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Mozart: child prodigy par excellence

Updated: Dec 9, 2021

He was famous among all strata of the population, including those who were not interested in classical music. What is the particularity of this unusual musician? What is it about him that has never ceased to be played, even after his death and up to the present day? What makes his music so timeless? Let's start at the beginning...

"My first name was Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart: Joannes Chrysostomus, because I was born on the 27th January 1756, St John Chrysostom's Day, Wolfgangus, which means 'to walk like a wolf' and was the name of my maternal grandfather, and Theophilus because it was the name of my godfather.

My father, however, called me Wolferl, which was much more easy to pronounce. He was so delighted by my birth that he immediately wrote in a letter to his friend Johann Jakob Lotter from Augsburg: “I would like to inform you that on January the 27th, at eight o'clock in the evening, my dear wife happily gave birth to a baby boy. The placenta had to be removed and she was therefore extremely weak. Now, however, thanks be to God, both the baby and the mother are well. The child bears the names Joannes Chrysostomus, Wolfgang, Gottlieb.” Gottlieb was the German version of my name, a real head-scratcher ....

My parents were very well-connected people; my father Leopold, a composer and music teacher, held the fortunate position of Deputy Kapellmeister at the court of Archbishop von Firmian, while my mother, Anna Maria Pertl, was the daughter of a prefect.

At the age of three I was tapping the keys of the harpsichord not entirely out of tune, at four I was already playing short compositions, and at five I could already boast of composing the Allegro and Minuet, although the sound of the trumpet frightened me to death.They said I was a prodigy."

Concertos, symphonies, sonatas and operas, more than 600 works by Mozart are played and sung throughout the world today. Talent, work, exception or prodigy, Mozart's music goes beyond the score... It tells us nothing but reveals something, unveils a part of existence which is perhaps divine, undoubtedly genius, and which helps to reconcile us with our painful finitude.

By Veronica, author of the tour "Mozart...Improvise!"

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