Today 27 January is the birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, born in Salzburg, Austria (1756). He was a child prodigy and, as they say, by the time he was my age he was long dead – cut off in his prime at the tender age of 35 and buried in an unmarked grave. He is probably the ultimate genius – music came naturally to him from a very young age – and what music it was.
If you don’t know what all the fuss is about here are a few suggestions for starting a collection of Mozart music or simply for getting in on the music from this peculiar genius who produced over 600 documented pieces of music - even more than Lennon and McCartney.
The Piano Concertos are way up there on my favourite list – he wrote 27 of them and the later ones are especially good. Try numbers 20, 21 or 24 for example.
His Clarinet Concerto, one of the last and best things he composed, is superb and the Clarinet Quintet with a clarinet and string quartet is a must-listen too.
The Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola is a much better bet than any of his violin concertos
Symphony-wise Number 40 of course is the one to start with – it even made its way into the pop charts. There are 48 others too.
Opera is not normally my thing but get an excerpted version of the Magic Flute (heard it on Lyric FM last Saturday night relayed from the Met in New York) or the Marriage of Figaro as there are some incredible tunes.
His Requiem is a bit harder to get into but put it in your CD player and play it a few times and you may be surprised.
His string quartets and solo piano music don’t hold a candle against Beethoven in my book although we are all familiar with Rondo Alla Turca. Someone once remarked that he tossed off his piano sonatas writing them on toilet paper while sitting on the loo.
So there it is my Mozart Hit List.
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