Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is one of the greatest music composers who ever lived. His name and the word ‘genius’ are often bandied about together by music writers and critics and many would argue rightly so. Mozart had a fantastic ear for writing a catchy melody with perfect orchestral arrangement. His compositions have a rich and distinctive sound; it can be said that in his brief 35 years of life that he wrote a masterpiece in every genre of classical music without much apparent effort. Mozart had an innate comprehension of music that lead him to be one of the most evolutionary composers of all time.
Mozart innate musical genius can be observed In records of his early life, In his compositions, and In scientific studies, Mozart began showing his talents when he was Just three years old. He composed his first piece of music at age five; he had his first piece published when he was seven; and he wrote his first opera when he was twelve. By the time Wolfgang was 6, he was an excellent pianist and violinist. Mozart father began touring Mozart and his sister not Just locally, but also internationally! During their trip to London, Mozart abilities were tested “scientifically. In a famous report written by Dales Barrington, we learn about Mozart extraordinary talents. Barrington brought a manuscript, never before seen by Mozart, which was composed with 5 parts with one part written in an Italian style Contralto clef, and set it in front of the young Mozart, Just 8 years old, sitting at the keyboard. Barrington writes: The score was no sooner put upon his desk, than he began to play the symphony in a most masterly manner, as well as in the time and tile that corresponded with the Intention of the composer…
Impressed by Mozart performance, Barrington requested to Mozart to Improvise and perform a Love Song in operatic style that Barrington famous opera singer friend, Amazons. Would choose to perform. Barrington again writes: [Mozart] began five or six lines of a jargon recitative proper to introduce a love song. He then played a symphony… It had a first and second part, which together with the symphonies, was of the length that opera songs generally last: if this extempore composition was not amazingly capital, yet it as really above mediocrity, and showed most extraordinary readiness of invention.
Again, an Impressed Barrington made a salary request to Mozart, only this time to perform a song of Rage. Mozart, again, presented a similar performance, except he “beat his harpsichord like a person possessed, rising sometimes in his chair. ” Afterward, Barrington had Mozart complete a series of difficult keyboard lessons. Barrington once again writes of Mozart: His astonishing readiness, however, did not arise merely from great practice; he had a thorough knowledge of the fundamental reminisces of composition, as, upon producing a treble, he immediately wrote a base under It, which, when tried, had very good effect.
He was also a great master of modulation, and his transitions from one key to another were excessively natural and judicious… (Deutsche) upon listening, Mozart music has an air of inevitability or rightness. Yet, it also manages to possess an air of unpredictability. This is another paradox of Mozart. It is unpredictable due to its complexity and depth, and familiar due to Its subtlety and prefect proportion. It Is the perfect proportion which makes act that the melodies are logically placed to fit the harmonies or the fugal form can make them sound forced and at times artificial.
The melodies don’t come naturally, but are logically placed. With Beethoven, the extremes in dynamics or orchestration can also often sound forced and artificial. One may say that Bach was willing to sacrifice melodic grace for complex harmony and counterpoint, and Beethoven for dynamic power. Mozart however sacrifices nothing, for the music Just comes naturally. For example, in the Art of Fugue, Bach manages to logically work out a home which achieves harmonic coherence when used in several different contrapuntal forms.
The angularity and the forced nature of the melodies however do suggest that they are logically worked out so that they fit the harmonies in such contrapuntal forms. In effect, the themes play functional rather than independent melodic roles. However, in the finale of Mozart Symphony no. 41 in C Major (K. 551), Mozart introduces several independent melodies, and then unexpectedly combines all of them together in the coda. All this seems so effortless and natural, that the unnatural complexity is lost in us.
Unlike Bach, Mozart has not logically forced melodies to fit the harmony or structure, but has simply created several independent melodies that fit together perfectly in what is perhaps the most brilliant show of contrapuntal combination in the history of music. Mozart ability to create complex music in such subtle ways reveals another of his qualities: his ability to achieve what he sets out to achieve using the minimum number of notes. His music is incredibly economical. He seemed to know exactly what to put in, as well as what to leave out.
Whereas Beethoven creates a dramatic effect with deviations from harmonic law, extreme dynamics, deliberate dissonances, and a large number of voices, Mozart can create an effect as dramatic without going to extremes in dynamics, dissonances, or number of voices. An example is his Symphony no. 40 in G Minor (K. 550), in which Mozart creates deep passion and emotion while containing the music within limits – he never breaks the rules of harmony, the dynamics never go below piano or above forte, the dissonances are all contained within tonality, and the orchestra is small.
Mozart music manages to achieve complexity and drama without going to extremes. The accounts of Mozart musical ability are unbelievable. He could write down a piece of music while thinking out another in his head. He would often think out a piece and write down the individual parts before compiling a full score. Already as a very young child he was improvising fugues and composing substantial pieces. The only composer who comes near to Mozart as a child prodigy is Mendelssohn, who composed the overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a teenager. However
Mendelssohn failed to develop much further, and although his music reveals an excellent sense of proportion, harmony, and passion, he lacks the complexity and subtlety which Mozart has over other composers. Amazingly prolific, Mozart composed over six hundred large-scale pieces, as well as many unknown works and fragments, in his tragically short life. Furthermore, he conquered virtually every medium with his music. And all this seemed effortless: in a letter to his wife, Mozart tells her about how he wrote an aria one afternoon out of sheer boredom!
To top it all if, his music shows little correction, and he composes at amazing speed. Whereas Beethoven would spend months or years on a piece, Mozart would spend hours, period of six weeks. So what can be concluded about Mozart? From what I have provided, it is difficult not to be amazed by him. To me, his music represents the attainment of musical perfection. It transcends the music of other composers. If I Mere to make a list of great composers, relatively high on the scale would be the epic greats, such as Haydn, Mendelssohn, and Tchaikovsky.