Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Gottlieb Mozart, more recognizably known as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, is one of the most celebrated composers of all time. His contributions to the Humanities are both unforgettable and priceless. Throughout his life, Mozart compiled hundreds of pieces of musical work that are still esteemed centuries after his death. His compositions will remain well loved and respected for as long as there is an existence on Earth.
Born in 1756, Mozart was raised in a household where music was a part of daily life. His father, Leopold Mozart, was a violinist, composer, and an assistant concertmaster. He began to teach Mozart the basics of a composition at a very young age. By the time Mozart turned five, he was composing small minuets for his family. By the age of six, Mozart and his sister, Maria Anna, were performing concerts throughout Europe.
The two siblings played the violin and the piano and performed for many prestigious families including royal families, the Austrian empress, and the Bavarian elector. (Parekh, n.d.) By the age of nine, Mozart had composed his first symphony. His popularity grew and Maria Anna and Mozart spent most of their childhood touring across Europe.
Mozart spent the latter part of his life in Vienna. In his adult life, Mozart was unable to obtain work in the post he loved the most. For this reason, he spent many years without composing music. This did not last however, and soon Mozart began to appear in public performances. He married Aloysia Weber and began teaching music. Mozart wrote quartets that he dedicated to Haydn, another great composer, because Mozart felt that Haydn appreciated his musical knowledge and talent. (Parekh, n.d.) In 1791, Mozart passed away at the age of 35. There have been many disputes on the nature of his death, some believing he perished from Rheumatic Fever while others believe he was poisoned. No matter the reason of his death, Mozart left behind him a legacy that has since inflated to near sainthood. His contributions to the Humanities will forever be cherished as will he.
Possibly the most discussed of Mozart’s compositions, Requiem, is the last piece of music that Mozart compiled. It was left unfinished due to his deteriorating state, and after his death, Mozart’s pupil, Franz Xaver Süssmayr, finished it. Albert Einstein, a prominent fixture in our history as well, was quoted as saying, “No other work by Mozart has caused so much ink to be spilled” (Boerner, 2000, Para. 1).
The piece consists of horns, bassoons, trumpets, timpani, trombones, strings, and an organ. It was first performed at St, Michael’s Church in Vienna. The meaning behind the composition remains a mystery to this day. Many believe that Mozart wrote the composition while reflecting on his impending death, believing that death was not to be frightened but rather, regarded as a friend. (Boerner, 2000). There are vocal notes along with the instrumental melodies and tones. The piece is thought to be Mozart’s religious contribution before his death. Though Mozart himself was unable to finish the work, it is still believed to be one of the best compositions of his lifetime.
Requiem has contributed greatly to the development of music. Because of its intricacy and complexity, many composers have taken it upon themselves to finish the piece from where Mozart left off. (Boerner, 2000). For this reason, many versions of the piece can be heard throughout the world. Requiem shows composers of all generations that true art can be composed at any time. The composition lasts for over eight minutes, however, while listening to the romantic beginning and then the almost desperate ending, one does not realize that minutes have gone by. Requiem, in my opinion, is not only proven a great a piece of art, it is a joy to listen to the music.
Boerner, Steven. (2000). The Mozart Project: Requiem in D Minor. Retrieved 2010 August, 15 from http://www.mozartproject.org/compositions/k_626__.html
Madhammu. (2009). Mozart-Requiem. Retrieved 2010 August, 15 from http://www.youtube.com/watchv=Zi8vJ_lMxQI
Parekh, Nilesh. (n.d.). Biography of Mozart. Retrieved 2010 August, 15 from http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/1-29-200564987.asp
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. (n.d.). Retrieved 2010 August, 15 from http://www.its.caltech.edu/~tan/Mozartreq/main.html