Most people will know who you are talking about if you mention the name Mozart. But would they know who you meant if you called him by his full name? Probably not, given that it’s Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart. Say that ten times fast!
Here are 5 other facts about J.C.W.T. Mozart that may surprise you.
1. Mozart didn’t just compose music.
He was also an accomplished player and performer. Mozart played clavier (17th century keyboard), violin, organ, and clarinet very well and was excellent at sight-reading and improvisation.
2. Mozart’s musical genius manifested at a very young age.
He began playing clavier at age 3. By age 6, his skill on clavier and violin was so remarkable that his father started taking him on concert tours. As a child prodigy, Mozart performed in the courts of Munich, Mannheim, Paris, London, and Zurich.
He began composing almost as early as he started playing. Mozart composed his first pieces for clavier by age 5, his first symphony at age 8, his first mass (Misa Brevis in G) at 12, and his first opera (Mitridate Re di Ponto) at 14.
3. Mozart was well respected by other musicians and composers.
He was good friends with Joseph Haydn, who wrote of Mozart: “Posterity will not see such a talent again in 100 years.” Mozart wrote six quartets that he dedicated to Haydn, in honor of their friendship.
In April of 1787, 16-year-old Ludwig von Beethoven traveled to Vienna intending to take two weeks of music lessons from Mozart. Whether the two actually met–or if Beethoven got his lessons–is unknown.
4. Mozart’s family was very musical.
His father, Leopold Mozart, was also a composer and popular performer. He played and taught violin and clavier, and his students included his two children. Mozart’s father was the only music teacher he and his sister had during their childhood.
Mozart’s sister, Maria Anna, also was very talented with the violin and clavier. She toured Europe with her father and younger brother until she reached marriageable age, at which point her father required her to stay home.
Though Mozart’s two sons, Karl Thomas and Franz Xaver, were also very musical, only Franz made a career out of music. A major loss to the music world, Mozart’s line ended with his sons. Neither married or had children.
5. Mozart was a prolific composer.
In the 35 years of his life, he wrote over 600 works in every major genre of the time. Mozart refined and advanced the forms of symphony, sonata, opera, concerto, choral works, and chamber music. He is credited with popularizing the piano concerto.
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