Fun Facts - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Fun Facts - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophillus Amadeus Gottlieb Sigismundus Mozart was born on January 27, 1756 in Salzburg. Then part of the Holy Roman Empire and now Austria.

Four of his names mean "Beloved of God": Theophillus – Greek, Amadeus – Latin, Gottlieb - German and Jewish (Ashkenazic) and Sigismundus – Old German.

Wolfgang means "Wolf's Path", and his friends and family called him Wolfgang or Wolferl, while in later years he signed himself as "Wolfgang Amade".

There is a legend that at two years of age he identified a pig's squeal as a "G sharp".

He could play the harpsichord by the age of three, wrote music at five, which was before he was able to write words, and could pick up musical instruments, such as a violin, then play them without having had any help.

One of Mozart's "party tricks" was playing the harpsichord, and later the piano, with the keys covered by a cloth.

Mozart's first concert tour was at the age of six, and together with his father and sister he traveled and performed throughout his childhood, covering Europe in a coach and horses or by boat. There was hardly any time for studying, although it did mean he learned 15 languages.

He also loved mathematics and chalked numbers all over the walls and furniture of his rooms.

He seemed to have music in his head. From an early age Mozart could sit in a church, listen to the music and singing, and hours later write down all the notes from memory.

While visiting Rome in 1769 he heard the Sistine choir sing, memorized it and afterwards put the complete work on paper.

As a nine year old Mozart gave recitals in London, where there were rumors that he must be a midget as it was not possible a child could play the harpsichord so well.

After giving a concert at Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna he fell, and the Archduchess Maria Antonia, future Queen Marie Antoinette of France, helped him up and as a response she was asked "Will you marry me?"

Around the same time he was taken to play for the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, jumped up onto her lap and gave her a kiss. As in those days "deep bows" were what was expected in the presence of royalty the audience was shocked, but the Empress had children of her own and didn't mind.

Mozart was 8 years old when he wrote his first symphony, and had completed 30 by the age of 18. Twelve years old when he wrote his first opera, and at the age of 14 Pope Clement XIV made him a "Knight of the Order of the Golden Spur".

If played "non-stop" it would take more than eight days to play all his music.

Mozart was not only a musician and composer but also an excellent, and enthusiastic, billiards player.

The late Austrian pop-star Falco had a huge hit throughout Europe in the 1980's with his song Rock Me Amadeus, which characterized Mozart′s life as it would have been as an 80's "superstar". Talented but certainly also a rebel.

Mozart's problems began when he grew up and was not longer a cute child prodigy. Still a musical genius he did not like the way musicians were treated as servants in those days, but continued as a pianist and composer. Although he and his wife used to dance around their home to keep warm, as they could not afford to heat it.

In his lifetime the United States became an independent country, and the French Revolution began. During which the young Austrian Archduchess Maria Antonia, who had helped Mozart after his fall as a child and later married the King of France, was guillotined.

His music is a "Movie Music Favorite", with his Clarinet Concerto in A Major as one example featured in many films, including "The King's Speech" and "Out of Africa".

On 27th January 2006, all the church bells in Salzburg rang simultaneously at the exact hour of his birth, in honor of Mozart's 250th birthday.

He was only 35 when he died of unknown causes in Vienna on December 5, 1791, which had been his most productive year musically for sometime and included composing "The Magic Flute". He had been working on a Requiem, a piece of funeral music, and had composed it in all different musical forms, including operas, symphonies, concertos, masses, and chamber music.

Although there are monuments to him everywhere it seems no one is sure where he is buried. His was a "common grave" in St Marx cemetery Vienna, with no stone to mark it and the likelihood of it being reused; usual at the time for someone who was not from the aristocracy.

The Mozarthaus in Vienna's Old Town, near to St. Stephen's Cathedral, is his sole remaining Viennese home; he lived there from 1784 to 1787 and now it is a museum.

Mozart is not only remembered for his music, there is also a very popular "Mozartkugel", Mozart ball, candy. Green pistachio marzipan, covered in a layer of nougat and coated with dark chocolate, originally created by a Salzburg confectioner in 1890 and named after him.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Now recognized as one of the best classical composers of all time with a repertoire spanning from opera to symphonies.

Illustrations: Leopold Mozart and his children, Wolfgang and Maria Anna painted by Carmontelle in 1763, now on display in the Musée Carnavalet, Paris - The sheet music is from 1770, and is in the Museo internazionale e biblioteca della musica di Bologna, Italy - Public Domain and the original Mozartkugel are by Paul Fürst Konditorei in Salzburg, Austria.

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