I’m a big fan of music. I especially love the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Even though he lived two centuries before, his music still sounds freshly invigorating. It has been said just listening to Mozart’s music will make you smarter. Also, it is believed that unborn children who listen to his sonatas will have an unshakable belief they are Austrian.
But who was this man? More importantly, what was he like as a child? No doubt he was born a genius. He didn’t stumble onto his profession. Music ran through his blood and he had an ear that acted like a recorder. Once in Rome he was able to write down the score of Gregorio Allegri’s Miserere after one listen. His brain was hardwired to compile and arrange musical notes. His father, Leopold, soon found his two-year old son mimicking alongside his older sister’s musical lessons. So a great musical career began as soon as Mozart shed his diapers.
Age 3. Started to train under the tutelage of his father, Leopold, learning the ABC’s of music like chord progression, tonality and not to play the harpsichord with a peanut butter sandwich in his hand.
Age 5. Outgrew his father’s musical knowledge and began to search for musical mentors to surpass.
Age 7. First tour through the European cities of Munich, Brussels, Paris and Stuttgart. Leopold thought of touring Australia until he was told it was a penal colony.
Age 13. Began writing symphonies. That’s right, symphonies!
By the time he reached 21 Mozart became tired of the confining environment of his hometown of Salzburg, Austria. He also did not care for his musical sponsor, Archbishop von Colloredo. He felt world acclaim and financial success waited for him in Paris. So he struck off for the city of lights to secure a musical appointment.
One problem. His mother came along.
Like any 21 year-old, Mozart was more than ready to unshackle the parental bond. His father knew better. Left to his own devices, Leopold believed Wolfgang would end up in Naples playing seaside lounges. So Leopold sent Anna Marie to keep their son on task.
Travel in the 1700’s was atrocious and finding adequate lodging was nearly impossible. Even though he was known throughout Europe, Mozart still traveled with all of humanity. Also, his early successes as a child prodigy did not translate into a musical appointment once he arrived in Paris. Work was not to be had. And when funds began to run low, he started to pawn personal items, jettisoning musical instruments he rarely used like the tuba and banjo. And after he exhausted his personal resources, he started to pawn items he didn’t even own.
This is not true, but I think every musical genius should have something in their bio that makes them a little dangerous. For example:
Ray Charles: Grand Theft Auto
Johnny Cash: Insider Trading
Frederic Chopin: Impersonating a Frenchman
Woody Guthrie: Arson
But where was I? More importantly, where was Mozart? Ah, yes! Paris, 1778, unemployed, broke and still living with his mother…