Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Stars on the Stage: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

There are many composers throughout music history who were equally famous as virtuosos during their lifetime. This month, Clef Notes takes a closer look at a few notable stars who found success through both composition and performance! We’ll get things started with the ever-famous Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791).

Did you know that Mozart was a child prodigy? His father, Leopold Mozart, was a celebrated violinist for the archbishop of Salzburg during his day but ended up sacrificing advancement in his own career when he discovered that his children, Wolfgang and Maria Anna (also nicknamed Nannerl), possessed great musical talent.

Courtesy of mozart.com
Leopold toured Western Europe with his children during the 1760s, exposing them to a variety of cultures and music. Both children were keyboard virtuosos and Wolfgang also quite proficient on the violin. The musical experiences during this time period effected Wolfgang’s compositional style, creating a universal approach to his writing. One composer whose style influenced the young prodigy was that of J. C. Bach, whom Wolfgang met in London. By listening to both men’s concertos, you can note that they follow a similar approach. Wolfgang even arranged three of Bach’s sonatas as piano concertos!

Next time, join me as I look at a piece Mozart composed to perform himself at a concert during the 1780s!