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Leopold Mozart Essay

2721 words - 11 pages

Leopold Mozart

The rain poured down
hard, flooding the suburban streets of Vienna. Thunder
roared all around the funeral procession on December 6,
1791, as it laboriously headed for St. Marx Cemetery. As it
reached the city walls of Vienna, the few friends who had
accompanied Mozart on his last journey turned back, due to
the unusually bad weather conditions. Such a scene is sadly
appropriate in representing the tragic end of Mozart who
had begun his life with such immeasurable promise. On
January 27, 1756, Leopold Mozart paced up and down the
hall of his home in Salzburg, Austria, in anticipation of the
arrival of his seventh child. His wife, Anna Maria, had given
birth to a boy: Wolfgang. Wolfgang and his only other
surviving sibling, Nannerl, grew up immersed in music. He
progressed quickly and began to compose before he could
even write. Leopold felt that his child's gift should be
promoted by travel so the family left Salzburg in 1762 eager
to "show the world a miracle." From court to palace the
Mozart family traveled the roads of Europe, showing
Wolfgang off to the world as a child genius. Often his father
would take him to carnivals and masked balls and dress the
little boy up as a harlequin. These experiences had made
Wolfgang not only become something of a legend but had
allowed him musical experiences far beyond those of a mere
child prodigy. Upon his eleventh birthday, commissions
flooded in not only from the court but from the bourgeoisie,
too. He wrote one act of an oratorio to be performed in
March, and followed it by a Latin comedy, Apollo and
Hyacinthus. In September of 1767, the Mozart family left for
Vienna where, after recovering from small pox, Mozart
would be inspired by his father to write his first opera, La
Finta Semplice. So impressed with Vienna was Mozart that
he and his father set off again for Italy alone in 1769.
Traveling throughout the towns of Italy, his recitals were one
success after the other, and his opera "Mitridate, re di
Ponto" saw its twentieth consecutive performance in Milan.
A failed attempt at a commission in Milan led Mozart to
understand how fickle society can be, and brought the two
back to their home in Salzburg. Mozart's farewells to Milan
were tinged with bitterness and he resigned himself to a life
as court musician in Salzburg, but the seventeen year old
genius soon began to feel suffocated in the narrow confines
of his native city. He continued to produce quartets and
vocal works but the regular rhythm of Salzburg life failed to
give him musical satisfaction. After three years of monotony
with an occasional commission, the twenty year old musician
had no more to hope for from life in the provinces and
reached the decision: he would leave Salzburg. Mozart felt
he could breathe again as he set off from Salzburg sure that
his genius was about to be acknowledged by the world at
large. In 1777, Mozart traveled with his mother to
Mannheim, where...

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