A child prodigy from a musical family, he began composing at the age of five. His father Leopold Mozart, was also a composer, and some of the piano pieces of W.A. Mozart, especially the duets and pieces for two pianos, he wrote to play together with his sister Nannerl. Mozart lived much of his life in Vienna but traveled Europe extensively.
As a man, he became a Freemason, and worked fervently and successfully to convert his father before Leopold's death. The Magic Flute may well contain Masonic themes or meanings. The coloratura aria from that work, Queen of the Night, is intensely thrilling. In many of his works, Mozart wrote as beautifully for the human voice as for the violin or pianoforte. Mozart is the bridge to the Romantic period. His later symphonies pushed the envelope of his period's style of composition.
Beethoven, one of the best known classical composers, was greatly in Mozart's debt, and wrote Cadenzas to some of Mozart's works that lacked them, most notably Concerto No. 20, K. 466. Mozart often composed only sketches for his own parts, so great was his musical memory. He could also write an entire work on the day of its first performance. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky greatly loved and admired Mozart, and expressed his love by writing Mozartiana, in the Mozart style.
Despite his brilliance, Mozart had a hard life. Many times, he received no payment for his work. Gradually, his health declined. He lived just a little over half of Beethoven's life span, yet was amazingly prolific from early childhood until his death in 1791.
In the decades following Mozart's death there were several attempts to inventory his compositions, but it was only in 1862 that Ludwig von Koechel, a Viennese botanist, mineralogist, educator, and the source of the ubiquitous "K," succeeded in this enterprise. Köchel's stout book of 551 pages was entitled (in German) "Chronological-Thematic Catalogue of the Complete Musical Works of WOLFGANG AMADE MOZART.
Some of Mozart's more popular works are
- Eine kleine Nachtmusik (Serenade for String Quartet & Bass)
- Alla Turca (Sonata for Piano)
- Symphony No. 25
- Symphony No. 40
- The opera 'Le Nozze di Figaro' (The Marriage of Figaro)
- Elvira Madigan (Concerto for Piano No. 21)
His Complete List of Works can be found at http://www.algonet.se/~istvan/daniel/mozart.html
See also: Antonio Salieri