Editing my KEF LSX introduction sequence, listening to lots of Mozart, made me want to read up about him. If you’ve not seen the film Amadeus I can recommend it wholeheartedly and a must watch for any Audiophile or music lover.
I’ve visited his birthplace in Salzburg, Austria. Sacrilegiously above a supermarket now – perhaps a sign of the times. You can see all his old instruments and locks of hairs in the apartment where he was born.
Much of the film Amadeus lies clue to true facts about his life, albeit dressed up in an entertaining way. But here are five facts that you may not have known about him, followed by a Mozart Playlist for Qobuz and Tidal.
Mozart was NOT a handsome man and his genius did not beset his physical appearance – short at only 4′ 11″ tall, big bulbous eyes, and pitted skin probably from smallpox as a child. His head was disproportionately big against his body too.
Reputedly he hated constraints, he was highly sensitive and was absent minded with money, yet he was trusting and easily enthused. These are ingredients which surely would have made him a great Audiophile if he were alive today, particularly the bit about money.
He wasn’t poor but he wasn’t rich too. Courts used composers and it is in this context he worked as a musician all his life. It is hard to imagine that someone who wrote so prolifically and with so much talent would not be a rich person, by modern standards. Had he have been alive today, he would perhaps be one of the richest musicians in the world.
During Mozart’s time he mainly played the clavier (clavichord) and harpsichord for writing music, but he could keep all musical instruments in his mind when composing music. Contrary to belief, he could write some music ridiculously quickly but he also agonised over other pieces.
He got all his talent and music into only 35 years of life. He died in Vienna, Austria from symptoms that would be considered Rheumatic Fever by modern standards. He wasn’t buried in a paupers grave but, as is depicted in Amadeus, in a communal grave using a reusable coffin.
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