Imagine living in the mid-1700s, eking out a living, struggling, expecting a short, hard life. Imagine also the royalty of the day and their kingly estates, shaping the destiny of cities and villages, rich and poor.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born into that life in January 1756. And while Mozart’s music is known the world over, his life and the forces that shaped it are not so well known.
Jay Rosenblatt, associate professor of music history at the University of Arizona and organizer of music seminars in the UA Humanities Seminar Series, led two of this year’s sessions with an overview of Mozart’s life, focusing particularly on the music for, and inspired by, his association with the Freemasons. He will give a lecture based on those seminars at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday (Nov. 8) in the Arizona Senior Academy’s Great Room.
Mozart’s output was extraordinary: 40 symphonies, 27 piano concertos, 5 violin concertos, concertos for flute, oboe, horn, and the recently developed clarinet, 23 operas and singspiel including the Magic Flute, Don Giovanni, and Marriage of Figaro. In all 626 separate, completed, cataloged compositions. His extraordinary Requiem Mass was almost finished when he died one month short of his 36th birthday.
“Mozart’s choices for the works he composed were often motivated by factors outside his desires or inspiration,” Rosenblatt says. He will take his ASA audience into “four of the most important genres for Mozart: sacred music, opera, piano concerto, and chamber music,” illustrating his points with slides and audio and video recordings.
Through it all Mozart gives us music of unparalleled liveliness and beauty, music of energizing vitality, rich melody and counterpoint, always at a focused pace.
Written by Ted Hullar, Academy Village Volunteer