Episode #2 of the course “Famous classical music composers”
A musical child prodigy, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart began playing the piano and violin at age three and wrote his first musical score at age five. Born in Salzburg, Austria in the late 18th century, Mozart was a court musician, playing for the largest names in Europe. He was one of the most popular and influential musicians of his lifetime, and his impact continues to be seen everywhere in the world of music today.
Mozart began composing at a time when classical music was becoming simplified from the complexities of Baroque improvisation and use pf contrapuntal techniques. He made his music more intricate and dramatic than his contemporaries. He was one of the first musicians of his time to explore chromatic harmony, and he switched between writing operas and instrumental pieces in order to keep a fresh ear for what he was doing at all times.
Mozart is known for composing hundreds of short and long works, but among his best and most popular is the opera Don Giovanni. Based on the legend of the famous seducer Don Juan, the play includes unusual, interesting instrument choices, such as the mandolin. Mozart also directed some scenes to include on-stage musicians, who accompany and enhance the pit orchestra.
One of Mozart’s most famous instrumental pieces, the Piano Concerto No. 24 in C-minor, K. 491, is one of only two concertos Mozart wrote in a minor key. It uses the rare combination of clarinets and oboes and integrates structural complexities not seen in any of Mozart’s other works.
Mozart’s music has become so highly regarded that people are unknowingly referring to his style when they describe what “classical” music sounds like. His compositions are so mathematically precise and emotionally resonant that scientists continue to study if listening to Mozart’s music can actually improve someone’s intelligence.
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