Friday, 27 January 2017

TODAY IN CLASSICAL MUSIC HISTORY – JANUARY 27, 1756: THE BIRTH OF MOZART: A ‘MIRACLE' CHILD IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD feat. Did You Know?

A young portrait of Mozart by Joseph-Siffred Duplessis
It would be on this January day 261 years ago that miracle child Joannes Chrisostomus Wolfgang Gottlieb Mozart (later baptized on the 28th of January as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart – known to the musical sphere as Wolfgang Amadé* Mozart) would make his grand entrance into this world – and into his father’s private flat – at 8 o’clock in the evening at No. 9, Getreidegasse, the Mozart family home in Salzburg.

It would be the seventh time violinist Leopold Mozart and his wife Maria Anna introduced into the world a potential future prodigy – although little Joannes Chrisostomus would be the only male offspring of the couple to survive. He would join the Mozart clan as brother to big sister Maria Anna (Nannerl), who was then 4 (and the couple's only surviving daugther).

Young Mozart’s very existence and survival into adulthood would prove to be a miracle in every sense of the word: the young wunderkind is reported to have already been able to pick out small chords on the harpsichord by the age of three, and, according to the private writings of his father Leopold, was able to sight-read a complicated piece of music - “mastering” the composition at his keyboard in just “thirty minutes” - by the age of four. By five, little Amadeus (the Latin form of the French Amadé – Mozart’s preferred spelling* – from the Greek Theophilus, which, translated into English, reads quite aptly [one] “loved by God”) was performing before the prestigious University of Salzburg, his father’s alma mater, no less.

Today, Unraveling Musical Myths - and the greater musical sphere - celebrates the birth and the life of Western Classical Music’s foremost icon, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Herr Mozart is an undisputed composer favorite of the author of Unraveling Musical Myths, and as such, has been featured extensively on this blog.

To find out where the young musical wunderkind went from here, feel free to peruse the Mozart Archives, which covers the life, times, exploits, triumphs, and heartaches of this most gifted composer - from his humble birth on the 3rd floor of his parents home to his final repose at his marital residence in Vienna 35 years later in December 1791 - and discover along the way his most majestic oeuvre:

Alleluia*, from Mozart’s Regina Coeli, K. 185; Emma Kirkby and the Westminster Cathedral Boys Choir under maestro Christopher Hogwood (accompanied by The Academy of Ancient Music) *Queued at 10:43:



Fun Fact!

Name breakdown:

Portrait of a Young Boy believed to be Mozart.
Joannes Chrisostomus Wolfgang Gottlieb Mozart was so named after the child was born on the ‘feast’ day of St. John Chrysostom – and it is from this ‘saint’ the boy acquired the Johannes (John) Chrisostomus/Chrysostomus…

the name Wolfgang (or, “Wolfrl” as he was lovingly called by his family), was given to the newborn babe by Leopold, after his father-in-law, Wolfgang Nikolaus.

“Gottlieb,” German for loved [by] God, took the place of the Greek “Theophilus” form. According to extensive amounts of correspondence penned by Mozart which survives, it would become apparent to fans of the composer that Mozart in fact preferred the French translation (Amadè) of the Latin form of Theophilus – Amadeus – however Mozart is known to have also referred to himself by the Latin spelling.

“Mozart,” is, of course, the family patronymic.

Did You Know?

The home in which Mozart was born, located at No. 9, Getreidegasse in Salzburg, Austria - now a shrine and monument to the composer - today serves as one of the most patronized museums in the world.


For more information on admission fees, and for a virtual peek into the home, visit mozarteum.at. 

-Rose.

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