“The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.” These are the words of the musical genius and most certainly one of the world’s most prolific and influential composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Born this day (January 27) in 1756 in Salzburg, the musical wunderkind could write music before he could write words.
Little Wolfgang and his older sister Maria Anna were taught to play clavier from a very young age. Both children showed immense musical talent. By the time he was 4 years old, Mozart could learn a song on the clavier in just 30 minutes. Leopold Mozart, his father and himself a great music genius, promoted their talents and at age 6, Wolfgang started playing in public and performed before European royalty. While playing a series of concerts in Paris, Mozart published his first piece of music: a violin sonata in five parts. He was 8. At age 11, he wrote his first true opera, Apollo et Hyacinthus.
Mozart had an incredible ability to remember music. While visiting the Vatican at the age of 14, Mozart heard Gregorio Allegri’s Miserere performed in the Sistine Chapel. He was able to write out the entire score from memory. Previously, the music had not been reproduced outside the Vatican and had been kept a secret.
Although Mozart lived a relatively short life, in his 35 years of existence he truly reshaped the world. Mozart composed over 600 works that are cataloged in the Kochel, and numbered according to the order in which they were composed. The Marriage of Figaro (1786) and Don Giovanni (1787) are two of the maestro’s most important works and are still opera mainstays today. From chamber music like Serenade No. 13 in G Major (K525) to beloved operas such as The Magic Flute, Don Giovanni, and Così fan Tutte, Mozart’s compositions redefined many forms of music: symphonies and concertos, harmonie-music for wind instruments, chamber music for string quartets, sonatas for the piano, masses, and choral and church music. All were parts of his oeuvre.
Mozart’s final symphony (No. 41, K.551) is called the Jupiter Symphony. Mozart’s Requiem Mass in D minor was composed in 1791 and was left unfinished at the time of his death. Mozart composed his Requiem with the belief it was for himself. The work was commissioned by an anonymous nobleman, who had intended to pass off the work as his own.
Mozart’s music has been credited with helping those with epilepsy, boosting the milk production of cows, and boosting the IQ of unborn babies. A Swiss sewage treatment centre has claimed that Mozart can help microbes break down sewage waste.
Mozart has been revolutionary. Romantic composer Johannes Brahms noted the exceptional ‘purity’ of his music. In the words of playwright Arthur Miller, “Mozart is happiness before it has gotten defined.” Einstein was also fascinated by Mozart and sensed an affinity between their creative processes, as well as their histories. Einstein once said that Mozart’s “was so pure that it seemed to have been ever-present in the universe, waiting to be discovered by the master.” One anagram of ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’ is ‘A famous German waltz god.’ And, rightly so.
No one is actually sure of the exact cause of his untimely death, although many people have speculated on the source. His death, on November 20, 1791, sparked a surge in his reputation.
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‘Wolfi’ had a sister nicknamed ‘Nannerl’. His wife was nicknamed ‘Stanzie’. A southern African nation’s name begins with the same first four letters as his name. Identify him and this country.
Mozart and Mozambique
First coined by Alfred A Tomatis in 1993, what is the ‘Mozart Effect’?
It is a belief that listening to Mozart’s music can improve a person’s IQ.
While in Vienna as a child, Mozart performed for Empress Maria Theresa. At a summer residence outside Vienna, Mozart met one of her daughter who was two months his senior. It is said that she helped Mozart when he slipped on a polished floor. In return, he proposed marriage to this famous future queen of France. Name her.
Mozart’s second name was ‘Theophilus’. However, he liked to use the Latin translation ‘Amadeus.’ What is the meaning of these words?
Loved by God.
On 27th January 2006, all the church bells in Salzburg were rung simultaneously at 8 pm local time. What was the occasion?
To honour Mozart on his 250th birthday.
Which city is widely believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, with evidence of habitation dating back at least 11,000 years. Today, its metropolitan area is home to about 2.5 million people, and in 2008 it was named the Arab Capital of Culture.
Name the blood phenotype which was first discovered in Mumbai (then Bombay) in 1952 by Dr Y M Bhende.
The h/h blood group, also known as Oh or the Bombay blood group. It is mostly found in India, Pakistan and Iran. People who carry this rare blood type, about 1 in 10,000 in India, can accept blood only from another Bombay Blood type individual, and not from anyone who is O, A, B or AB type.
Which Russian cleric was poisoned, shot and finally drowned on December 30, 1916?
What is the claim to fame of Mauna Kea?
When measured from its oceanic base, Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain in the world measuring over 10,000m (33,000ft).
The image below is from which place?
(Answer next week. Answer to last week’s photo-quiz: Croatia.)
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