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Essential Mozart

All of Mozart, one might say, is essential. Few composers produced music in such quality and abundance, from such an early age to so tragically early a death. Mozart composed in all major genres and helped bring humanity, warmth and flexibility to the musical idioms of his age: where others showed fluency, he showed genius.Read more…

Mozart was born in 1756, at a time when music was disposable, when musicians were seen as little more than the providers of entertainment – he famously complained about having to dine with the other servants while in the employ of the Archbishop of Salzburg. But he came of age as the balance of power in Europe began to shift away from absolutist rulers: he died in 1791, two years after the start of the French Revolution. He was buried in an unmarked grave and the reception of his works has been – and continues to be – coloured by many elements of his biography: the mysteries surrounding both his life and death; the contradiction between his seeming to embody both childlike nature and immortal genius; the troubled relationship with a father who toured him around Europe as a Wunderkind. But Mozart's music bristles with unique invention and brilliance, conveying a new range of emotion and psychological complexity. In it resides humour and mischief, as well as the profoundest sadness and tragedy, all conveyed with a fluency and technical mastery that arguably no other composer has ever matched.

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