Who Was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart?

Who Was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart?

Yona Zeldis McDonough

Language: English

Pages: 112

ISBN: 0448431041

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Born in Austria in 1756, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed his first piece of music, a minuet, when he was just five years old! Soon after, he was performing for kings and emperors. Although he died at the young age of thirty-five, Mozart left a legacy of more than 600 works. This fascinating biography charts the musician's extraordinary career and personal life while painting a vivid cultural history of eighteenth-century Europe. Black-and-white illustrations on every spread explore such topics as the history of opera and the evolution of musical instruments. There is also a timeline and a bibliography.

Illustrated by Carrie Robbins.
Cover illustration by Nancy Harrison.

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instruments. His father was a musician, too. He wanted everyone to pay attention to his talented son. But some people had a hard time believing that a small boy could be so talented. They thought his father had written the music for him. Or that the boy wasn’t a child at all, but a very small adult. There had to be some kind of trick. A man who was both a lawyer and a musician decided to find out. He tested the boy for many hours. He asked the boy to play a very difficult piece of music. The

Even when the service was over, he remained kneeling, as if in a trance. When Papa finally got him to leave, he kept humming the music. He wanted to remember it always. That night, Wolfie couldn’t sleep. He kept hearing the music in his head. He got up and quietly searched for a pen and music paper. Then he sat down and began to write the notes he had heard. It all came back to him. Note for note, the great Miserere was down on paper. It was the first time this had ever been done outside the

became the court organist and concertmaster. He wrote music, at his usual fast pace. But he was bored. Then, in 1780, he was asked to compose an Italian opera for the court in Munich, Germany. Now this was exciting! Mozart loved opera and was eager to write one. And he could leave Salzburg again, where he was increasingly unhappy. His mother was dead. He and Nannerl, who was now a piano teacher, were no longer very close. Wolfgang longed to get away. Mozart’s opera was called Idomeneo, King of

Crete. Like many operas, the story has a very complicated plot, based on an old legend. Idomeneo is about an ancient Greek king. After winning a long war against the Trojans, King Idomeneo is on his way home. Before the king’s fleet of soldiers reaches shore, the ships are destroyed in a terrible storm. So Idomeneo makes a bargain with Neptune, god of the sea. If his own life is spared, he will sacrifice the first person he sees upon landing. That person turns out to be his very own son,

make enough money? How would he manage? These same questions were on Leopold’s mind when he heard what his son had done. How dare he leave such an important post! How irresponsible! Leopold was furious. But Mozart wouldn’t budge. “My honor comes first with me, and I know that is the same with you,” he wrote to his father. He hoped his father would understand. But Leopold remained angry with his son, and continued to write him stern letters from Salzburg. Soon, Leopold had another reason to be

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