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Mozart: a wunderkind from a musical Swabian family

Mozart: a wunderkind from a musical Swabian family

You just have to love him! Wolfgang Amadé Mozart (1756-1791), the composer of The Magic Flute and Eine kleine Nachtmusik. Mozart took Viennese Classicism to its height and wrote some of the most delightful melodies in the history of music.

Mozart is often described as an Austrian composer because he was born in Salzburg and spent a long time in Vienna, but he wouldn't have seen things like that. Salzburg only fell to Austria because of Napoleon (after Mozart's death).

Mozart's father Leopold originally came from Augsburg. Augsburg was also the home of Mozart's cousin Marianne (his 'Bäsle'), with whom Wolfgang was very close friends. The museum in the Mozart House on Frauentorstrasse in Augsburg traces the history of the musical Mozart (originally Motzhardt) family. Mozart's great-great-grandfather David bought the house for his family back in 1635.

Wolfgang was a musical prodigy who toured half of Europe. He first visited Mannheim, the 'composer's paradise', at the age of seven. The Mannheim School became an important precursor of Viennese Classicism. In Mannheim in 1778 Mozart met his future wife Constanze, a cousin of the Romantic composer Carl Maria von Weber.

When the Elector of Mannheim succeeded to the Bavarian throne in 1778, he moved his court to Munich. He commissioned Mozart to compose the opera Idomeneo for the 1781 Munich carnival; it was premiered at the Cuvilliés Theatre. There is a plaque commemorating the event on Altenhofstrasse in Munich's old quarter.