Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg in 1756, the son of a violinist at the court of the local Prince-Archbishop. His father, recognising early the boy’s extraordinary musical talents, proceeded to take him on performing tours throughout Europe so that he could be exposed to as wide a range of musical styles and cultural milieux as possible. By the age of 16 Mozart had visited England, Italy, France and Germany, had met many important musical and political figures, and had had three operas performed in Milan.
It was the sort of education he could never have gained in Salzburg; and, while the constant travelling may have contributed to his lifelong poor health, it was doubtless also a major factor in the formation of his cosmopolitan musical style.
Throughout the 1770s, however, Mozart was a member of the Salzburg orchestra. Growing frustration with his position led him to try his luck in Mannheim and Paris in 1777–8, but the trip brought only disappointment and within a few months he was back in Salzburg. A breakthrough of sorts came when a commission from Munich led to his first great opera, Idomeneo (1781), a work into which he poured all of the musical experience he had so far gained.
The year 1781 finally saw him break with Salzburg and move to the musically more sophisticated Vienna, where he embarked on the life of a freelance composer, pianist and teacher. At first he enjoyed considerable success, particularly as a pianist in his own concertos and with his lively comic opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail (1782). There followed three of his greatest operatic masterpieces – The Marriage of Figaro (1786), Don Giovanni (1787) and Così fan tutte (1790) – but by the time of the last his popularity had waned and he found himself seriously in debt. He died in December 1791, not long after the successful premiere of his final opera, The Magic Flute.
Profile by Lindsay Kemp © BBC
- Clips (20)Latest ClipMozart: Horn Concertos
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- Mozart: Horn Concertoshttp://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p02rjf57.jpg2015-05-16T13:17:00ZJonathan Freeman-Attwood compares recordings of Mozart’s Horn Concertos and makes a personal recommendation.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/b972f589-fb0e-474e-b64a-803b0364fa75?clipfocus=p02rjf5jSelected ClipSelected ClipAudio 47 mins
Mozart: Horn Concertos
- Pavel Kolesnikov plays Mozarthttp://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p02ghx0q.jpg2015-01-08T15:03:00ZNew Generation Artist Pavel Kolesnikov, plays Mozart's Fantasy in C minor, K475.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/b972f589-fb0e-474e-b64a-803b0364fa75?clipfocus=p02ghx60Selected ClipSelected ClipVideo 10 mins
Pavel Kolesnikov plays Mozart
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - five key yearshttp://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p02bwdd1.jpg2014-11-14T14:53:00ZDonald Macleod explores five key years of Mozart's lifehttp://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/b972f589-fb0e-474e-b64a-803b0364fa75?clipfocus=p02bwg3qSelected ClipSelected ClipAudio 1 hour 5 mins
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - five key years
- Watch an analysis of Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusikhttp://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p02306lw.jpg2014-07-17T09:10:00ZStephen Johnson introduces and analyses Mozart’s great Serenade ‘Eine kleine Nachtmusik’.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/b972f589-fb0e-474e-b64a-803b0364fa75?clipfocus=p02306mbSelected ClipSelected ClipVideo 29 mins
Watch an analysis of Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
- Mozart: The Marriage of Figarohttp://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01t1y1c.jpg2014-07-09T11:26:00ZIn this Proms Music Guide, Andrew McGregor talks about Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/b972f589-fb0e-474e-b64a-803b0364fa75?clipfocus=p022h9jwSelected ClipSelected ClipAudio 3 mins
Mozart: The Marriage of Figaro
- Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 25http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p020dlfd.jpg2014-07-09T11:14:00ZIn this Proms Music Guide, Sarah Walker talks about Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 25.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/b972f589-fb0e-474e-b64a-803b0364fa75?clipfocus=p022h8x3Selected ClipSelected ClipAudio 3 mins
Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 25
- Mozart: Requiemhttp://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01vx3gk.jpg2014-07-09T11:05:00ZIn this Proms Music Guide, Suzi Klein talks about Mozart's Requiem.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/b972f589-fb0e-474e-b64a-803b0364fa75?clipfocus=p022h8bySelected ClipSelected ClipAudio 4 mins
- Concerto Grosso and Beyondhttp://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01zvwjk.jpg2014-05-27T16:57:00ZCharles Hazlewood explores the Concerto Grosso.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/b972f589-fb0e-474e-b64a-803b0364fa75?clipfocus=p01zvwpgSelected ClipSelected ClipAudio 31 mins
Concerto Grosso and Beyond
- Words and Musichttp://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01zvvs2.jpg2014-05-27T16:32:00ZCharles Hazlewood explores how composers have approached setting words to music.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/b972f589-fb0e-474e-b64a-803b0364fa75?clipfocus=p01zvvs7Selected ClipSelected ClipAudio 59 mins
Words and Music
- Theme and Variationshttp://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01sxtxl.jpg2014-05-27T13:07:00ZCharles Hazlewood examines Theme and Variations in music.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/b972f589-fb0e-474e-b64a-803b0364fa75?clipfocus=p01zvfz4Selected ClipSelected ClipAudio 41 mins
Theme and Variations
- Shall We Dance?http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01zv15m.jpg2014-05-27T08:53:00ZCharles Hazlewood reveals how dance music has inspired great works.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/b972f589-fb0e-474e-b64a-803b0364fa75?clipfocus=p01zv16cSelected ClipSelected ClipAudio 31 mins
Shall We Dance?
- History of the Serenade Part 2http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01ztd37.jpg2014-05-26T19:15:00ZExploring the history of the serenade, focusing on the form after Mozart.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/b972f589-fb0e-474e-b64a-803b0364fa75?clipfocus=p01ztd3sSelected ClipSelected ClipAudio 42 mins
History of the Serenade Part 2
- Mozart: The Marriage of Figarohttp://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01yx8f1.jpg2014-05-11T12:37:00ZSarah Lenton compares DVD recordings of Mozart’s opera The Marriage of Figaro and makes a recommendation.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/b972f589-fb0e-474e-b64a-803b0364fa75?clipfocus=p01yx8f7Selected ClipSelected ClipAudio 48 mins
Mozart: The Marriage of Figaro
- Mozart: Symphony No. 41 'Jupiter'http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01slghw.jpg2014-05-04T14:47:00ZAnthony Payne unlocks the secrets of Mozart's Symphony No. 41 in C 'Jupiter'.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/b972f589-fb0e-474e-b64a-803b0364fa75?clipfocus=p01yhxbxSelected ClipSelected ClipAudio 44 mins
Mozart: Symphony No. 41 'Jupiter'
- Mozart: Symphony No. 40http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01slf9k.jpg2014-05-04T14:33:00ZCharles Hazlewood explores the thematic and harmonic intricacies of Mozart's Symphony No. 40 in G Minor with his period instrument orchestra The Mozart Collective.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/b972f589-fb0e-474e-b64a-803b0364fa75?clipfocus=p01yhx8pSelected ClipSelected ClipAudio 23 mins
Mozart: Symphony No. 40
- Mozart: Symphony No. 39http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01sldbv.jpg2014-05-04T14:15:00ZCharles Hazlewood and the Harmonieband focus on Mozart's Symphony No. 39 in E Flat.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/b972f589-fb0e-474e-b64a-803b0364fa75?clipfocus=p01yhwvkSelected ClipSelected ClipAudio 24 mins
Mozart: Symphony No. 39
- Mozart: Symphony No. 29http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01tqz1v.jpg2014-05-04T14:02:00ZCharles Hazlewood and his ensemble Harmonieband delve into Mozart's Symphony No 29, a piece he wrote when he was just 18 years old.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/b972f589-fb0e-474e-b64a-803b0364fa75?clipfocus=p01yhwllSelected ClipSelected ClipAudio 31 mins
Mozart: Symphony No. 29
- Mozart: String Quintet No. 4http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01w01bg.jpg2014-05-04T13:20:00ZGerard McBurney unlocks the secrets of Mozart's String Quintet in G minor, K516, with the help of musical examples from the Vellinger Quartet and Roger Chase (viola).http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/b972f589-fb0e-474e-b64a-803b0364fa75?clipfocus=p01yhvvnSelected ClipSelected ClipAudio 44 mins
Mozart: String Quintet No. 4
- Mozart: Sinfonia Concertantehttp://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01slc6z.jpg2014-05-04T13:06:00ZSoloists Leslie Hatfield (violin) and Steven Burnard (viola) join the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Charles Hazlewood to explore Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante in E Flat.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/b972f589-fb0e-474e-b64a-803b0364fa75?clipfocus=p01yhvgtSelected ClipSelected ClipAudio 28 mins
Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante
- Mozart: Serenade No. 12 'Nacht Musique'http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01sk4bt.jpg2014-05-04T12:53:00ZCharles Hazlewood looks at Mozart's Serenade for Wind in C Minor.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/b972f589-fb0e-474e-b64a-803b0364fa75?clipfocus=p01yhv1qSelected ClipSelected ClipAudio 34 mins
Mozart: Serenade No. 12 'Nacht Musique'
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