty; at 17 he was engaged as a court musician in Salzburg, but grew restless and traveled in search of a better position, always composing abundantly. While visiting Vienna in 1781, he was dismissed from his Salzburg position. He chose to stay in the capital, where he achieved fame but little financial security. During his final years in Vienna, he composed many of his best-known symphonies, concertos, and operas, and the Requiem. The circumstances of his early death have been much mythologized. He was survived by his wife Constanze and two sons.
“Music, even in situations of the greatest horror, should never be painful to the ear but should flatter and charm it, and thereby always remain music”
Mozart learned voraciously from others, and developed a brilliance and maturity of style that encompassed the light and graceful along with the dark and passionate - the whole informed by a vision of humanity "redeemed through art, forgiven, and reconciled with nature and the absolute." His influence on subsequent Western art music is profound. Beethoven wrote his own early compositions in the shadow of Mozart, of whom Joseph Haydn wrote that "posterity will not see such a talent again in 100 years."
“[T]o talk well and eloquently is a very great art, but that an equally great one is to know the right moment to stop”
The Requiem Mass in D minor (K. 626) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was composed in Vienna in 1791, during the last year of the composer's life. The requiem was Mozart's last composition and is one of his most popular and respected works.
The Magic Flute (K. 620) is an opera in two acts composed in 1791. The work is in the form of a Singspiel, a popular form that included both singing and spoken dialogue. The Magic Flute is noted for its prominent Masonic elements; Schikaneder and Mozart were Masons and lodge brothers. The opera is also influenced by Enlightenment philosophy, and can be regarded as an allegory advocating enlightened absolutism. The Queen of the Night represents a dangerous form of obscurantism or, according to some interpreters, contemporary Roman Catholicism. Her antagonist Sarastro symbolises the enlightened sovereign who rules according to principles based on reason, wisdom, and nature. The story itself portrays the education of mankind, progressing from chaos through superstition to rationalistic enlightenment, by means of trial (Tamino) and error (Papageno), ultimately to make "the Earth a heavenly kingdom, and mortals like the gods" ("Dann ist die Erd' ein Himmelreich, und Sterbliche den Göttern gleich." This couplet is sung in the finales to both acts.) The role of Queen of the Night is famous for being one of the most demanding in technical difficulty. A particularly demanding aria in this clip below is the Queen of the Night's "Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen" ("The vengeance of Hell boils in my heart"), which reaches a high F6, rare in opera. At the low end, the part of Sarastro includes a conspicuous F in a few locations.
Mozart fell ill while in Prague for the premiere of his opera La clemenza di Tito, written in 1791 on commission for the Emperor's coronation festivities. He was able to continue his professional functions for some time, and conducted the premiere of The Magic Flute on 30 September. The illness intensified on 20 November, at which point Mozart became bedridden, suffering from swelling, pain, and vomiting. Mozart died on 5 December 1791 at the age of 35. Mozart was buried in a common grave, in accordance with contemporary Viennese custom, at the St Marx cemetery outside the city on 7 December 1791.