Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus

In September, 1777, after a sorrowful parting with his father, Mozart and his mother started for Munich, their first stop, where they received a most discouraging reception. At Mannheim they met many congenial people and remained for some time. There was Cannabich, to whose daughter Mozart gave piano lessons, Wieland and Freiherr von Gemmingen, Holtzbauer and Schweitzer and the quartet, RaaflF, Wendling, Ramm and Ritter and also the Webers, who played so important a part in Mozart's after life. About this time he fell in love with Aloysia Weber; he taught her singing and proposed to arrange for her appearance in opera in Italy. On hearing this his father peremptorily ordered him to Paris, whither he went reluctantly in March, 1778. He heard opera by Gluck, Gretry, Monsigny and Philidor, and wrote his Paris Symphony. In July his mother died suddenly in Paris, and heartbroken, he left in September for Salzburg. He arrived in Salzburg the middle of June the following year and worked steadily there until 1780, when he received a commission from Karl Theodore to write an opera for the Munich Carnival of the following year. This opera, Idomeneo, King of Crete, written to a libretto of Abbate Varesco, was very successful and established Mozart's position as a dramatic writer. For a while after this he made a scant living teaching and composing, and had leisure to fulfil his plan of writing a German opera to a libretto furnished him through the influence of the Emperor. The result was The Escape from the Seraglio, performed very successfully, and at the Emperor's special command in July, 1 82. About a month after this he married Constanze Weber, a sister of Aloysia. His married life proved a sad one, for although the tenderest affection existed between him and his wife they were constantly involved in pecuniary difficulties.

In 1785 his father visited him in Vienna, taking the greatest delight in his playing and composition, and while there joining the Free Masons, in which order Wolfgang was deeply interested. A performance of Idomeneo, given at the palace of Prince Auersperg, attracted the attention of the dramatist, Da Ponte, who obtained the Emperor's consent to adapt Beaumarchais' Manage de Figaro for Mozart. The first performance of this opera, given in May, 1786, was received with the greatest enthusiasm. But even after this Mozart received no aid from court, and obtained his only encouragement from Prague, where Figaro had created a sensation. The composer was invited to come there and was greeted with an ovation; in fact this visit is one of the few bright spots in his latter years. Here was written Don Giovanni, to a libretto of Da Ponte's, and produced in the autumn of 1787. Soon after this Gluck died and Mozart went to Vienna, hoping to be given a suitable position, but was greatly disappointed to receive only the minor appointment of Kammercompositor, with a salary of about four hundred dollars a year. During 1787 he composed his three finest symphonies, those in E flat, G minor and C. During 1788 he conducted a series of concerts organized by van Swieten, for whom he added wind parts to Handel's Messiah, Ode to St. Cecilia's Day, and Acis and Galatea.

In 1789 he accepted an invitation from Prince Karl Lichnowsky to go to Berlin. On arriving there he was taken to Potsdam and presented to the King, who showed his appreciation of Mozart's genius by offering him the position of chapelmaster, which he refused because he did not wish to leave his Emperor. He gave a concert in Leipsic, played before the Queen in Berlin, and returning in June to Vienna set to work to write some quartets ordered  by the King. Receiving a commission from the Emperor he began Cosi fan tutti, of Da Ponte's, but before it was finished the Emperor died. On the coronation of his successor, Leopold II., at Frankfort, Mozart made his last professional tour. He gave a concert at the Frankfort Stadttheatre and afterward played before the King of Naples and the Elector at Munich; but these concerts brought him no commission and he returned to Vienna greatly discouraged. Soon after he bade goodbye to Haydn, whom he had met in 1781, and whose friendship had been of the greatest benefit to him. He worked very hard during this time and produced a beautiful motet, Ave Verum, a forerunner of the Requiem and the Magic Flute. He wrote The Magic Flute to aid Schikaneder, who had a little theatre in the suburb of Wieden, and while hard at work on it received a commission to write a requiem from a mysterious personage who enjoined secrecy. Soon after he was asked to write an opera for the coronation of Leopold II., at Prague, in which city he composed and conducted La Clemenza de Tito, performed on the evening of the coronation, when it received but little attention from the Court audience. Disappointed and ill, Mozart returned home and finished The Magic Flute, which was introduced in September and after a few performances became very popular. He now turned his attention to the Requiem, but illness and disappointment $ had induced a state of deep dejection and he was unable to proceed. Seized with a haunting belief in his approaching death, the Requiem score was taken away from him. Then for a time he rallied, composing and even conducting a cantata for his lodge, but soon after relapsing and finally taking to his bed. About this time brighter prospects appeared for him; the nobles of Hungary raised a fund guaranteeing him a certain annuity, and the people of Amsterdam took a subscription to have him write some compositions for them. But it was too late. He tried vainly to proceed with the Requiem, and on December 4 attempted to sing it through with Hofer, Shack, and Gerl, but on reaching the Lacrimosa burst into tears and put it by. He died Dec. 5, 1791, and was buried in a pauper's grave, the location of which is unknown.