Friday, January 27, 8756

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

[Wolfgang as a child, possibly by Pietro Antonio Lorenzoni; painted in 1763 on commission from Leopold]

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, January 27, 1756 – 5 December 1791) was a prolific and influential composer whose output of over 600 compositions includes all major genres of his day.

Mozart's father Leopold Mozart (1719–1787) was a composer, teacher, and deputy Kapellmeister, to the court orchestra of the Archbishop of Salzburg.

Leopold published a successful book on violin and performance practice, Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule, in the same year as the birth of his son, to his wife, Anna Maria Pertl Mozart,

at Getreidegasse 9

in the capital of the sovereign Archbishopric of Salzburg, Austria,

then part of the Holy Roman Empire.

Wolfgang's only sibling to survive past birth was his elder sister by five years, Maria Anna ("Nannerl," 1751-1829), herself a talented musician.

Wolfgang was baptized the day after his birth at St. Rupert's Cathedral.

His first two baptismal names (in conformance to Catholic custom and not used by the composer in everyday life), "Joannes Chrysostomus," result from the fact that his birthday was the feast day of St. John Chrysostom. "Wolfgang" was the name of the composer's maternal grandfather. "Theophilus," the name of Mozart's godfather (Joannes Theopilus Pergmayr), comes from Greek and is rendered as "lover of God" or "loved by God." The familiar form "Amadeus" is the Latin version of same, as is the German equivalent "Gottlieb."

When Nannerl was seven, Leopold began giving her keyboard lessons, and the three-year old Wolfgang looked on, evidently with fascination. His sister later recorded that "he often spent much time at the clavier, picking out thirds, [figures!] ... and his pleasure showed it sounded good [to him]. . . [I]n the fourth year of his age his father, for a game as it were, began to teach him a few minuets and pieces at the clavier. ... he could play it faultlessly and with the greatest delicacy, and keeping exactly in time. ... At the age of five he was already composing little pieces, which he played to his father who wrote them down." Among them were the Andante (K. 1a) and Allegro in C (K. 1b).

Wolfgang's first independent (and ink-spattered) composition, and his initial ability to play the violin, were both his own doing and were a great surprise to Leopold. The father and son seem to have been close, and Leopold eventually gave up composing when his son's outstanding musical talents became evident. He was Wolfgang's only teacher in his earliest years.

The two-prodigy family made several journeys, beginning with an exhibition in 1762 at the Court of the Elector of Bavaria in Munich, then at the Imperial Court in Vienna and Prague. A long concert tour spanning three and a half years followed, taking them to the courts in Munich, Mannheim, Paris, London, The Hague, again to Paris, Zürich, Donaueschingen, and Munich.

A particularly important influence was Johann Christian Bach, who met Mozart in London in 1764–65. The family again went to Vienna in late 1767 and remained there until December 1768. On this trip Mozart contracted smallpox, but his father refused to have him inoculated, believing that it was "God's will" whether the boy live or die [!].

After one year in Salzburg, three trips (December 1769 - March 1771, August-December 1771, October 1772 -March 1773) to Italy followed, with just Leopold, leaving mother and Nanerl at home. During these trips, Mozart called himself, Italian style, "Wolfgango Amadeo."

He met Padre Giovanni Battista Martini in Bologna,

and in Rome heard Gregorio Allegri's Miserere once in performance in the Sistine Chapel, writing it out entirely from memory (only returning to correct minor errors), producing the first illegal copy of a closely-guarded property of the Vatican.

In Milan, the young composer, at 14, wrote the opera Mitridate Rè di Ponto (1770), and performed with success. This led to further opera commissions, and Wolfgang and Leopold returned twice from Salzburg to Milan for the composition and premieres of Ascanio in Alba (1771) and Lucio Silla (1772).

Toward the end of the final Italian journey Mozart wrote the first of his works that is still widely performed today, the solo cantata Exsultate, jubilate, K. 165.

Following his final return with his father from Italy (March 13 1773), Mozart was employed as a court musician by the ruler of Salzburg Prince-Archbishop Hieronymus Colloredo. Mozart was a "favorite son" in Salzburg, where he had a great number of friends and admirers.

But despite success, both male Mozarts gradually grew more discontented with Salzburg and made increasingly strenuous efforts to find positions elsewhere. The reason seems to be in part his low salary, 150 florins per year.

So the touring travels became job-hunting expeditions almost immediately, as father and son visited Vienna from July 14 - 26 September 1773, and Munich from December 6, 1774 - March 1775. Neither visit was successful employment-wise, though the Munich journey resulted in a popular success with the premiere of Mozart's opera La finta giardiniera.

In addition, Wolfgang longed to compose operas, and Salzburg provided at best rare occasions for opera productions. The situation became worse in 1775 when the court theater was closed, and the other theater in Salzburg was largely reserved for visiting troupes.

At least during the period between April and December of 1775, the 19-year-old Mozart developed an enthusiasm for violin concertos, producing a series of five (the only ones he ever wrote), steadily increasing in their musical sophistication.


Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major ("Turkish"), K. 219 (1775)

The c. 28-minute work was premiered during the 1775 holiday season in Salzburg, and follows the typical concerto structure of fast-slow-fast.


I. Allegro aperto - Adagio - Allegro aperto

The "aperto" marking is found in a few Mozart pieces (including his Oboe Concerto), but is rare otherwise (Alburger uses it in his Violin and Flute Concertos after Wolfgang). The term implies a broader, more majestic manner than might otherwise be suggested.

The 10-11 minute opening is a first-movement sonata-allegro featuring, as is often the case in post-baroque concerti, a double-exposition, wherein the orchestra delineates most of the themes, followed by the soloist's entry with an enriched palette of material. In this case, part of the latter is an opening short dolce adagio passage, unique in Mozart's output, followed the repeat of the first section with new thematic material for the violinist.

II. Adagio

III. Rondeau: Tempo di Menuetto

The Rondeau combines a Mozartean symphony's third-fourth movement pair of 3/4 minuet-and-trio and rondo finale.


harmonically as

A F#m A Am A F#m A

The C section constitutes a trio to the surrounding minuet, and features fiery "Turkish" music, that was all the rage (after all, the Turks once reached the gates of Vienna), in moody chromaticism, and harmonic minor arpeggios and scales:

Melodically as A: Do Sol Me Do Sol Me Do Me Sol Do Me Sol Ti (Do)

Note the nice clash of a tonic A pedal point in m4 against an otherwise banal E dominant 7th.


In the revolutionary year of 1776, Mozart, at 20, produced a series of piano concertos.

[Mozart at 21 (1777) - portrait requested by Padre Martini for his gallery]

Particularly at this time, Mozart had a striking fondness for scatological and sexual humor, which is preserved in his many surviving letters, notably those written to his cousin Maria Anna Thekla Mozart around 1777–1778, but also in his correspondence with his sister Nannerl. Mozart even wrote scatological music, the canon Leck mich im Arsch (Lick my Ass, K. 231).

In the frequently playful letters of his youth Mozart sometimes would spell his name backwards, viz., Mozart Wolfgang or Trazom. More often he would sign letters 'Mzt'.

Mozart also on one occasion made fun of the name 'Amadeus' and signed himself in three letters as "Wolfgangus Amadeus Mozartus" (this was certainly no accident as in one letter he did the same to the date of the letter as well: adding "us" to the end of each word).

On September 23, 1777, Mozart, who by this time preferred to refer to himself as "Wolfgang Amadè," began yet another job-hunting tour, this time accompanied by his mother Anna Maria. The visit included Munich, Mannheim, and Paris. In Mannheim he became acquainted with members of the Mannheim orchestra, the best in Europe at the time. He also fell in love with Aloysia Weber, one of four daughters in a musical family. Mozart moved on to Paris and attempted to build his career there, but was unsuccessful (he did obtain a job offer as organist at Versailles, but it was a job he did not want. The visit to Paris was an especially unhappy one because Mozart's mother took ill and died on June 23, 1778. On his way back to Salzburg, Mozart passed through Munich again, where Aloysia, now employed at the opera there as a singer, confirmed her lack of interest in him.

The question arises why Mozart, despite his talent, was unable to find a job on this trip. Maynard Solomon has suggested that the problem lay in conflict with father Leopold, who insisted that Mozart find a high-level position that would support the entire family. Wolfgang favored the alternative strategy of settling in a major city, working as a freelance, and cultivating the aristocracy to the point that he would be favored for an important job; this had worked earlier for other musicians such as Haydn. The plan Leopold imposed, coupled with Mozart's youth (he was only 21 when he left Salzburg), seems to have had foreordained failure.


Oboe Concerto in C Major (1778)

Variations on "Ah, vous dirais (1778)


Can't argue with the folksongs clear melodic and formal outline of

(A) Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol Fa Fa Mi Mi Re Re Do

(B) Fa Fa Mi Mi Re Re DoFa Fa Mi Mi Re Re Do

A) Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol Fa Fa Mi Mi Re Re Do

Variation I


Violin Sonata No. 24 in C Major, K. 296 (1778)
I. Allegro vivace
II. Andante sostenuto
III. Rondo


[Family portrait, with deceased mother, from about 1780 by Johann Nepomuk della Croce]

In January 1781, Mozart's opera Idomeneo, successfully premiered in Munich. The following March, the composer was summoned to Vienna, where the Archbishop was attending the celebrations for the installation of the Emperor Joseph II. Mozart, who had just experienced success in Munich, was offended when Colloredo treated him as a mere servant, and particularly when the Archbishop forbade him to perform before the Emperor at Countess Thun's (for a fee that would have been fully half of his Salzburg salary). In May the resulting quarrel intensified: Mozart attempted to resign, and was refused. The following month, however, the delayed permission was granted, but in a grossly insulting way: Mozart was dismissed literally "with a kick in the behind" administered by the Archbishop's steward, Count Arco.

The quarrel with the Archbishop was made harder for Mozart by the fact that his father took the Archbishop's side: hoping fervently that his son would come home when Colloredo returned, his father exchanged emotionally intense letters with Wolfgang, urging him to reconcile with their employer. Wolfgang passionately defended his intention to pursue his career alone in Vienna. The debate ended when Mozart was dismissed, freeing himself both of his oppressive employer and of his father's demands to return.

Mozart's new career in Vienna began very well. He performed often as a pianist, notably in a competition before the Emperor with Muzio Clementi, December 24, 1781. Mozart also prospered as a composer: during 1781–1782 he wrote Die Entführung aus dem Serail ("The Abduction from the Seraglio"), another Turkish inspiration, which premiered July 16, 1782 and achieved a huge success, and fully established Mozart's reputation as a composer.

Near the height of his quarrels with Archbishop Colloredo, Mozart moved in (May 1-2, 1781) with the Webers, who had moved to Vienna from Mannheim and were taking in lodgers, after the death of the father, Fridolin.

[1782 portrait of Constanze Mozart by Joseph Lange, actor and Mozart's brother-in-law]

Aloysia, who had earlier rejected Mozart's suit, was now married to the actor Joseph Lange, and Mozart's interest shifted to the third daughter, Constanze. The couple were married on August 4, 1782, Mozart signing as "Wolfgang Amadè."

In the parish register entry for the marriage, Mozart is referred to as "Herr Wolfgang Adam Mozart", plausibly an error caused by a mistake of Constanze Mozart's witness Johann Thorwart, who didn't know Mozart's exact name.

Mozart's preference for "Amadè" was not in general respected by others. Frequently, he was called either "Wolfgang Amadeus" or "Wolfgang Gottlieb".

Wolfgang and Constanze had six children, of whom only two survived infancy: Karl Thomas (1784–1858) and Franz Xaver Wolfgang (1791–1844; later a minor composer himself).

During 1782–1783, Mozart became closely acquainted with the work of J. S. Bach and G.F. Handel

as a result of the influence of Baron Gottfried van Swieten, who owned many manuscripts of works by the Baroque masters. Mozart's study of these works led first to a number of works imitating Baroque style and later had a powerful influence on his own personal musical language.

In 1783, Wolfgang and Constanze visited Wolfgang's family in Salzburg, but the visit was not a success, as Leopold and Nannerl were, at best, only polite to Constanze. The visit did spark the composition of the Mass in C Minor, which, though not completed, was premiered in Salzburg in a performance featuring Constanze's singing.

At some (time following his move to Vienna, Mozart met Joseph Haydn and the two composers became friends. When Haydn visited Vienna, they sometimes played together in an impromptu string quartet. Mozart's six quartets dedicated to Haydn (K. 387, K. 421, K. 428, K. 458, K. 464, and K. 465) date from 1782–85, and are often judged to be his response to Haydn's Opus 33 set from 1781. Haydn stood in awe of Mozart; when he first heard the last three of Mozart's series, he told the visiting Leopold, "Before God and as an honest man I tell you that your son is the greatest composer known to me either in person or by name: He has taste, and, furthermore, the most profound knowledge of composition."

During the years 1782–1785, Mozart put on a series of concerts in which he appeared as soloist in his own piano concertos. He wrote three or four concertos for each concert season, and since space in the theaters was scarce, he booked unconventional venues: a large room in the Trattnerhof, an apartment building; and the ballroom of the Mehlgrube, a restaurant.

[Unfinished portrait of Mozart by his brother-in-law Joseph Lange]

Mozart's physical appearance was described by tenor Michael Kelly, in his Reminiscences, as "a remarkable small man, very thin and pale, with a profusion of fine, fair hair of which he was rather vain." His early biographer Niemetschek wrote, "there was nothing special about [his] physique ... He was small and his countenance, except for his large intense eyes, gave no signs of his genius." His facial complexion was pitted, a reminder of his childhood case of smallpox. He loved elegant clothing: Kelly remembered him at a rehearsal: "[he] was on the stage with his crimson pelisse and gold-laced cocked hat, giving the time of the music to the orchestra". Of his voice Constanze later wrote that it "was a tenor, rather soft in speaking and delicate in singing, but when anything excited him, or it became necessary to exert it, it was both powerful and energetic."

Mozart worked very hard, a great deal of the time, and finished works where necessary at a tremendous pace. When composing he often made sketches and drafts, though (unlike Beethoven's sketches) these are mostly not preserved, Constanze having destroyed them after his death.

Mozart also enjoyed billiards and liked dancing. He kept pets (a canary, starling, and
dog), and a horse for recreational riding.

He was raised Roman Catholic and remained a loyal member of the Catholic Church throughout his life.

Mozart lived at the center of Viennese musical life, and knew a great number of people, including not just his fellow musicians, but also theatrical performers, fellow transplanted Salzburgers, and many aristocrats, including a fairly close acquaintance with the Emperor, Joseph II. Mozart had a considerable number of friends, including the horn player Joseph Leutgeb, with whom he carried on curious kind of friendly mockery, often with Leutgeb as the butt of practical jokes.


Piano Concerto No. 17 (1784): I. Allegro


With the substantial money Mozart earned in his concerts and elsewhere, he and Constanze adopted a rather plush lifestyle. They moved to an expensive apartment, with a rent of 460 florins.

Mozart also bought a fine fortepiano from Anton Walter for about 900 florins, and a billiards table for about 300.

The Mozarts also sent their son Karl Thomas to an expensive boarding school and kept servants. These choices inhibited saving, and were the partial cause of a stressful financial situation for the Mozart family a few years later

On December 14, 1784, Mozart became a Mason, admitted to the lodge "Zur Wohltätigkeit" ("Beneficence"), and freemasonry played an important role in the remainder of Mozart's life; he attended many meetings, a number of his friends were Masons, and on various occasions he composed Masonic music.

Around the end of 1785, Mozart reshifted his focus again, ceasing to write piano concertos on a regular basis, and beginning his collaboration with the librettist Lorenzo da Ponte.


Le nozze di Figaro, ossia la folle giornata (The Marriage of Figaro or the Day of Madness), K. 492, is an opera buffa (comic opera) composed in 1786 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with Italian libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte, based on a stage comedy by Pierre Beaumarchais, La folle journée, ou le Mariage de Figaro (1784).

Although the play by Beaumarchais was at first banned in Vienna because of its satire of the aristocracy, considered as dangerous in the decade before the French revolution, the opera became one of Mozart's most successful works. The overture is especially famous and is often played as a concert piece. The musical material of the overture is not used later in the work, aside from a brief phrase during the Count's aria.


1786 saw the Vienna premiere of The Marriage of Figaro, which was quite successful in Vienna and even more so in a Prague production later the same year.

Nevertheless, as the decade progressed, Mozart's career declined. Around this time he had ceased to appear frequently in public concerts, and his income dropped. This was in general a difficult time for musicians in Vienna because Austria was at war (1787-1791)), and both the general level of prosperity and the ability of the aristocracy to support music had declined.

[The Dick Van Dyck Show: Episode 22, with an excerpt from Don Giovanni (and some flamenco dancing at the end)]

The Prague success of Marriage, did, however, lead to the commission of a second Mozart-Da Ponte opera, Don Giovanni, premiering in 1787 to acclaim in its commissioning city and also produced, with some success, in Vienna in 1788.

In December 1787 Mozart finally obtained a steady post under aristocratic patronage. Emperor Joseph II appointed him as his "chamber composer,"

a post that opened up the previous month when Christophe Willibald Gluck (b. 1714) died. It was not a full-time job, however, paid only 800 florins per year, and merely required Mozart to compose dances for the annual balls in the Redoutensaal. Mozart complained to Constanze that the pay was "too much for what I do, too little for what I could do." However, even this much proved important to Mozart later on when hard times arrived. Court records show that Joseph's intent was explicitly to help make sure that Mozart, whom he esteemed, did not leave Vienna to seek better prospects elsewhere.

[Beethoven at 31 (1801)]

In 1787, the young Ludwig van Beethoven traveled to Vienna for two weeks in hopes of studying with Mozart. The evidence for what happened during this visit is conflicting, and at least three hypotheses are in play: that Mozart heard Beethoven play and praised him, that Mozart rejected Beethoven as a student, and that they never even met.

While Mozart called himself "Amadeus" in jest, his only official mention as "Wolfgang Amadeus" is in an official document was found in 1998, in the registers of the Lower Austrian Governorship, where in May 1787 "Mozart Wolfgang Amadeus" is referred to as having applied for the return of his written surety for his friend Franz Jakob Freystädtler.

By mid-1788, Mozart and his family moved from central Vienna to cheaper lodgings in the suburb of Alsergrund.

Mozart began to borrow money, most often from his friend and fellow Mason Michael Puchberg; "a dismal series of begging letters" survives. Maynard Solomon and others have suggested that Mozart suffered from depression at this time, and it seems his output rate sank somewhat.

The major works of the period include the last three symphonies (1788: 39, 40, 41; it is not certain whether these were performed in Mozart's lifetime).


Piano Sonata No. 16 in C Major, K. 545 (c. 1788, one of four in this key)

Melodic solfege:

Do Mi Sol Ti Do Re Do La Sol Do Sol Fa Mi Fa Mi


I V43 I IV64 I V6 I


The first movement is in sonata form,

A (Exposition) B (Development) A' (Recapitulation)

with subdivisions

a (first theme) transition b (second theme) codetta development a' trans b' coda

harmonically as

I V development IV (more typically I) I

The Piano Sonata No. 16 in C Major, K. 545, was described by Mozart himself in his own thematic catalogue as "for beginners," and it is sometimes known by the nickname Sonata facile or Sonata semplice.

Mozart added the work to his catalogue on June 26, 1788, the same date as his Symphony No. 39. The exact circumstances of the work's composition are not known, however. Although the piece is very well known today, it was not published in Mozart's lifetime, first appearing in print in 1805. A typical performance takes about 14 minutes.

The work has three movements:

1. Allegro
2. Andante
3. Rondo

The first movement is written in sonata form and is in the key of C Major. The familiar opening theme is accompanied by an Alberti bass, played in the left hand. A bridge passage composed of scales follows, arriving at a cadence in G major, the key in which the second theme is then played. A codetta follows to conclude the exposition, then the exposition is repeated.

The development starts in G Minor and modulates through several keys. The recapitulation begins, unusually, in the subdominant key of F Major. According to Charles Rosen, the practice of beginning a recapitulation in the subdominant was "rare at the time [the sonata] was written," though the practice was later taken up by Franz Schubert.

The second movement is in the key of G Major, the dominant key of C Major. The music modulates in the middle of this movement to the tonic minor (G Minor) and its relative major (B-flat major). The movement then modulates to the tonic, and, after the main theme and development is heard again, ends.

The third movement is in rondo form and is in the tonic key, C Major. The first theme is lively and sets the mood of the piece. The second theme is in G Major and contains an Alberti bass in the left hand. The first theme appears again and is followed by a third theme. The third theme is in a minor key and modulates through many different keys before modulating into C Major. The first theme appears again followed by a coda and finally ends in C Major.

As a rough guide, using the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music grading system (which ranges in increasing difficulty from 1 to 8), the first movement is approximately grade 5, the middle, slower movement falling just over the requirements for grade 6; with the final rondo being rather challenging, and therefore approximately 7.


Symphony No. 40 in G Minor (1788)

I. Molto allegro



Symphony No. 41 ("Jupiter") - contains J.S. Bach-influenced counterpoint for its finale.


[Drawing of Mozart in silverpoint, made by Dora Stock during Mozart's visit to Dresden, April 1789]

During this time Mozart made long journeys hoping to improve his fortunes: a visit in spring of 1789 to Leipzig, Dresden, and Berlin (see: Mozart's Berlin journey), and a 1790 visit to Frankfurt, Mannheim, and other German cities. The trips produced only isolated success and did not solve Mozart's financial problems.

The last of the three Da Ponte operas, Cosi fan tutte, premiered 1790.

Mozart's last year was, until his final illness struck, one of great productivity and (in the view of Maynard Solomon) personal recovery.

During this time Mozart wrote a great deal of music, including some of his most admired works: the opera The Magic Flute, the final Piano Concerto (K. 595 in B flat), the Clarinet Concerto K. 622, the last of his String quintets (K. 614 in E flat), the motet Ave verum corpus K. 618, and

the unfinished Requiem K. 626, with its Dies Irae, above.

Mozart's financial situation also began to improve. It appears that admiring wealthy patrons in Hungary and in Amsterdam pledged annuities to Mozart, in return for the occasional composition. Mozart also probably made considerable money from the sale of dance music that he wrote for his job as Imperial chamber composer.

He ceased to borrow large sums from Puchberg and made a start on paying off his debts.

Lastly, Mozart experienced great satisfaction in the public success of some his works, notably The Magic Flute (performed many times even during the short period between its premiere and Mozart's death) and the Little Masonic Cantata K. 623, premiered November 15, 1791.

Mozart fell ill while in Prague, for the September 6 premiere of his opera La clemenza di Tito, written in 1791 on commission for the coronation festivities of the Emperor. He was able to continue his professional functions for some time, onducting the premiere of The Magic Flute on September 30. The illness intensified on November 20, at which point Mozart became bedridden, suffering from swelling, pain, and gastrointestinal difficulties.

Mozart was tended in his final illness by Constanze, her youngest sister Sophie, and the family doctor, Thomas Franz Closset. There is evidence that he was mentally occupied with the task of finishing his Requiem. However, the evidence that he actually dictated passages to Süssmayr is very slim.

Mozart died at 1 in the morning on December 5. He was buried in a common grave, in accordance with contemporary Viennese custom, at the St Marx cemetery outside the city on December 7. If, as later reports say, no mourners attended, that too is consistent with Viennese burial customs at the time. The tale of a storm and snow is false; the day was calm and mild.

His death record listed "hitziges Frieselfieber" ("severe miliary fever", referring to a rash that looks like millet seeds), a description that does not suffice to identify the cause as it would be diagnosed in modern medicine. The most widely accepted version is that he died of acute rheumatic fever; he had had three or even four known attacks of it since his childhood, and this particular disease has a tendency to recur, leaving increasingly serious consequences each time, such as rampant infection and heart valve damage.

On the very day that Mozart died, the death records of the Vienna Magistrate already give his first names as "Wolfgang Amadeus." The parish register of St. Stephen's Cathedral that recorded Mozart's death gives his name as "Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart."

In a letter dated December 11, 1791, Mozart's widow Constanze, in severe financial straits, asked to be given a pension by the Emperor (the appeal was ultimately successful). She signed herself "Konstantia Mozart, née Weber, widow relict of the late Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart." Imperial officials, replying to her request, used the same name. A benefit concert for Mozart's family was held in Prague on December 28, 1791, billed as "Concert in memory of Wolfgang Gottlieb Mozart".

Mozart's spare funeral did not reflect his standing with the public as a composer: memorial services and concerts in Vienna and Prague were well attended. During the period following his death, Mozart's musical reputation rose substantially; Biographies were written (initially by Schlichtegroll, Niemetschek, and Nissen),publishers vied to produce complete editions of his works, and legends were diseminated, such as Jahn writing in 1856 that Salieri, Süssmayr, van Swieten and two other musicians were present at the composer's funeral.

[Posthumous painting by Barbara Krafft in 1819]

Mozart's most famous pupil was probably Johann Nepomuk Hummel, a transitional figure between Classical and Romantic eras whom the Mozarts took into their Vienna home for two years as a child during his studies.

Ludwig van Beethoven, whose life overlapped with Mozart's, seems to have been particularly strongly influenced by him. Beethoven became closely acquainted with Mozart's work as a teenager (he is thought to have played Mozart's operas in the court orchestra in Bonn). He traveled to Vienna in 1787 in the hope (unfulfilled) of studying with Mozart. It is thought that some of Beethoven's works have direct models in comparable works by Mozart. Beethoven also wrote cadenzas (WoO 58) to Mozart's Piano Concerto in D Minor, K. 466.

A number of composers have paid homage to Mozart by writing sets of variations on his themes. Beethoven wrote four such sets ((Op. 66, WoO 28, WoO 40, WoO 46; see: List of compositions by Ludwig van Beethoven). Others include Frédéric Chopin's variations for solo piano on "Là ci darem la mano" from Don Giovanni (1827) and Max Reger's Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Mozart (1914), based on the variation theme in the piano sonata K. 331. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky wrote an Orchestral Suite No. 4 in G "Mozartiana" (1887).

For purposes of careful identification of any work by Mozart, the Köchel catalogue number is used. This is a unique number assigned (on a chronological basis) to every known work by Mozart. The first edition of the Köchel catalogue was completed in 1862 by Ludwig von Köchel. It has repeatedly been updated since then.

Authors of fictional works have found Mozart's life a compelling source of raw material. An especially popular case is the supposed rivalry between Mozart and Antonio Salieri, particularly the idea that it was poison received from the latter that caused Mozart's death; this is the subject of Aleksandr Pushkin's play Mozart and Salieri and Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov's opera of the same name. The idea receives no support at all from scholars.

Modern audiences have been gripped by the account of Mozart's life given in Peter Shaffer's play Amadeus, as well as the film based on the stage work. Shaffer seems to have been especially taken by the contrast between Mozart's enjoyment of vulgarity and the sublime character of his music. The scene in Shaffer's work in which Mozart dictates music to Salieri on his deathbed is entirely the author's fancy.

["G#?" "Of course!" -- A harmonic minor!
Salieri is so adept until the easy part (the doublings).
Actually tonic and subdominant for timpani... the latter forming the top of E dominant 7ths.
A Melody (Men) in A minor:
Do Sol Me Sol Re Sol Fa Ti.
Salieri completes ostinato Do Re Me Me Me, in the spirit of Sussmayr finishing the mass.
B Melody (Women) in C Major:
Sopranos Mi Fa to Alto Do Ti -- i.e. I V
Form ABA'B'Coda]

Related Reading:

Piero Weiss and Richard Taruskin
Music in the Western World: A History in Documents
The Young Mozart As a Scientific Curiosity (306-310)
From Mozart's Letters (Pages 310-313)

[Bb, Eb Major / C Melodic Minor / B, F# Minor]

[8760 Rouget de Lisle / 8756 W.A. Mozart / 8752 Muzio Clementi]