Leopold Mozart

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Leopold Mozart

The rain poured down

hard, flooding the suburban streets of Vienna. Thunder

roared all around the funeral procession on December 6,

1791, as it laboriously headed for St. Marx Cemetery. As it

reached the city walls of Vienna, the few friends who had

accompanied Mozart on his last journey turned back, due to

the unusually bad weather conditions. Such a scene is sadly

appropriate in representing the tragic end of Mozart who

had begun his life with such immeasurable promise. On

January 27, 1756, Leopold Mozart paced up and down the

hall of his home in Salzburg, Austria, in anticipation of the

arrival of his seventh child. His wife, Anna Maria, had given

birth to a boy: Wolfgang. Wolfgang and his only other

surviving sibling, Nannerl, grew up immersed in music. He

progressed quickly and began to compose before he could

even write. Leopold felt that his child's gift should be

promoted by travel so the family left Salzburg in 1762 eager

to "show the world a miracle." From court to palace the

Mozart family traveled the roads of Europe, showing

Wolfgang off to the world as a child genius. Often his father

would take him to carnivals and masked balls and dress the

little boy up as a harlequin. These experiences had made

Wolfgang not only become something of a legend but had

allowed him musical experiences far beyond those of a mere

child prodigy. Upon his eleventh birthday, commissions

flooded in not only from the court but from the bourgeoisie,

too. He wrote one act of an oratorio to be performed in

March, and followed it by a Latin comedy, Apollo and

Hyacinthus. In September of 1767, the Mozart family left for

Vienna where, after recovering from small pox, Mozart

would be inspired by his father to write his first opera, La

Finta Semplice. So impressed with Vienna was Mozart that

he and his father set off again for Italy alone in 1769.

Traveling throughout the towns of Italy, his recitals were one

success after the other, and his opera "Mitridate, re di

Ponto" saw its twentieth consecutive performance in Milan.

A failed attempt at a commission in Milan led Mozart to

understand how fickle society can be, and brought the two

back to their home in Salzburg. Mozart's farewells to Milan

were tinged with bitterness and he resigned himself to a life

as court musician in Salzburg, but the seventeen year old

genius ...

... middle of paper ...

...o grow up into the great

composer he became. If Leopold had not exerted such an

influence over him, Mozart might not have been compelled

to work day after day so intently and relentlessly on his

compositions later in his life. Mozart's amazing

accomplishments may be in part, due to his father's influence.

Yet, regardless of Mozart's personal hardships, he has left us

with an impression through his music that will last through the



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Parouty, Michel. Mozart From Child Prodigy to Tragic Hero. New York: Discoveries. 1993. pp. 13-127.

Rothstein, Edward. "Riddle and Variations." New York Times. 26 March 1995. pp. 8-9.

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