Mozart, Child of Music


A painting of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart from 1777
Image in the Public Domain

Colin Lowther and Liz Waid look at the life of one of the world’s most famous musical writers – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

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Transcript


Voice 1  

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Colin Lowther.

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And I’m Liz Waid. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1  

In 1756 a baby was born in the city of Salzburg. His family was very musical. The father played the violin for the ruler of the city. The mother loved to sing. The older daughter played the instrument called the clavier, which came before modern pianos. But this baby was different. This baby would become very, very good at playing music. When we say his family name today, people only think of him. Today’s Spotlight is on Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his music.

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Mozart was only three years old when he discovered music. He climbed on the seat of the clavier and began to press the keys. He liked how the different keys made different sounds. Soon his father began to teach him music. His father was very serious about music. But Mozart loved music so it never felt like work. When Mozart was only five years old he wrote, or composed, music that people still play today. This music is the Minuet in G.

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When people came to visit the family, Mozart’s father made his children play music. People were amazed. But Mozart’s father wanted his children to play music for important people. He wanted them to perform for kings and princes in Europe. He decided to bring the children to the city of Vienna in Austria. There, they would play for the Empress Maria Teresa.

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They took many days to travel to Vienna. But Mozart had the chance to play before the empress. He was only six years old. His hands were small. His feet did not touch the floor. But he played like a skilled adult.

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Everyone was amazed. The empress gave the children gifts. She paid Mozart’s father to teach her own children music. She asked Mozart to come back and play again and again.

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But Mozart’s father wanted his family to be more famous. He wanted to travel all over Europe. At that time, there were no ways to record music. A musician could only make money performing in front of people. The best situation was to play for kings and queens. So Mozart’s father made his son travel and play music. Mozart played for the kings and queens of France and England.

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This was not an easy life. Clair Huchet Bishop wrote a book about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s childhood. It is called Mozart: Music Magician. In her book she writes,

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“Wolfgang and his sister were tired. They had been gone from home for nearly three years. Travelling was not easy. The places they stayed were not always comfortable. It was difficult to meet new people and to entertain them hour after hour. The children also had to practice every day. And Mozart composed new music as well.”

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Mozart composed his first symphony at age eight. This is the first opera Mozart wrote. It is called Apollo et Hyacinthus. Operas are complex pieces of music. They tell a story through instrumental music and singing. Mozart wrote this opera at the age of 11. The opera tells an old Greek myth.

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As he grew, Mozart played less and less for kings and queens. He got a job playing music for the ruler of Saltzburg, like his father. But it did not earn a lot of money. But Mozart wanted more. At age 22, he decided to leave his job and move to Vienna like he did when he was a child.

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In Vienna, Mozart married and started a family. He continued making beautiful, complex music. He was able to live in a nice home. Mozart had many wonderful times in the years that followed. He wrote over 600 musical works. These included operas, symphonies, and all kinds of other music. He met more kings and queens. His music helped make the piano a popular instrument. However, there were also many times when Mozart did not have enough money. He did not want to compose music for rich people. He wanted to compose new, creative kinds of music.

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Mozart died in 1791. He was only 35 years old. There was a false rumor about his death. It said that someone poisoned Mozart. But today, experts believe he probably died of a common infection or sickness. He was buried in a place for people who do not have much money. Since it was a common grave, it was not marked with a stone just for Mozart. So, even today, no one knows where Mozart is buried.

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Today, many people consider Mozart to be one of the greatest writers of classical music. But most people do not listen to Mozart’s music, unless it is in films or television. Richard Taruskin is a music teacher and writer. He wrote about Mozart for the New York Times. He argued that for many people, listening to Mozart’s music became a sign of being wealthy, educated, and high-class. But he does not think this should be. He believes that everyone should listen to Mozart. In his article, Taruskin shares a quote from another famous music composer. It is the Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

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“Mozart was as pure as an angel and his music is full of God’s beauty. It contains all the points of all beauty in the world of music.”

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Have you ever listened to the music of Mozart? Do you think Mozart’s music matters? Do you have a favorite music composer? Tell us what you think. You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also comment on Facebook at Facebook.com/spotlightradio.

Voice 2  

The writer of this program was Adam Navis. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom and the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Mozart, Child of Music’.

Voice 1  

Visit our website to download our free official app for Android or Apple devices. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

Have you ever heard of Mozart? Have you heard any of his music?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
Svitlanka
said on February 11, 2019

Yes. I’ve heard a lot of music written by Mozart since I was born.
It seems to me, many people around the world know him and his music.
One of my favorite Mozart’s compositions is Piano Concerto No. 21.

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Honneur
said on February 11, 2019

Mozart isn’t my preferred musician. I would rather compositions from Villa Lobos, which represents better my country and our traditions. Nowadays, erudit music had lose importance and jazz, bossa nova an rock is preferred for more people then never.

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KY
said on February 12, 2019

I`m not sure to know the difference betwen Mozart composition and another. I have sometime eared classic music when watching movies but i could not say if it was Mozart or not.

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Honneur
said on February 13, 2019

Ky,
If you read some information about the works of a certain composer, you can discern his compositions from other artists.

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kenhieuloilam
said on February 14, 2019

We are small in life. We are small before difficulties in life. We have dreams in life. Peaceful second minutes are happiness. We dream of beautiful good things in life. We dream of a beautiful good world. Life has difficulties. Our dreams are beautiful. We are small in life. We are small before difficulties in life. We make life beautiful. We make the world beautiful.