Essay by Basser126College, UndergraduateA+, August 2004

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Amadeus Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a child prodigy in music. By his fifth birthday, he played the piano. Before he was twelve, he had composed several sonatas, concertos, and symphonies. During his teens, he mastered the piano, violin, and harpsichord and performed his first major opera, Mitridate. At fifteen, he was appointed as the concert master in the orchestra of the Archbishop of Salzburg. He did not receive a formal education but learned Latin, Italian, French and a little English that became very helpful in his travels. He was a brilliant composer of Classical symphonies, opera, chamber music, and sonatas and whose works are ranked among the greatest ever produced.

One of the most popular examples of Mozart's work was Eine Kleine Nachmusik, a Serenade for a string quartet consisting of four movements. The first movement was a Fast Sonata, a two-part tonal structure in three main sections.

It was important to provide an upbeat piece for the first movement as an emotional high point to grab the listener's attention and was common in 18th century compositions. The second movement was a Slow Rondo; a piece of music with a repetitive main theme separated by contrasting sections. During the third movement, a Dance Minuet, the pace of the music quickens. In the fourth movement, a Fast Rondo, the music becomes repetitive again but is faster paced to end the work with a high point.

In 1787, he was hired to write an opera to be produced in Prague. Together with Lorenzo Da Ponte, they produced Don Giovanni, a two part opera about the love affairs of a Don Juan type character; a fictitious lover lacking sexual restraint. It was well received yet the reviews often mentioned problems associated with the difficulty of execution, a problem with the...