Biographies Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Biographies Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is often referred to as the most brilliant composer ever known. Not only is his work highly regarded today, but was admired by his contemporary peers, like the eloquent Ludwig van Beethoven, whou once summmed it up concisely, saying, "Mozart is good and admirable." The "good and admirable" Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria in 1756. The Classical Period was well under way, and Salzburg was quickly becoming one of the centres for the arts in Europe. Mozart was fortunate to be born into the family of one of the town's foremost music teachers: Leopold Mozart. Leopold's influence in his young son's musical development was enormous, as he encouraged the eager Wolfgang to improve his already astounding talents. By the age of four, having already experimented on his own for about a year with tunes and chords, Wolfgang began his studies in earnest on the keyboard. Under Leopold's training, Mozart began learning at an incredible rate. In half an hour, Mozart was able to learn an entire minuet and trio.

Mozart also posessessed an eerie sense of perfect pitch. By the age of six, Leopold felt that his son and his daughter, who was also extremely talented, were ready to be presented to the rest of the world. With this in mind, the family set out for Munich, the Bavarian capital. Upon their arrival, Wolfgang and his sister Nannerl were presented to the Municher nobles, who, needless to say, were stunned by the performances of thes two tiny children. A tour of Munich which lasted nearly three weeks followed this highly successful first concert, and the Mozarts' renown and popularity grew. This wildly successful tour presented the Mozarts with the key to a tour in Vienna, the musical capital of the Classical world. This tour in turn led to one in Paris and Versailles. It was in Paris, when Wolfgang was seven, that his first published works appeared. Four sonatas for clavier and violin were printed. By the age of 13, Mozart had written La Finta Semplis, his first opera. He was enjoying enormous popularity, swarmed by throngs of people wherever he travelled in Europe. Returning to Salzburg, Mozart took up employment as concertmaster for the Archbishop Colloredo.

Unfortunately, the Archbishop was unconvinced of Mozart's genius, and fired the young composer at the age of twenty-one. Following his release, Mozart toured unsuccessfully through Mannheim and Paris, where he endured the loss of his beloved mother. Heartbroken and jobless, he returned to Salzburg where he was forced once again to be employed by the hated Archbishop. This spell of employment was short-lived. Soon, Mozart was travelling again, this time to Vienna, where he married Constanze Weber in 1782. In 1785, Mozart began work on one of his most famous operas_The Marriage of Figaro. By 1787, Mozart was writing as if in a frenzy, churning out works, trying to keep up with the costs of his sickly wife and six children. However, his hard work paid off. He finally landed a position as the Imperial and Royal Court Composer in Vienna. Mozart soon found disappointment in his new job.

The salary was insufficient to pay for his now extravagant lifestyle, and the fashionable Viennese public was tiring of his concerts. He was forced to borrow money, mostly to pay for his wife's health care, and this depressed him. Despite these setbacks, Mozart was optimistic that his fortune would change. His fortune did change, but not for long. In 1791, his newest opera, The Magic Flute premiered to rousing success. However, Mozaart did not live long to enjoy this success. He was by this time quite ill, suffering from weakness, and fainting frequently. On Decembler 5, 1791, Mozart died, trying to compose the drums for his Requiem.

The joy of Mozart's music reflects Mozart's own enjoyment of life and its pleasures. Even during the times of his deepest despair, Mozart was able to fill his music with the ebulliency of his soul. In these passages, Mozart's playful sense of fun is clearly evident. However, Mozart was also capable of stirring darker emotions. Thus while some themes bounce merrily, others are sombre and pensive. Mozart had few influences. His musical genius allowed him to be almost completely original. Despite the constant praise that was lavished upon him, however, Mozart never allowed himself to become arrogant of supercilious.

He still kept himself open to new experiences, especially those of a musical nature. For instance, after hearing the music of Bach, Mozart exclaimed, "Now here's something one can learn from!" During the course of his thirty-year musical career, Mozart produced over 600 works, in all the popular forms of the time, including concertos for piano, violin, and viola, sonatas, trios, quartets, quintets, symphonies, and operas. Mozart made his music reflect the changing opinions of the time while simultaneously adding his own. If there is one artist wo represents the order and sedate nature of Classical perfection, while embodying the turbulent emotional appeal of the Romantic era, that artist is Mozart. And if one artist can be called the greatest musical genius ever to grace this Earth, that artist is Mozart, the God of Music. More ...

Sergei Rachmaninoff

Sergei Rachmaninoff

Sergei Rachmaninoff, great Russian pianist and composer, was born in Oneg, district of Novgorod, on April 1, 1873. Rachmaninoff's musical talents were discovered early, as both his grandfather and father were amateur pianists. His parents took him to St. Petersburg Conservatory in 1882, where he studied until 1885 under Demiansky. He then went to the Moscow Conservatory to study with Zverev, where he remained until his graduation as a pianist in 1891. While in Moscow, he chanced to meet Tchaikovsky, who showed interest in the young composer's talent.

He also wrote, at the age of 19, his famous Prelude in c-sharp minor. In 1902, Rachmaninoff married his cousin Natalie Satina, and they lived for several months in Switzerland. He then returned to Russia to conduct the Bolshoi Theater for the seasons of 1904 to 1906. He moved to Dresden in 1906, working there in the winters and spending his summers in Russia. In 1909, he toured the U.S. for the first time. From 1910 to 1917, he conducted the Philharmonic Society Orchestra in Moscow, but left Russia after the Revolution in 1917. After the Revolution, Rachmaninoff lived in Switzerland. In 1935, he moved to New York, then to Los Angeles, which became his permanent home. A few weeks before his death on March 28, 1943, Rachmaninoff became an American citizen.

Rachmaninoff's music was inspired by the Romantic Russian music of the Nineteenth Century. It was often melancholic, dwelling largely in minor keys, with broad melodies and resonant harmonies.

Sergei Prokofiev

Sergei Prokofiev was a great Russian composer born April 27, 1891 in Sontzovka. He, like many famous composers, took his first piano lessons from his mother, and showed incredible promise at an early age. He wrote an entire piano score for his first opera, "The Giant", by the age of nine. Two years later, in 1902, he finished an overture and 3 tableaux for another opera, "On Desert Island". From 1904 to 1907, he worked on yet another opera, "Ondine". Upon its completion, Prokofiev went to Moscow to take lessons in compositions from Gliere. While in Moscow, he wrote a Symphony in G, and an opera called "Feast during the Plague".

Prokofiev enrolled at the St. Petersburg Conservatory at the age of 13 and studied with Rimsky-Korsakov. When he graduated in 1914, his First Piano Concerto won him a grand piano, the Anton Rubinstein Prize for best pianist-composer. In 1920, Prokofiev traveled to Paris, where he met Diaghilev, a producer for his ballets. He also met Koussevitzky, who eventually published Prokofiev's works. Prokofiev married Lina Llubera in 1923, a soprano from Spain whose real name was Carlina Codina. However, the marriage was not successful. By 1940, Prokofiev was living with a young writer named Myra Mendelson. He was not yet divorced from his first wife, but this turned out not to be a problem, as she was sent to a concentration camp in 1946 for political crimes and was not released for 8 years. Prokofiev died in Moscow on March 5, 1953. Prokofiev's work was progressive and modernistic in style. Some of his most popular works include an opera called "Love for 3 Oranges", and a children's symphonic fairy tale, "Peter and the Wolf".
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