Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was one of the most influential and prolific composers in the history of Western music. He composed over 600 works in various genres, such as operas, symphonies, concertos, sonatas, and chamber music. He is widely regarded as a musical genius and a master of classical style. Here are some interesting facts about his life and achievements.
- He began composing at five years old. Mozart showed an extraordinary talent for music from a very early age. He learned to play the harpsichord, violin, and piano under the guidance of his father, Leopold Mozart, who was also a composer and music teacher. He wrote his first piece of music when he was only five years old, and by the age of six, he had performed before two imperial courts in Munich and Vienna.
- He had a photographic memory for music. Mozart had an amazing ability to memorize and reproduce music after hearing it only once or twice. He could also write down music from memory without any errors. One of the most famous examples of this skill was when he transcribed the entire score of Allegri’s Miserere, a sacred choral piece that was forbidden to be copied or performed outside the Vatican, after listening to it twice during a visit to Rome.
- He had a bizarre sense of humor. Mozart was known for his playful and sometimes crude humor, which he expressed in his letters, conversations, and even some of his musical works. He had a fondness for scatological jokes and wrote several songs with lyrics about farting, defecating, and other bodily functions. He also liked to make fun of himself and his name, often using anagrams and puns. For example, he preferred the nickname “Amadè” instead of “Amadeus”, which means “beloved of God”, because it sounded like “ama deo”, which means “loves God” in Latin.
- He was pretty short. Mozart was not a very tall man, standing at about 5 feet 4 inches (163 cm) according to some sources . However, this was not unusual for his time, as the average height of European men in the 18th century was around 5 feet 5 inches (165 cm) . Mozart’s height did not affect his musical abilities or his popularity with women, as he had several affairs and married Constanze Weber, a soprano singer who was also his cousin.
- He knew twelve different languages. Mozart was a polyglot who could speak and write in several languages besides his native German. He learned French, Italian, Latin, and English during his travels across Europe as a child prodigy. He also picked up some Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Czech, Polish, Russian, and Turkish along the way . He used his linguistic skills to compose operas in different languages and to communicate with his patrons and fans.
- He shopped until he dropped. Mozart had a lavish lifestyle that often exceeded his income. He loved to buy expensive clothes, wigs, shoes, watches, pianos, and other items that reflected his social status and artistic taste. He also spent a lot of money on gambling, parties, concerts, and travel. He was frequently in debt and had to borrow money from friends and family to pay his bills.
- He died young and poor. Mozart’s health deteriorated in the last year of his life due to overwork, stress, and illness. He suffered from fever, swelling, vomiting, and severe pain. He died on December 5th 1791 at the age of 35 in Vienna . The exact cause of his death is still unknown, but some possible explanations include rheumatic fever , kidney failure , poisoning , or infection . His funeral was modest and attended by few people. His body was buried in a common grave with no marker.
These are just some of the facts that reveal the fascinating life and legacy of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , one of the greatest composers of all time.