Mozart Museum Salzburg inspired me to write this article. To say Johann Chrysostom Wolfgang Gottlieb Mozart was a gifted composer is an unappreciation for his accomplishments.
What of the stories behind the “legendary”, “genius”, “one of the greatest composers of all time”? I see his life as a tragedy, filled with abuse, oppression, resentment, and sabotage.
Creating Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
He was born in Salzburg, where he lived most of his short life. As a musician and composer, Mozart was able to learn and interpret music from vocalizations to instrumentation. He did this for much of his first work. He played music freely for guests. This is reported when he and his sister attended parties.
There’s a romanticism to the life of a young composer that traveled Europe creating timeless works.
Romantically, born a prodigy, a clairvoyant musician, as a child capable of talents some composers never achieve in their lives. The reality, he was an oppressed child, misguided and misunderstood.
Gifted? Absolutely! But his achievements were accomplished. We today would consider the abusive parenting of his father. Leopold Mozart was a musician as well. I’m sure he had the best intentions for his son.
Moral mistakes from society
There’s a moral line when enabling your child to have the best future. In this case, the father destroyed the possibilities of his child being happy. Leopold, as many parents to this time, crossed that line. When Mozart was only 3, his father was forcing him to play music 12 hours a day. You may wonder but this still happens with a lot of children. Most children that age learn about colors and are establishing dexterity and coordination. Wolfgang Mozart was already reading music and learning music theory.
Wolfgang Mozart’s adolescence was a similar story. He romantically performed for nobles and high society throughout Europe.
Who wouldn’t love to travel to the biggest cities of the time and play in extravagant venues?
How about a rebellious teenager that aside from never getting to enjoy the simplicity of childhood?
Teenagers are already rebellious, so it’s hard to blame a boy in Mozart’s place. Unfortunately, Mozart never grew out of this wild period. As he and his fame grew, he began down a dark path on his way to greatness.
He was quickly recognized as a talent. He traveled throughout Europe, which complimented his musical development. Throughout his life he demonstrated musical influences from the most prominent regions of his time. In doing so, he accomplished more success, across more musical genres, than anyone before him. His success came with a folklore and seemingly more legends and stories than truths. Much like any employer, they expect a certain code of conduct and behavior. Working for the Archbishop had its obvious benefits, but for a young, rebellious, and renowned Mozart, it wasn’t conducive. For obvious reasons the church wasn’t pleased with Mozart’s Rock star behavior of “alleged” over drinking and “pursuit of companionship”.
Although he visited on several occasions, Mozart only stayed in Munich extensively for 2 performances. On the 13th January 1775, he had his first major premiere “La Finta Giardinera”. His next wouldn’t be until the 29th of January 1781, for his Italian opera “Idomeneo”, which premiered at the Cuvilliés Theater. Truly a masterpiece, Mozart depicted a richness that could not be found in any of his other operas. The characters are serious, expressing heroic emotions but always to a dramatic purpose.
Paired with the ambiance of the Cuvilliés Theater the premiere was a complete success. I love this theater, and even though it has had some renovations over the years. It’s truly a work of art.
Mozart lived in Munich for three months in the Burgstrasse 6, directly in front of the Town Clerk. There’s more to this story, and the historical significance extends beyond brief accommodation for Mozart.
This house was famously painted by Hans Mielich, and I have regular requests to tour the location. It’s a storied visualization of traditional craftsmanship and artistry, truly a must see in Munich! One reason I love doing tours of this part of Munich is because there’s so much untold history.
Prostitution, scandal, and stories of the Town Clerk during the plagues, are some history here. With rumored brothels in the area, it’s easy to understand the locations “conveniences”.
Despite all Mozart’s escapades, he married and had 6 children, although only 2 sons survived to be adults. Carl Thomas Mozart became a government official. and Franz Xaver tried to live as “the second Mozart”!
Unfortunately, this is where the known bloodline of Mozart ends. As with their father, there’s a lot of suspicious behavior. Some sources make advice to the son’s sexual preference and affinity for men may be the reason neither had children. Without evidence for the rumor, we will never know the truth behind the private lives of the surviving sons.
A Different Place in Time
The geography of Europe has changed many times, but Bavaria and its capital of Munich stay a significant influence. The 1700s into the 1800s was a transition time for Bavaria still seeking a unified identity. Despite that, Bavaria and Munich arguably created its most notable artwork, theaters, and of course music in this period.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died on the 5th of December 1791. As with his life, there’re speculations of his death with “Severe Miliary Fever” was the certified cause. Some arguments have been for Rheumatic Inflammatory Fever, Schönlein–Henoch syndrome, Syphilis, and even poison. Personally, with his lifestyle and relatively early death, the latter two seem plausible. Although he didn’t have any real known enemies to implicate poisoning, fever and rash are common symptoms of syphilis.
He was buried outside from Vienna because of his cause of death. Today there’s a gravestone in Vienna for individuals to put coins for the church, but no true grave exists.
As the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Salzburg has several festivals throughout winter into spring. The most popular time is on and around 27 January, the Salzburg “The City of Mozart”. The festival honors Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart on his birthday. The festival is an international concert series. Mozarteum Foundation Salzburg has hosted Mozart Week every year since 1956. It has a global reputation, drawing the world’s best artists.
Spring is a wonderful time to visit Bavaria. There’re incredible festivals and events all throughout Munich and Bavaria.
For more information about this or if you’re looking for something interesting to do, write to me.