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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1756-1791. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1756-1791. Born in Salzburg 7 th child of Leopola and Anna Maria only he and sister Nannerl survived infancy. Leopold Mozart Very respected composer and violinist. Leopold Mozart, 1765. First composition age 5

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1756-1791

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wolfgang amadeus mozart 1756 17912
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart1756-1791
  • Born in Salzburg
  • 7th child of Leopola and Anna Maria
    • only he and sister Nannerl survived infancy

Leopold Mozart

Very respected composer and violinist

Leopold Mozart, 1765.


First composition

age 5

transcribed by Leopold

Later composition age 6


Mozart played for kings and queens.

This portrait of him was painted in 1762, when he was six years old.

Children during Mozart’s time dressed just like adults. He just finished playing for Empress Maria Theresa of Austria.


As Mozart grew older, his reputation spread. Not only was he a gifted musician, but he could also compose his own music.

Mozart at 14, 1770.

  • Able to hear complete pieces in his head
  • Capability for output
    • 10 years:
      • 8 Symphonies
      • 17 Piano Concertos
      • 6 Operas
      • Clarinet quartet and quintet
      • Requiem Mass
      • 11 String Quartets
      • 5 String Quintets
      • Many Individual Works
“Though it be long, the work is complete and finished in my mind. I take out of the bag of my memory what has previously been collected into it. For this reason the committing to paper is done quickly enough.”

— Mozart

“What a delight this is I cannot tell — all this producing takes place in a pleasing, lively dream.”

— Mozart

“People make a mistake who think that my art has come easily to me. Nobody has devoted so much time and thought to composition as I. There is not a famous master whose work I have not studied over and over.”

— Mozart

mozart s music
Mozart’s Music
  • Simple melodies
  • Contrasting moods
  • Rich orchestration
  • Perfected the serenade
mozart s music16
Mozart’s Music
  • Favored the piano
  • Concertos written for his performance
  • Later symphonies considered his best
  • Operas

Mozart’s music was meant to be fun and entertaining.

Mozart 2 years before his death in 1777.

Rondo alla Turka

piano concerto in a major k 488 first movement allegro 1786
Piano Concerto in A MajorK.488First movement, Allegro 1786
  • sold to Prince von Furstenburg
  • combined elements of sonata and ritornello form
mozart opera
Opera problems Mozart’s solutions:Mozart & Opera

1. “stock”characters

characters have real, believable personalities

2. plots about mythology,

gods, aristocracy

plots about real-life middle class characters

continuous flowarias and recitatives blended together

3. “stop & go” (aria) (recit.)

4. not cohesive (e.g., sinfonia)

style, orchestration, harmony, melody--all contribute to setting mood & adding depth to characters

don giovanni
Don Giovanni

"The Best Opera Ever Written"

- Richard Wagner

  • By Court poet – Lorenzo Da Ponte (like Cosi and Figaro)
  • Based on a very well known existing story.
  • Don Juan is a stock character.
  • Da Ponte and Mozart worked closely together on the opera right up to the performance.

Da Ponte

  • used contemporary characters, not mythological figures or ancient history from Rome or Greece (although he did a few of those, too)
  • biting social commentary: the decadent aristocracy is compared to the normal, happy, healthy lust and love of the common folk
  • recitative still used
  • some in German with spoken dialogue
-- all voice ranges used (instead of the Baroque’s treble + bass preference)
  • -- ensembles (groups of solo voices) now contrasted with arias and recitative

Don Giovanni

Italian comic opera

Don Juan as anti-hero –

critique of aristocracy

Rarely performed in the 1800s – now regarded as one of Mozart’s finest operas


don giovanni 1787
Don Giovanni 1787
  • A comic opera (opera buffa) in 2 acts.
  • Commissioned by the Prague Opera company after the success in Prague of Marriage of Figaro.
  • Planned as entertainment for visit of newlywed niece of Emperor – the archduchess Maria Theresia and Prince Anton Clemens of Saxony – 14 October 1787.
the cast
The Cast
  • As always the singers determined the nature of the music – Mozart had to write to their capabilities. He knew them all except one as he had conducted them in Figaro.
  • Don Giovanni – Luigi Bassi had been Count Almaviva – a fiery Italian `very handsome and very stupid’ – 22 years old, an excellent mimic and a very good actor.
  • The cast requires 3 females (all sopranos), 5 males (3 basses, baritone and tenor), plus chorus. This small cast reflects the Prague company exactly.
characters male
Characters - Male
  • Don Giovanni – a cavalier and seducer of women. An ambivalent role that can be played a number of ways. Needs a great voice.
  • Leporello – servant of Don – his assistant in crime who unlike Don has some reservations about their activities.
  • Don Ottavio – fiance of Donna Anna.
  • Masetto – country peasant lover of Zerlina
  • Commendatore – elderly knight and man of honour.
characters female
Characters Female
  • Donna Anna – daughter of Commendatore and betrothed to Ottavio.
  • Donna Elvira a highborn lady from Burgos – used and abandoned by Don.
  • Zerlino – a country girl who Don attempts to seduce.
  • ACT I
  • Scene 1. The garden of the Commendatore's house
  • A disgruntled Leporello keeps watch while Don Giovanni tries to add Donna Anna to his list of conquests. Don Giovanni runs from the house, followed by Donna Anna, who is trying to unmask him and calling for help. Her father, coming to her aid, challenges Don Giovanni and is killed by him. Don Giovanni and Leporello make their escape before Donna Anna reappears with her betrothed, Don Ottavio, whom she calls on to avenge her dead father.
  • Scene 2. A street near an inn
  • Don Giovanni and Leporello come upon Donna Elvira, who has been seduced and abandoned by Don Giovanni and who is pursuing him. Don Giovanni slips away, leaving Leporello to explain to her that she is but one of many.
  • Scene 3. The countryside near Don Giovanni's house
  • Don Giovanni and Leporello come upon a peasant wedding. Don Giovanni orders Leporello to distract Masetto, the bridegroom, while he attempts to seduce the bride, Zerlina. He is interrupted by Donna Elvira, who warns Zerlina and persuades her to come away.
  • Donna Anna and Don Ottavio, not realising that Don Giovanni is the villain they are looking for, ask for his help. Elvira appears again and accuses Giovanni of faithlessness, and he tries to convince the others that she is mad. As he leaves, something in his voice and manner convinces Anna that he is her attacker and the murderer of her father.
  • Leporello reports to his master that he has all the peasants feasting and drinking, and Giovanni orders him to ply them wine, as he intends to add to his list of conquests.
  • Scene 4. The garden of Don Giovanni's house
  • Zerlina manages to convince the reproachful Masetto that she has done nothing wrong, but he is again suspicious when she is alarmed by Don Giovanni's voice. Another attempt on Zerlina foiled by Masetto's presence, Don Giovanni leads the couple into the house.
  • Donna Elvira, Donna Anna and Don Ottavio return wearing masks. Accepting Leporello's invitation to join the party, they hope this will make their revenge easier.
  • Scene 5. A ballroom in Don Giovanni's house
  • As the guests feast, dance and sing, Leporello distracts Masetto again and Don Giovanni lures Zerlina into another room. When she screams for help Giovanni accuses Leporello. But Elvira, Anna and Ottavio reveal themselves and confront him with their knowledge of his villainy. He makes his escape in the confusion.
  • Scene 1. A street near an inn
  • Don Giovanni soothes Leporello's indignation with money. He has his eyes on Donna Elvira's maid and changes clothes with Leporello so he will look like one of her class. Elvira appears at a window and laments her continuing love for Don Giovanni. He answers from the shadows that he still loves her, while Leporello, dressed in his clothes, mimes in the street. Elvira comes down and Don Giovanni instructs the disguised Leporello to lead her away while he serenades the maid.
  • Masetto and his friends appear, armed and in search of Don Giovanni, who, pretending to be Leporello, sends the villagers off in different directions, then catches Masetto off guard and beats him. Zerlina finds Masetto and comforts him.
  • Scene 2. A courtyard near Donna Anna's house
  • Leporello has not managed to free himself from Donna Elvira, who still takes him for his master. Donna Anna, Don Ottavio, Zerlina and Masetto find them and accuse Leporello of Don Giovanni's crimes. Elvira tries in vain to intercede for her "husband" but Leporello reveals his identity, pleads innocence and succeeds in making a getaway. Don Ottavio's promises to avenge his beloved's wrongs.
  • Scene 3. A cemetery, where the Commendatore is buried
  • Don Giovanni and Leporello have escaped from their pursuers. Giovanni's narrative of a girl who took him for Leporello is interrupted by the voice of the statue of the Commendatore reproving him for his levity and libertinism. Undeterred, he orders the terrified Leporello to invite the Commendatore to dinner. The statue accepts.
  • Scene 4. A room in Donna Anna's house
  • Don Ottavio tries to calm Donna's Anna's grief by reminding her that they will soon be married, but she begs to him to delay their wedding.
  • Scene 5. A banquet hall in Don Giovanni's villa
  • Don Giovanni is interrupted at supper by Donna Elvira, who wants him to change his ways. He laughs at her and she leaves, but runs back screaming. Investigating, Leporello returns in terror: the statue has come. The Commendatore enters and, refusing to touch earthly food, invites Don Giovanni to dine with him. Don Giovanni accepts and is engulfed by the flames of hell, steadfastly refusing to repent.
  • The other characters sing an epilogue about how the wicked receive their just deserts.
first performance
First Performance
  • 29 October 1787 beginning at 7pm and planned to end at 9.30.
  • Mozart had composed the overture the night before it was to be rehearsed.
  • Mozart greeted with great cheers on entering pit to conduct at the keyboard.
  • A great success and a long run of performances.
  • Mozart remained in Prague until 13th November.
  • Boldini wanted Mozart to stay and write another but Mozart had to return to Vienna.
  • Prague was always a great supporter of Mozart and Mozart remained very fond of the city to the end.
  • The success of Don Giovanni became known in Vienna and helped Mozart get Gluck’s job as Kammermusikus to the Emperor.
  • Command for Vienna performance by Emperor – 7th May 1788 in Burgtheater.
  • Joseph II already busy on battlefield of second Turkish War.
  • Some alterations to arias and scenes to accommodate Viennese taste and singers available.
  • Mozart conducted first three performances. Only gradually did Vienna warm to the work.
  • Vienna and Prague versions exist – the Prague is generally preferred.
terror and effects
Terror and Effects.
  • Don Giovanni is notable for the introduction of terror into opera. Naked fear.
  • To do this he uses Trombones – always associated with the underworld. They do not appear until Commendatore statue appears on stage to condemn Don Giovanni.
  • At the end of Act I three orchestras play simultaneously on stage. First band plays Minuet in G in ¾ for oboes, horns and strings; then orchestra II turn up and play Contradanse in G in 2/4 time; orchestra three tune up and play German Dance in 3/8.
  • As always the opera is carefully constructed in terms of key relationships.
  • D is the opera key – minor at first (overture and statue scene at end). Overture and opera end in D major.
  • Second Act leads from G major to A major, D major, F major, E flat (sextet). Then to D major for trumpets and drums. Then to D minor punishment key for murder. Back to D major then D minor for end of sextet in E flat.
  • Act I scene 20 Don’s grant reception in the Hall. After introductory scene with Don, Leporello, Masetto and Zerlina – key changes to C major for entry of Don Ottavio, Donna Anna and Donna Elvira (all masked).
  • After greeting all Don sings `E aperto tutti, a tutti quanti, viva, viva la liberta’ (it is open to everyone, long live liberty).
  • Every one seizes the phrase and it turns into triumphal march with trumpets and drums
  • IS this Da Ponte’s personal tribute to Joseph II and his ideas on personal freedom and enlightenment.
don giovanni deep thots
Don Giovanni--Deep thots
  • Describe Don Giovanni’s character & behavior.
  • How does the opera treat the Don or portray his behavior? Is he portrayed as evil or just mischievous?
  • Does the Don repent? Why is this significant? How does this contrast with thinking in the Baroque era?
  • How does Don Giovanni reflect the culture, & spirit of the classical era?
  • What elements of Don Giovanni conflict with enlightenment thinking?
  • Do you think Don Giovanni would have been more popular or less popular with Baroque society than it was in the 18th century? Defend your answer.

Mozart was 36 years old when he died in 1791. In his short life he wrote over 600 compositions.

This portrait, painted after Mozart’s death, is said to look the most like him. It was painted in 1819.


Mozart died penniless despite his enormous talent. One of the greatest composers the world has ever known is buried in an unmarked grave.

know about mozart
Know about Mozart:
  • his problems w/ patronage
  • unusual method of composing
  • his development of opera
mozart s symphonies
Mozart’s Symphonies
  • His first symphony was written in 1788.
  • Rameau had died, Beethoven was 18.
  • During this quarter century many changes came to the symphony.
changes in the classical symphony
Changes in the Classical Symphony
  • Shift in the function and valuation of the symphony.
  • Move from introductions to theatre, plays, operas, civic events.
  • Move to a piece intrinsic in itself. Symphony for Symphony’s sake.
k 550 symphony in g minor no 40
K. 550 Symphony in G minor, No. 40
  • July 25, 1788
  • One of the last and most beautiful of the master.
  • Labeled “Romantic” by the people of the time for
    • Intensity
    • Chromaticism
    • Unconventionality
    • Thematic development
    • Abundance of Ideas
    • Ambiguity.
a roadmap for form the first movement
A Roadmap for Form: The First Movement
  • Sonata allegro.
  • Exposition.
    • Theme for violins in Gminor.
    • Three note motive that is prime for development, sequence.
    • Transition coupled with crescendo to go into the second theme in Bflat major.
    • Build up of tension.
    • Codetta keeps the listener in the contrasting key.
  • Develops the three note motive from the beginning.
  • Changes melody.
  • Combines motives.
  • Sequences downward.
  • Inversion of motives.
  • Build up of tension.
  • Follows the exposition.
    • G-minor remains the home key.
      • Tender… this is a change from convention. Most composers would go to G major just to end the work in a triumphant sound.
the classical concerto
The Classical Concerto
  • Solo Concerto: a concerto which displays the opposition of a solo and the tutti orchestra.
three movements
Three Movements
  • Fast
  • Slow
  • Fast
  • ABA
  • Cadenza: a solo passage found in solo concerti. This passage is either written out or improvised. It occurs toward the end of a movement and displays themes from the movement presented in a fantasy of improvisation.
the first movement
The First Movement
  • Transforms the ritornello form of the Baroque period to a Sonata Allegro in the Classical Period.
  • Theme I is usually orchestral
  • Theme II uses Theme I and new material by the soloist.
  • Development is the tension building area.
  • Recapitulation in the home key: symmetry!
the second movement
The Second Movement
  • Slow and Lyrical
  • Key near the tonic but not the tonic.
  • Not so much distance from the tonic.
  • Hymn-like character by the soloist.
third movement
Third Movement
  • Allegro Molto (very fast) Presto (even faster)
  • Grand Finale
  • Rondo form: probably shorter than the first movement.
  • Cadenza is usually found here also.
mozart piano concerto in g major k 453
Mozart Piano Concerto in G Major, K. 453
  • 1784 Mozart wrote 6 piano concertos. This one is written for a 19 year old student, Barbara von Ployer.
  • Mozart’s concerti are considered the watershed of classical concerti. Grand flourishes as well as intimate conversations make up this style in Mozart’s mind.
  • Notice elements present from chamber music as well as symphony.
  • Intimate conversation.
  • Laughing strings.
mozart piano concerto in g major k 45353
Mozart Piano Concerto in G Major, K. 453
  • March-like character.
  • Grand contrasts.
  • Notice the similarities to the symphony.
  • Use of the woodwinds for coloration.
  • Use of classical forms: ritornello – sonata allegro – rondo.
  • Dazzling writing for the piano as well as for the orchestra.
the sonata cycle
The Sonata Cycle
  • Movement I: Long Dramatic, Sonata Form: Allegro fast
  • Movement II: Slow and lyrical, Theme and Variations or ABA. Andante, Adagio, or Largo
  • Movement III: Minuet and Trio (18thC.) Minuet and Scherzo (19thC.), Allegretto or Allegro
  • Movement IV: 18th C = lively and happy ending, Sonata Allegro, Sonata Rondo, Theme and Variations. Very Fast. Allegro, Vivace, Presto. Grand Finale 19th C. Triumph
the marriage of figaro
The Marriage of Figaro

- celebration of “common people” v. the decadent aristocracy

Bourgeois (Genre)

Chardin The Prayer before Meal1744

mozart viewing example
Mozart viewing example

Cosi fan Tutte (they all do it)

3 pairs of voices – symmetry of design appeals to the Classical mind

mozart listening example
Mozart listening example

-- finale from Act II of The Marriage of Figaro

-- an ensemble scene (six voices)

-- contrasting emotions presented simultaneously (compare that to the Baroque ideal aesthetic of Affect, one mood or emotion per piece)