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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

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Salzburg, Austria (1756 – 1791)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (born Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart; 27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791) is among the most significant and enduring popular composers of European classical music. His enormous output includes works that are widely acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music. Many of his works are part of the standard concert repertoire and are widely recognized as masterpieces of music.

The central traits of the classical style can all be identified in Mozart’s music. Clarity, balance, and transparency are hallmarks, though a simplistic notion of the delicacy of his music obscures for us the exceptional and even demonic power of some of his finest masterpieces, such as the Piano Concerto No 24 in C minor, K. 491, the Symphony No 40 in G minor, K. 550, and the opera Don Giovanni. The famed writer on music Charles Rosen has written (in The Classical Style): “It is only through recognizing the violence and sensuality at the center of Mozart’s work that we can make a start towards a comprehension of his structures and an insight into his magnificence. In a paradoxical way, Schumann’s superficial characterization of the G minor Symphony can help us to see Mozart’s daemon more steadily. In all of Mozart’s supreme expressions of suffering and terror, there is something shockingly voluptuous.

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