I am not even joking when I say my favorite composer is Mozart. Not even a joke, and while shooting these pictures that is what I was thinking about. I had Mozart on my mind.
When you think of Mozart, you probably think about how famous he is now. You probably think he was wealthy and hung around all the best people in the very best places. What you may not know is that he really truly was a struggling artist. His life was full of ups and downs.
Mozart, born Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in January the 27th in 1756(fun fact my 3 yr old was born on the 28th!) Baptized Johannes Chrysostamus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart . Yes, that is a Roman Catholic mouthful to say. His parents were Leopold and Anna Maria Mozart. He was a prolific composer and musician in the Classical period.
He was born in Salzburg, in the Holy Roman Empire. He was showing promising talents even at the young age of five, he was proficient with violin and keyboard. He even composed his first piece at that age! I was just just playing with barbies and baby dolls at 5 and this guy was composing music. Way to set the bar guy.Did I mention that he performed for royalty? No? Well, he did! Yes, he did. Hey traveled around performing and went to Italy 3 times! By 17 he was a musician at the Salzburg royal court, however, he wanted more and yearned to travel. He was a vain man, described as thin, small, and pale. Funny enough Caligula was described as tall, thin, and pale, also vain. Hmm. My brain goes to fun places. His hair was fine, fair hair and he was vain of that too. I guess we can assess that Mozart loved himself, ok. His facial complexion was pitted a little,which was a constant reminder of the bout of smallpox he had as a child. I am sure many had that back then. Thank the gods for vaccines! His wife described his voice “was a tenor, soft in speaking and delicate in singing, but when anything excited him or it became necessary to exert it, it was both powerful and energetic!”
He almost always had a powdered wig on, and for the 1780’s and 90’s that was the style then. Again not weird. He love to dress in elegant clothing. Flashy stuff that was luxe and posh. He loved having pets and he loved billiards. He also had a bit of a sense of humor.
While visiting Vienna, Mozart was let go from Salzburg and stayed in Vienna. This was in 1781 by the way. At one point the reason for leaving the position in Salzburg was he was paid very little. 150 Florins a year which would be about $2630.00 a year in USD in today’s money. Yeah, he was getting fame but no fortune.
He wrote many compositions and well loved operas during his short career. Mozart was even in the employment of the archbishop too. Although he was famously let go with a literal kick in the Ass. All this was due to him wanting to pursue a solo career.
Love and Marriage
Now he did have a bit of a love life, he fell in love with a daughter of a musical family her name was Aloyisa Weber. However,that did not pan out as she married an actor named Joseph Lange. So, he uh kept it in that family by then going after her SISTER, Constanze Weber. His father was reluctant to accept the marriage and was not going to approve of it. It could be due to the uneasy courtship, or the fact he went after HER SISTER first, or maybe money. (Probably money, dowries I think were still a thing)
HE did eventually approve the marriage and Mozart and Weber were married August 4 1782. They went on to have 6 children together.
Of the six only 2 children would survive infancy, Karl and Franz.
They did start to see an increase in funds as some of his works started to earn some money during his solo career. They were able to afford a more luxe lifestyle. He bought an expensive pianoforte for 900 florins which would be around 16,000 dollars today. OUCH.
He did get a steady job with the aristocracy. Emperor Joseph II hired him on as a musician and composer. It was part time with 800 florins a year and he had to compose works for balls. You know parties or dances. It was medium income, but he needed that money for when times get tough. And they did get tough for Mozart.
in 1786 he stopped going out to perform as much and times were tough. To be fair it was tough for all musicians and creatives as there was a war going on. What war? Astro-Turkish war. This war made things difficult for aristrocrats to afford the higher luxuries like balls and such so things for musicians suffered.
He moved out of the city of Vienna to a Suburb to get “more house” and ended up borrowing and borrowing more and more money to finance things. Examples of his depressing and cringe letters begging a fellow Free-Mason for money still exists. It was noted that he started to really struggle with depression at this time. He started to travel again hoping to get some cash rolling in again.
In 1791 his last year, there was a influx of works by Mozart. He started to bring in money and slowly payed of debts. This was from writing works for dances and composing more operas and other works. One of which was the Magic Flute.
But this all would not last, and on the 6th of September 1791 in Prague Mozart fell ill. His opera Le Clemenza di Tito which was written for Emperor Leopold II coronation was premiered at this time. He continued to work despite his health declining. Mozart became bedridden on November 20,1791 after swelling, pain and vomiting.He died December 5,1791 in his home. His funeral was a small affair and rather modest.But that doesn’t mean that he was not mourned. It was just more custom back then for non aristocracy to have more common burials. Which fun fact, in ten years their graves could be dug up where as aristocrats can not.
So after his death Mozart’s fame increased. And to this day his death and cause of death are fictionalized and analyzed again and again. His life has been made into a movie and his music is used all the time.
And that friends is the story of Mozart.