Sunday, January 27, 2013
Born on January 27, 1756, in Salzburg, Austria, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a prolific composer of more than 600 works. He started playing music in public at age 6, and wrote his first symphonies at age 8. Through age 15, he spent half his time on tour in Europe, exhibiting his talents to courts, academicians and the public. He settled in Vienna, and beginning in 1782 with his opera “The Abduction from the Seraglio,” he composed one masterpiece after another in virtually every form and genre of his age. In the years before his death at age 35 in 1791, he wrote his last three symphonies (Nos. 39, 40, and 41) and the last of his three operas with Da Ponte, Così fan tutte (1790). At least 118 causes have been offered for Mozart’s death. His extant letters show he had a peculiar penchant for scatological humor, and he also wrote scatological music that he sang with his friends. Pictured: a portrait from 1780.