Last week I was at a winery talking to a lady who was a huge Mozart fan. Now I have never been into classical music or plays, I’m more of a Jerry Garcia, Peter Rowan, Tony Rice acoustical follower. Lately a lot of Jason Isbell

She explained that in his day Mozart was a free thinker much like some of the musicians of our era and I should check out his works and research the “man”.

Any recommendations on where to start? Something that will immediately grab my attention.

Don’t go by Peter Schaffer’s play Amadeus, or the movie based on it. Schaffer wasn’t writing history, and he knew it. as I’ve remarked before, his plays are all about Man and God, not the historical events that nominally inspired them.
I’d be interested to know good references on the life of Mozart, as well.

I’ve enjoyed What To Listen For In Mozart.

He was a Freemason, at any rate. He worked Masonic symbolism into his last opera, The Magic Flute. I recall a CT that he was poisoned by Freemasons for revealing too much. At any rate, in college I had a music-history prof who remarked that Mozart “was an oddball even to the Freemasons.”

That was one of my questions as well. The internet is all over the place when referencing his death. Free mason aye?

The move Amadeus, while not accurate historically and biographically, can be a nice introduction to Mozart’s music.

The Magic Flute is considered his most accessible work and is a lot of fun to listen to for a newbie. His Requiem, while considered one of his finest works, is not as accessible, but the introduction you get to it in the movie is good taste of it for the casual listener.

I highly recommend the chamber music playing in the beginning of the film where Salieri first hears Mozart’s music. Mozart adored the clarinet and wrote some of his finest music for the instrument and the piece they use in the movie is an excellent example. The Salieri character even parses it for the viewer, talking about the soaring clarinet line over the clear, measured and supportive ensemble instruments.

Everyone knows Eine Kleine Nachtmusick, and it’s a fine piece, but there are so many better ones to listen to if you just dig a litte. I highly recommend his clarinet quintet, which is a personal favorite. Again, anything Mozart wrote featuring the clarient is going to be among his better work.

Things are very important about Mozart’s life - he was a child prodigy and he was writing incredibly sophisticated music by the age of 5 or 6, music that just kept getting better as he got older. He was apolitical in a very political time, and while his music brought him accolades, his inability to play the game politically left him financially strapped. Sadly, he died very young at the age of 34, I believe. Considering the incredible quality of the music he composed, one has to wonder how much we missed by losing him so young.

I’m very fond of his “Musical Joke.” It’s one of the best pieces of pure comedy in music, and it is actually quite educational. By seeing how music can go wrong, you can get a sense of what it takes to make it go right.

Also, it’s just plain funny.

Thank you, marked for later

That was hilarious. I lost it at the very end.

For more of Mozart’s humor: his Lick My Ass canon, sung by young girls.

That’s pretty! Mozart was that kind of genius! Puckish, pranksterish, and vulgar. (That part of “Amadeus” was essentially correct!)

There’s an oldish LP, “The Comic Mozart.” Amazon has a few used copies on offer, but I can’t find a digital source. Bummer, as it’s quite a lot of fun. It has lots of little works, much like this “Lech mir Arsch” zapper.

(My favorite is “The Music Lesson” where the two boys are trying to sing their parts, but keep dropping words, fouling notes, etc., and where the music master sings things like, “Okay…now, together…you fool!..try again!..oh you dunderheads!” and so on. To the careless ear, it sounds like any other motet, but when you pay close attention, it’s coarse and hilarious!)

If you are in the Sacramento area, and go to Dimple records, they have a lot of used titles. I just got some ‘best of’ CDs for 3 to 4 bucks each. Mozart, Back, Beethoven… good samplings.

Pretty good write-up, but Mozart’s financial problems weren’t because of a lack of income, it was because of a lack of spending control. Going by figures I calculated God knows how long ago, using Maynard Solomon’s Mozart: A Life as a source, I figured that in his Vienna years Mozart’s earnings varied from $78,000 to $450,000, with most years in the high $100k’s. The guy liked to gamble and party in an age where both things were not cheap, in an occupation where the income is anything but regular.

I think his widow told a few fibs about their finances. From what I’ve read, he had the equivalent of an upper middle income

Classical music fan here but Mozart’s not one of my favourite composers. The Commendatore Scene however, is one of the most stunning piece of music ever in my book.

Is Maynard Soloman the author of the book “mozart, a life?”

Going to the book store today to pick up some good reads

Two of the first Mozart pieces I started listening to, and still among my favorites of his are:

Mozart ‘Dissonance’ Quartet K.465

Symphony No. 29 (written when he was 17, I believe!)

And I agree with stillownedbysetters that ‘Amadeus’ is a nice intro to his music, and why it’s still listened to; just look elsewhere if you’re interested in historical facts about his life.

Mozart was prolific.

For me his average is not very good — a concert billed as “A Night of Mozart” is likely to be filled with treacly sacchaine chamber muic and predictable repetitive unspiring symphonic numbers that bore me.

Still, among the dreck are some gems. I’m fond of his Requiem and I’ve always liked that Turkish March thingie.

I’d probably be less dismissive of him were it not for all the folks anointing him the best classical composer EVAAH. He just isn’t. Not even for his era.

His violin concertos are easy listening awesomeness.

He is held up as deeply fluent across major music forms of the day, creating still-played examples in many genres.

jerrysmissingfinger - wouldn’t a great place to start be the music? I happen to be a Bach guy - I love the liquid math in his polyphonic lines. So I listened to a bunch, and then read a bit about Bach’s life - how he was a staid, bureaucratic music director, who was also an innovative thinker, who’s work on temperament established the foundation for how we make music today.

Whether Mozart was a free thinker is secondary to whether you enjoy his music. His work is noted for its harmonic “craft” - he set up harmonic lines and finished them in ways that sounded both innovative and natural. I think of it like Paul McCartney’s Yesterday - the whole things flows so perfectly and easily, but when you dig in, there’s some sophisticated stuff going on. Mozart is that kinda guy - but that only matters if you like his music.

Amadeus is streaming on Netflix & is a fine way to hear some Mozart. Yes, the story is the playwright’s. But Prague is beautiful as Old Vienna & all the music is Real Mozart. (Except for some by Salieri.)

Then listen to some more Mozart & begin looking for a biography.